What Is The Rainmakers Program?
The Rainmakers Program is internship preparation and much more!
That’s why we call it The Rainmakers Internship Preparation Program (RIPP).
And a word to students: It’s also NOT your parents’ internship experience.
Traditional internships still submit to their historical model — often taking as long as a year of a teen’s free time to slowly learn the ins-and-outs of one particular business while traveling back and forth to the business site and doing some (often boring) work in the process.
But why should a student bother to learn the culture of a single business when today’s business cultures, unlike those of a generation ago, vary so much and change so quickly? Why bother to spend all that time on a business site when so many of tomorrow’s workers will report to work virtually? Why send students to serve internships that may not be truly aligned with their real likes and talents?
The Internship Depot wanted to provide middle and high school students and college freshmen with the opportunity to join in a meaningful workforce readiness effort that culminates with an internship with a business Sponsor. To ensure that participating students are truly prepared for the internships they secure, The Internship Depot developed a rigorous but fun set of learning modules and activities that starts in middle school, becomes very real in high school, can be offered to first-year college students, and helps students get ready for their lives as working adults.
Called The Rainmakers Internship Preparation Program (RIPP), this multi-phase informal course of study provides the curriculum, training, and mentoring necessary for Rainmakers Candidates (participating juniors and seniors in high school or first-year college students) to be able to solicit, secure, and successfully complete a Rainmakers Internship. Upon the successful completion of the internship, Rainmakers Candidates become Rainmakers and Members of The Rainmakers Club, a free online community through which they can build their professional networks, apply for paid internships with The Internship Depot and its industry partners, and gain management experience by remotely mentoring and managing incoming Rainmakers Candidates.
Ideally, in every participating school, our RIPP is preceded by several years of preparatory curriculum and activities we have designed for eighth graders (The First Rung) and high school freshmen and sophomores (The Stormy Wannabees Advantage Initiative). While these early lessons and activities are helpful, they are not prerequisites for participation in the RIPP as high school juniors and seniors.
Research shows that high school and college students who serve internships can super-charge their careers, if only by virtue of the number of professional contacts they make during the process. However, very few employers offer internships to high school and first-year college students — these younger students require too much supervision. Employers prefer to offer internship opportunities to students who are almost ready for full-time jobs as they approach their graduation from college or industry training programs.
We Invented a New Kind of Internship Experience
Even if employers could spare the effort required to sustain a multi-month commitment to manage one or more younger interns, budget limitations and liability issues virtually guarantee that very few businesses will offer paid internships to individuals under the age of 18. Those employers that do usually assign low-skill, repetitive jobs to the teen interns, who, in turn, become bored and may decide that the business world is not for them.
We determined that it was time to invent a new kind of internship experience, morphing from one that provides relatively passive experiences for a limited number of teens into one in which an unlimited number of young adults can participate in a dynamic and demanding internship, reap the rewards of the experience, and take full and immediate control of their futures.
Our redesign of the internship experience:
- eliminates the employer’s budgetary, liability, and human resource concerns, and therefore
- opens opportunities for thousands of students to serve internships in which they can learn and practice skills they will use for the rest of their lives that will be more aligned with the character of tomorrow’s shape-shifting workforce, and
- helps teens take their first big step into the Gig Economy NOW, while they are still in school, so they can start their careers early and seek competitive employment opportunities that will help them achieve their income/college/career goals.
This redesign also made it a much more dynamic experience.
- Our Rainmakers Candidates (participating students) generate their own internship opportunities. With our simulation-based training and input from our volunteer business Mentors, students assess and build their skills, develop performance-based résumés, do research to identify potential internship ‘sponsors,’ cold-call potential employers and ‘pitch’ an idea for an internship, and when ‘hired,’ successfully deliver an on-time high-quality product/project.* Essentially, they mimic the process they will need to do in the growing Gig Economy. [What can a student do for an employer? Learn More.]
- By putting the burden for employer recruitment on the student, we shifted the emphasis from learning during the internship itself to learning during the process of acquiring the internship. That acquisition process goes light years beyond the standard internship or job application/interview scenario. While Rainmakers Candidates are expected to do an excellent job delivering the project or product they promised to the employers they recruit, serving the internship is the lesser of the two exercises. Ultimately, defining, categorizing, enhancing, marketing, promoting, and using their skills in ways that produce an internship ‘gig’ will be their most challenging task. Unlike the jobs themselves, the process of acquiring a job will remain virtually intact for years to come and one that adults will need to use for the rest of their lives. With our training and mentoring, students can use what they have learned and immediately earn supplemental income (during or after school) in the growing Gig Economy without having to leave the safety of their homes.*
- Our Rainmakers Candidates serve a short (two weeks or 10 non-consecutive days), remote (never on the business property), learning (unpaid) internship with the employers they have recruited. Thus, employers do not have to allocate significant management time, compensate, or worry about insurance issues for an under-age person reporting to the business site. Busy high school students will be more likely to find the time to invest in a shorter internship experience that offers a more versatile training program than any traditional internship program, especially if it has the potential to lead directly to income.
By creating internships where none exists, our Rainmakers Candidates gain confidence, develop just the right amount of professional audacity, learn and apply communications and marketing skills, get a better idea of what employers want, prove they have the tenacity to self-generate results in challenging situations, and gain opportunities that may help them meet their personal goals for income, education, and career sooner rather than later. Successful Rainmakers Candidates become Rainmakers for life!
If the business Sponsor is satisfied with the Candidate’s work, he or she will write a letter of recommendation via email to the student. With that letter in hand, the Rainmakers Candidate is no longer a candidate, but a Rainmaker who can elect to become a Member of The Rainmakers Club, utilizing free lifetime membership to build their professional networks.
All Rainmakers Candidates are expected to manage their own obligations and work product. Participating students work alone on some projects but also work together in self-directed, accountable teams and are responsible for and receive feedback on the quality and quantity of the work they do during our RIPP.
The Rainmakers Internship Preparation Program is divided into three phases, based on grade level (junior or senior) and activity. There is also an ‘Interphase’ during which juniors and seniors access identical parts of the program (all via distance technologies**) to give them the most possible time to gain as much learning as they can.
Check out our program phases and what Rainmakers Candidates (participating students) do in each:
Learn More about our entire sequence of offerings from The Internship Depot across middle and high school and how they support workplace readiness.