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Young workers help offset labor shortage

As internships have started to return to pre-pandemic levels, they have lagged significantly behind overall job growth. ZipRecruiter data showed that there were about 20% more internship opportunities over the past year, but 65% to 70% more job opportunities.

However, companies that have kept internship programs or brought them back have been able to use them as a talent pool.

Lyn Hewitt, vice president of human resources at Clark Construction, said the Lansing-based company hired about 25 interns this summer and had a waiting list after filling positions, demonstrating a continued desire for young people. professionals to obtain internships.

Lejla Mandzukic, a project engineer at Clark, started with the company four years ago as an intern while a student at Wayne State University.

“Having an internship before you graduate gives you a ton of insight into what you want after you graduate,” Mandukic said.

After interning with Clark for a few months, the company hired her full-time.

Victoria Powe is interning at Clark for the second consecutive summer. She is under contract with the US Air Force after graduating from college next spring and said the experiences at Clark have helped prepare her for future roles.

“A lot of the things I’m given are things a project engineer has to do,” Powe said.

At Barton Malow, Bertolini said around 95% of interns are offered full-time employment.

“Especially as young students with different perspectives and some of these diverse backgrounds, they’re able to share insights that we might not have thought of because they’re just coming from a different perspective,” said Bertolini.

Barton Malow has approximately 65 interns this year and just over 50 in 2021. The company has maintained its internship program in the summer of 2020 through a shortened virtual format.

Barton Malow, Clark, and DTE were the exception here, as most companies scaled back student programs instead of virtualizing them, according to data from ZipRecruiter. While more than 9% of job postings overall have started offering remote schedules, only 1% of internship postings have switched to remote postings.

Although the workforce has shifted to younger generations, companies are still trying to retain senior employees and minimize turnover.

“The experience that retirees have, it’s not necessarily something that we can replace with younger, less experienced (workers),” Bertolini said.

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