By Scott Moorhead, A2LA Marketing Intern
Although A2LA is best known for their commitment to excellence in the field of accreditation, their core values also focus on supporting the community and providing leadership to young professionals. For several years, A2LA has offered a summer internship program to college students who intend to work in fields such as business, human resources, accreditation, government relations, and IT. Each intern is placed into a department that corresponds to the field of their choice, and given a staff mentor who helps them learn the real-world implementation of everyday skills in the office setting.
A2LA began accepting interns in 2012, but at the time the organization had only a general idea of how it would provide mentoring or guidance for the program. “It was not very organized, and I was the only intern,” said Kelsey Roberts, who began as an intern eight years ago and is now the company’s marketing manager. Although she was underwhelmed by A2LA’s earliest attempt at an internship program, she is now very proud of the HR department’s work on updating and streamlining the program, and even acts as an internship mentor in her own department.
With each passing year, A2LA’s internship program has developed further, striving to provide the best possible experience for the participants. The manager of the Human Resources Department, Natalie Rhoderick, has taken the wheel of the internship program this year. Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, she has managed to incorporate professional development, education, and teambuilding. Tanner Spires, Government Relations Intern, says “Having been here before, two years ago, I have been pleasantly surprised to see that in my opinion, myself and all the interns seem to be playing a more active role in A2LA. Before I found myself frequently having to ask for more things to do, and this time I always have my plate full with important things.”
With Natalie’s guidance, the 2020 interns had the opportunity to both focus on their career path of interest and explore the roles of other people at A2LA. Interns were able to interact with the different department heads and learn what responsibilities each one has, as well as learn from each other as they participate in joint projects. With each intern in separate departments, they each receive a unique experience. Madeline Subasic, a first time HR intern, states: “I've learned real world experience which is very important because I can't get that in school. I think this internship has solidified my choice in my career path which is making me feel more confident. This internship is more than I thought it would be because I am very involved with my department and being tasked with fun projects as well.”
A2LA’s summer interns will be ending their program in August, but A2LA often sees interns return for more than one summer. The human resources department uses the interns’ experiences each year to design the next year’s program, with the goal of continuous improvement. A2LA hopes to instill their culture of quality and dedication to conscienscious, ethical practice into those within the program, making the future workforce stronger. For more information about the A2LA summer internship program, visit A2LA.org/careers.