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Lehigh Valley Internship Summit to Address Challenges Created by COVID-19

By Colin McEvoy on August 11, 2020

More than 100 people attended last year’s the first-ever Lehigh Valley Internship Summit at the Moravian College campus in Bethlehem.

The Lehigh Valley hosted its first ever internship summit last year, but since that time, the coronavirus pandemic has created an even greater amount of challenges and obstacles for businesses seeking to establish successful internship programs.

This year’s second annual summit will address some of those new challenges head on, including how to start and operate remote internships, as well as how employers can brand their organization and engage and recruit interns during these unusual times.

“Connecting with the best and brightest talent is of primary importance to Lehigh Valley employers,” said Karianne Gelinas, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Research of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). “Hosting internships with local students can effectively build these connections between businesses and their future employees.”

LVEDC and the LVEDC Education & Talent Supply Council are once again partnering with local colleges and universities, and businesses to host the Lehigh Valley Internship Summit, which will be held in two separate virtual sessions on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17.

Visit here and here for registration information and additional details about the two sessions. Both will be held at 10 a.m. on their respective days.

The Sept. 10 event will focus on how to start and run a successful virtual internship program, with interns participating remotely. Speakers will include Stacy Halliday, HR Recruitment Specialist and Program Manager, College Recruiting & University Relations at Air Products, and Alisa Lopano, Creative Services Manager at Discover Lehigh Valley.

The Sept. 17 session will focus on branding, connecting with potential interns, and what not to do. Speakers will include Lisa Brogan, Program Manager, University Recruiting at Olympus Corporation of the Americas, and Cory Stevens, Volunteer and Internship Programs Manager at ArtsQuest.

“We’ve engaged knowledgeable presenters who will share their expertise, successes, and stories with other members of the Lehigh Valley community who are looking to engage their future workforce through internships,” Gelinas said.

LVEDC and the career development directors of the regional colleges and universities have met regularly since early winter to plan and prepare for the internship summit as well as craft an internship toolkit and directory to support employers in developing and implementing internships and connect with schools and potential interns. College and university partners dedicated their time and expertise to this effort making this summit a valuable and collaborative endeavor.

LVEDC has heard from several companies that have been forced to cancel their internship programs due to the COVID-19 crisis. This harms both the company’s efforts to engage with their future talent pipeline, as well as the professional development of the prospective interns themselves.

For the summit, the organizers tried to focus on what feedback from the business community indicates are the two most relevant needs related to current internship programs. They also sought to include both large employers and small- or mid-sized companies and nonprofit organizations among the speakers.

For sponsorship information, contact LVEDC Director of Marketing Liz Martin at [email protected].

More than 100 people attended last year’s inaugural summit, with audience capacity filling quickly. That event sought to give Lehigh Valley employers insights on how to build internship programs or improve the business value of existing programs.

These summits also provide employers the opportunity to interact directly with Lehigh Valley colleges and universities that place students with businesses, as well as with employers that have successfully used interns for many years.

The LVEDC Education & Talent Supply Council is a partnership of Lehigh Valley educational institutions, major employers, and economic development and workforce agencies focused on creating and executing regional strategies that help the Lehigh Valley maintain a competitive workforce and talent supply.

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