We are at a time where technology and social media have made activism possible anytime, anyplace. The SISGI Group is using this to our advantage. We have a very unique, cutting-edge virtual internship that brings together the best and the brightest students from around the world under a common cause.
The SISGI Group developed our internship model with a small cohort of students in February 2011. Since then students from all over have participated in a virtual internship experience that allows them to connect their academics with their personal interests. They learn how to manage projects, research issues and work with SISGI Group partners all while leveraging technology in our digitally focused culture.
Our internship model allows students in rural and/or isolated communities to have the same opportunities for a great internship experience as those located in urban and social sector hub cities. While researching and concentrating on issues they care about, they can also learn tangible skills to prepare them to work in the nonprofit or social sector. As part of a cohort of interns they participate in a team environment with other students studying different and sometimes similar topics. This prepares students for diverse , cross cultural and global team based work upon graduation.
This need for a new internship experience rose from several issues we saw impacting our clients and partners:
- Entry level workers were not prepared with practical skills in college or in previous work experiences which created a very high learning curve for new hires.
Though many recent graduates and new hires had great volunteer experiences they knew very little about how to write for a general audience or for nonacademic circumstances. They also knew very little about project management or program management and required a great deal of handholding in their day to day work. Our interns gain these experiences significantly reducing their learning curve when hired.
- Social media experience is a high need within the nonprofit and social sector and though recent graduates are more familiar with social media than their supervisors, they lacked skills in using it for professional settings.
- Many organizations could use the capacity support that having an intern brings, but lack the capacity to manage, recruit and supervise an intern, especially through the months where there is a very high learning curve.
- Most internship programs in the sector either were too specific or too broad to actually prepare students to enter the field.