Behind each business in North Carolina are the ideas, partnerships, and people that fuel our state’s success. Behind each business is a story and a vision for the future. As the voice for business, the NC Chamber is committed to telling these stories and highlighting the organizations that keep our state moving forward. Behind the Business is a series of profiles featuring NC Chamber Cornerstone members doing great work in North Carolina.
This profile was a collaboration with the NC Chamber Foundation as it works to spotlight solutions for current workforce challenges: how businesses are building talent pipelines, collaborating with educators to close skills gaps, and strategically planning for workforce needs.
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Internships: An Investment in Your Company’s Future
Each of us can pinpoint a story, a moment that led to us to where we work today.
For Jaron Price, that moment came in 2021 while he was a student at UNC-Charlotte, attending a picnic with other engineering students.
“It’s basically just a giant engineering career fair,” said Price, who majored in electrical engineering. “I was looking for an internship.”
When he met Andy Gould, application engineer with SEL, at that picnic, Price’s internship came calling.
SEL stands for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, a company which provides power system protection, control, monitoring, automation, and integration for utilities and industries globally.
“Jaron’s interests and our interests were pretty much in perfect alignment at that time,” said Gould. “As soon as I talked to him, I turned to somebody else and said, hey, we need to go interview this kid.”
Price said that meeting is what drove him to apply for an internship position with SEL at their office in Charlotte.
“It was kind of a breath of fresh air when I got in here to become an intern because I had heard horror stories about other internships,” he said.
Price’s internship went so well that he is now employed with SEL as an associate engineer.
“You see his excitement. He immediately walks out knowing that he’s contributing,” said SEL Senior Sales & Customer Service Manager Lewandoski Bryson. “We bring in interns and we actually train them specifically how to be professionals, how to think in this career.”
When establishing an internship program, Bryson said it’s critical that a company values the local talent pipeline.
“You just start by looking around and making the decision that we want to invest in our community,” said Bryson. “We want to invest in our future. We want to invest in our people.”
“That promising person could come to us from anywhere,” said Gould. “They have a wealth of different experiences and different approaches.”
Price is just one example.
“It really prepared me for my position now,” said Price. “They want you to do work that is going to help you learn and grow and prepare you for what you’re going to do in the future.”
Bryson recommended that companies looking to initiate or grow their internship programs should start by calling area schools and universities.
“There are many, many high-level schools here that have rich talent that, if you don’t capture that talent, someone else will,” he said. “Think of it this way, your competitor will. I’d rather have that talent working for me.”