By mid-September, our interns from NASPO academic partner schools completed their positions with 11 state procurement offices across the nation. This is the third year of the NASPO internship program, and largest pool of student interns to date. Sixteen students from academic partner schools worked in 11 central purchasing offices, from Alaska to Connecticut and Texas to Wisconsin.
Each summer, we ask both the interns and their supervisors to complete evaluations of their experiences. In reading these evaluations, the students overwhelmingly enjoyed their experiences. In fact, 100 percent of the interns agreed that their position this summer helped them learn practical skills for their future careers, and that their Supply Chain Management coursework was able to be applied to their work in the public sector. Eighty-one percent of the interns said their position changed their perception of the public sector. One student added, “I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed working in the public sector. At first, I had mixed opinions about working for the government, but it turns out I really enjoyed it.”
Another student said, “In my experience, government jobs have a highly negative connotation associated with them. However, the overall job satisfaction I observed from those around me was really high. I think the underlying concept that your work is providing benefit to so many people is intrinsically rewarding for the people in these jobs.”.
Almost every intern supervisor made the comment that they would hire their intern full-time without hesitation, which is high praise for our academic partners’ students! Some strengths of this year’s intern class included technology and analytical skills, communication strength, attention to detail and dependability, and more. Our interns have been impressive, high-caliber students. They are the thoughtful, analytical professionals all our procurement offices seek to hire to build their teams.
A few highlights of the summer are outlined below. First, the Connecticut team was able to bring one of their interns to the NASPO Eastern Regional Conference in Portland, Maine. This was an excellent way for their student to see how the work they had been doing in their internship is applied to the public procurement profession.
NC State MBA student Sahir Patel not only enjoyed his time working with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, he also got to experience exciting new challenges in Austin. One of these opportunities was a lifelong goal of Sahir’s– skydiving. Sahir took the leap of faith (and out of the plane), an act that he is proud to say made him feel more independent than ever.
Lastly, Maryland’s Senior Procurement Executive, Bob Gleason, sent his intern, MBA student Shane Whitten back to NC State with an incredible letter of recommendation. Bob Gleason wrote, “Shane was a high performing team member who helped us champion many positive changes needed in state procurement operations. Over our time together, he demonstrated the best skills, qualities and virtues anyone might have on their team.”
Troy Pinkins, NC State partner and Supply Chain Resource Cooperative Director added, “What we are doing as educators translates through the work the students are doing in their internships.” This is an example of how the courses these students take help prepare them for a career in the public sector.
We are so proud of how the NASPO Internship Program has grown since its inception in 2016, and we are grateful to our members who have participated with us. If you are interested in participating in this program, take a look at how your state’s participation can be a catalyst for a sustainable internship program moving forward.
Although our summer 2019 program just wrapped up, we are already thinking about summer 2020. There will be 12 internship grants available to central procurement offices, and the process will begin in November 1, 2019. Check out this video for all the details!
If you have any questions about how to get involved with the NASPO Internship Program, or if you are considering creating your own internship program, check out NASPO’s many resources, and contact Olivia Hook Frey with any questions.