After Hours Activities
When we began redesigning the internship experience, we knew we had to include additional learning opportunities outside normal school hours — more than is usual under the current paradigm — so students had the best chance at achieving success. Unlike the standard internship experience, during which most students learn about the work world on the job, we knew our participating students would have to learn about the work world before the job because they were going to spend such a short period of time with their temporary employers.
Therefore, we created an exciting, dynamic set of activities, events, and curricula to lay the groundwork for what students will need to do: generate their own internship experience.
This approach also mimics the way workers in tomorrow’s economy will have to manage their work day/products, whether they are in traditional jobs or in the online workforce. With the lack of constant and very personal oversight that will be the norm in the coming years, all workers will have to learn how to manage their time, resources, ongoing education, finances, and personal life very carefully. They will also have to be prepared to be in constant job search mode since most will change jobs every three or four years. In the Gig Economy, job turnover is once every three or four months.
That all led us to create an entire portfolio of learning activities that will help students get ready for that future. After five years of our short but persistent messaging about workforce readiness, participating students will need to solicit, secure, and successfully serve a Rainmakers Internship. Some of these activities will occur during school hours, some will be scheduled for after-school hours. Many activities won’t be scheduled at all but will simply be available online (as downloadable podcasts, taped webinars, or recorded teleconferences) so students can review materials in the evenings or on the weekends. These offer relevant and interesting information about the business world.
We added a few games that directly replicate workplace situations in which students work in competitive teams and submit peer evaluations when the work is done. Some of these games require team members regulate the progress of the team under time constraints and with limited resources to achieve assigned goals. Some require intense interactions among team members as they work together. Some activities are completed by the individual (without the support of a peer-based team) after school or on weekends. These activities replicate the diversity of activities our Rainmakers Candidates are going to have to face/use/manage in their adult lives.
Our reliance on technology allows us to squeeze more information and experiential learning into a student’s day/month/year. These contrasting models (live interactions within teams, working alone or with others in completely remote interactions, working in very large groups with disciplined focus) provide a representative cross-section of the kinds of environments that tomorrow’s workers will need to be able to hurdle every day.
Like the real world, all deadlines are sacrosanct. Projects not submitted on time will be rejected.
When the entire scope of work is complete, and our Rainmakers Candidates have completed the program (by earning a letter of recommendation from their internship Hosts) will receive the designation of ‘Rainmaker’ and will be invited to join – at no cost – The Rainmakers Club – an online community in which our Rainmakers (students who successfully ‘graduate’ and receive the designation of Rainmaker) can build their professional networks and get management experience by mentoring incoming Rainmakers Candidates.
Note that we (The Internship Depot) do not mandate program involvement. We make sure that students understand that participating in our activities will give them a far better chance at getting an internship — or a job — and a record of accomplishment that will look great on a résumé — all of which is a definite plus when presented to an employer or a college admissions official. We also make sure they know that working with us would give them a better chance to secure a job in the Gig Economy while they are still in high school or college.
However, we do not (and cannot) mandate attendance. We do not give grades. We do not take attendance. We treat our Rainmakers Candidates as if they were college students making their own decisions about their learning. These more independent situations demand a great deal of self-discipline, and that is what students will learn and be able to practice during their time in our program. What they learn often includes what might be obvious but has never been highlighted as a key skill, such as knowing how to meet goals and deadlines without direct supervision.
Recent research indicates that a major cause of college failure among students who did well in high school is their inability to regulate their time and attention without someone standing over them. Our program will help them learn to eliminate chaos in their schedules, determine a timeline and stick to it, and attend to the job at hand.
Throughout our program, there will be deadlines to meet, projects to deliver, and people to impress. The processes and protocols used for all Rainmaker activities are modeled after the kinds of methodologies — and utilize the technologies — that adults employ in today’s workplace, many of whom ‘report’ to work via virtual networks every day.
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