“Experienced intern” is no oxymoron

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We’ve told you before about the relatively recent trend of experienced workers (and even celebrities) taking on internships to jump start their careers or take them in a new direction — and now, more employers are embracing the idea as well.

In addition to programs like Encore Fellowships — an effort prompted by the Serve America Act of 2009 that allows experienced workers to transition into nonprofit and social service careers — some private companies are instituting programs of their own to help experienced workers start fresh.

Take Boston-based recruiting firm ThinkFlex, LLC. The firm recently began a program to connect job seekers — in particular, those who have been unemployed for five years or longer — with internships to help get their careers back on track. The program — started by ThinkFlex founder Subhadra England, pairs these workers with companies specifically looking for experienced interns.

Earlier this week, TheWorkBuzz got a chance to chat with England about the ThinkFlex program and why she thinks it’s never too late to be an intern. Here’s what she had to say:

What prompted you to start this internship program and what do you hope the outcome will be?

Because I stayed home when our children were younger, I understand how difficult it can be to jump back into the workplace after taking time off. In my role at ThinkFlex, I’ve also met many professionals returning to the workplace after five years who face a tremendous amount of obstacles.

I’m hoping that this internship program gives professionals an opportunity to update their skills, expand their network and gain confidence, and that employers see these internships as an opportunity to develop a pipeline of potential employees, build their employer brand and affect social change in the workplace.

For those who are returning to the workforce after an extended period of time — what skills are important to brush up on?

Every industry is different, but most professionals should focus on transferable skills and new software tools, business practices and statutory compliances. Transferable skills are skills that we use everyday including communication, leadership, project management, and negotiation skills, and they can be applied across industries and functions.

In general, do you think it’s a good idea for those returning to the workforce to take on internship roles — regardless of age?

Absolutely. Whatever your age, an internship is a chance to grow professionally and personally. It’s a great opportunity to develop your skills and expand your network.

Have you seen a lot of applicant interest in the project thus far?

So far, both employers and candidates seem to be excited about this program. I also have to admit that I am very excited about the potential of this program because it may be my opportunity to make a difference with my work.

ThinkFlex is currently looking to place an intern in the Boston area with National Center on Time and Learning. The position is paid.

For updates on available internships — or if your company is interested in participating in the program — visit ThinkFlex.net.

6 Comments
  1. does South Trends (axistrends) have a contract with your company. I was offered a job from the company but was unable to locate information about the company.

  2. I am dealing with a co-worker who is bi-polar and doesn’t take their meds half the time if not at all. Once they start to feel fine then that person stops taking them and OH MY… the personality swings greatly. It is so hard working with them. At times, customers even get a taste when that person is in a extremely grumpy mood, then an hour later that person is in a sad mood, then the next hour a happy mood and again the next hour a bitchy mood. It so hard dealing with her and I even told the boss they had to do something. Tell her to take her meds on a continuos bases!
    I want to keep my job – but I think I will start to look for a new one!
    Any comments or advice out there?

    • “Confucius says: You can not change other man’s mind ,but you can change where your body rests ”
      Start researching and networking for another job.If you are not happy ,dont stay there.
      Life is too short to work in He** every day ,day in and day out.
      SAVE Yourself.

  3. It doesn’t appear that that particular company has educated pesonnel regarding disabilities in the workplace enough. Believe it or not, no one can force anyone to take their meds, a very consistent issue with anyone suffering from a mental disorder is that initially, like anyone else who may be sick, once they take that pill and feel better there is no need to continue. The strong attachment of stigma with mental disorders, leads to shame, disctimination and stereotypical attitudes fromothers instead of support and encouragement from others in the workplace. Fear, frustration are the result of ignorance and misunderstanding. I also encourage this individual to seek other employment, however, don’t be surprised that there will be others in the workplace who are not “bipolar” and will also present with behavioral issues as well. Please educate yourself more on these issues particularly in the workplace and hopefully the company will have a progressive hr department and an Employee Assistance Program. I wish you the best.

  4. It doesn’t appear that that particular company has educated pesonnel regarding disabilities in the workplace enough. Believe it or not, no one can force anyone to take their meds, a very consistent issue with anyone suffering from a mental disorder is that initially, like anyone else who may be sick, once they take that pill and feel better there is no need to continue. The strong attachment of stigma with mental disorders, leads to shame, disctimination and stereotypical attitudes fromothers instead of support and encouragement from others in the workplace. Fear, frustration are the result of ignorance and misunderstanding. I also encourage this individual to seek other employment, however, don’t be surprised that there will be others in the workplace who are not “bipolar” and will also present with behavioral issues as well. Please educate yourself more on these issues particularly in the workplace and hopefully the company will have a progressive hr department and an Employee Assistance Program. I wish you the best.

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