Kimberley Miller, Director of Human Resources
Zodiac Water and Waste Aero Systems
When I saw the email about the SHRM / Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Intern program, I was instantly transported to a time when I was looking for that real world experience that only an internship can provide. I was a full-time student working part-time as a hostess in a restaurant when I saw a posting for an HR Intern.
The opportunity I had was a 12-week assignment to develop a Suggestion Awards Program for a city government agency, but it became so much more than that as a result of the manager who became a mentor. I was encouraged to learn about city government and the civil service process. I was involved in all aspects of HR from posting job openings, to drafting policies, to observing civil service disciplinary hearings. I was treated as a full member of the department, not a “student” or a file clerk.
A Second Chance
In grad school, I had another opportunity to gain real world experience in compensation. I worked in a large bank downtown for the summer under the mentorship of an experienced compensation professional. I still use these lessons as I assess positions and review compensation levels.
Now, it is my turn to give back. I can offer an opportunity to a student – like me. I can ensure that the project is of importance to my company and helpful to my team. When SHRM and CHCI approached me about placing an intern in my workplace, I said “YES!”
The SHRM/CHCI team made the process easy. They did all of the work recruiting and screening candidates. I received resumes and contact information. I had three to choose from – all were great. The worst part was saying “no” to two of them.
In a bit of déjà vu, I assigned Mayra, (read Mayra/s blog HERE) our intern to a compensation analysis project. She provided support to our Engineering team that had been working on a restructuring and career path project. She was able to provide that objective outside perspective and learned some of the same tried and true analysis tools that I learned from my mentor years ago. I tried to remember the valuable parts of my own experience, so we also got Mayra involved in our benefits open enrollment process, company picnic planning and other activities. She became a valued part of our team, and she is still working with us part-time through the end of the school year.
If you happen to be in the California, Texas or Illinois area, I highly recommend getting involved with this amazing program. Employers are currently being identified and the open enrollment process for intern candidates begins in mid-November. To apply for the internship program, please click HERE and if you’re interested in being a host company, contact Kathleen Coulombe, Kathleen.firstname.lastname@example.org.