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In a recent conversation with a friend, we discussed our sons’ upcoming college graduations and career plans following that happy day. It was at that moment that I was brought down to earth when I remembered that Patrick’s internship last summer had been canceled due to COVID. As a result, my son will be leaving school without a clear path for that next step. At the very least he will be in good company.

In a recent piece on the HRDive website, the author cited an April survey by College Reaction that found three-quarters of college students saw their internships canceled in response to the pandemic.

In additional reports from CNBC and the Washington Post last spring, employers reported significant changes to their internship programs including shortened time frames and virtual internships. When you consider the changes in all of our workplaces since last March, coupled with the need to continue attracting the next generation workforce, I guess that makes perfect sense.

But here’s the problem, there’s not a company out there, whether you’re an OEM or a food or beverage manufacturer, that doesn’t need new blood walking in the door. Sure, I can understand holding off for a little while if you need to ride COVID out a little more but knowing that there are roughly 4 million students graduating each year, don’t you want to stake a claim on some of them? Offering that internship is one economical way to do that.

In a recent discussion with members, we addressed this. As you would imagine, many companies have a relationship with local universities and community colleges where internships are posted. One other avenue to consider is posting your internship for free on the FPSA Job Board. Interested undergrads will find the listing not just there but also on the FPSA groups on social media channels, greatly expanding your reach to this valuable audience.

No matter which route you choose, I’d like to share one bit of information that a member provided to the group. She told us that when her company posted a job listing on any of the employment websites when she posted a job for an engineer, technician, etc., she might get one good candidate among a large group of resumes. On the other hand, when they posted a general listing about what their company did and that they were looking for good people interested in a career in a growing, stable industry like ours, she had much better results with the resumes, including many engineers and technicians that never bothered to apply to the more directly worded job posts.

Anyway, it’s just a thought. Good luck in your search for that next great employee!

Andy Drennan, SVP, Food Processing Suppliers Association