Physical Plant initiated a student internship program to expose UVM students to the professional field of facilities management. This is a paid internship program that allows students, primarily from Engineering, to obtain a working knowledge of what our organization does on a daily basis.
Typically, in the spring semester, project ideas are identified and documentation is sent to the UVM School of Engineering and the UVM School of Business Administration to solicit for summer intern jobs. Over the past several years, we have hosted over a dozen student interns. Primarily, students have come from electrical, mechanical and civil engineering academic areas, but our department has also hosted student interns from business and environmental studies.
Student interns are interviewed and assigned to Physical Plant staff mentors and employees to shadow projects, as well as get assignments to perform duties associated with actual UVM tasks. Project deadlines are outlined and meetings are held with the students on their weekly performance. Each intern is expected to handle numerous projects and multi-task. Power point presentations and written technical reports are due at the end of each project or employment cycle. Presentations are given in front of an audience to expose student interns to public speaking and professional presentation skills.
The student intern program has been a great success, mutually beneficial to both the Physical Plant and to students. The institutional rewards far outweigh the costs, and students gain valuable experience in "facilities management" as potential future employees within this rewarding field.