The Haverhill Gazette
---- — The Eagle-Tribune, KISS 108 and the Coca Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England are just a few of the companies where Northern Essex Community College students in the business and journalism/communication programs are successfully securing internships under a new pilot program.
Ashley Bragger, the new internship coordinator for the program, said the college recognized that while certain NECC academic programs had practicums, internships, and externships in place, others, such as business and journalism/communication, did not.
“These areas are receiving assistance with the management and standardization of the internship program,” Bragger said. “Northern Essex recognizes how important internship experiences are in helping our students advance with their academic and career goals. At the same time, we wanted the program to address some of the soft skills gaps of recent graduates that have been noted by employers and advisory board members.”
Some of the soft skills that are honed include professionalism in the work place — attendance, emailing and cell phone etiquette, dressing for success, improved verbal and written communication skills through journaling, attending a business etiquette luncheon, improving interview skills by participating in mock interviews, time management, and creating an updated and relevant resume.
The pilot program was created within the guidelines of the Massachusetts Community Colleges Experiential Education Handbook on Internships and Cooperative Education. A recruitment and implementation program was created in the fall and the first group of interns was placed this spring. Working closely on the project were business program coordinator Patricia Morrow, journalism/communication coordinator Amy Callahan, and the assistant vice president of planning and strategic initiatives Ellen Grondine.
Broadcast journalism major Chad Gorham, 36, of Newbury interned at the radio station KISS 108, where he was responsible for collecting news items each morning that he would pass along to radio personality Billy Costa. Christine Hillner, 19, of Dracut, a communication major, also interned at KISS 108. She was given the nickname “dancing intern” by radio personality Matt Siegel and was occasionally called “on air.”
Nicholas Mazzone, 20, of Methuen had a little bit of a different experience at KISS 108, where he worked in sound and production.
“Just being given the opportunity to work there with all those talented people was great,” he said.
Mike Alongi of Haverhill, a communication major, interned with Entercom Boston at WEEI. He said he also had a positive experience.
“I’ve always wanted to work for WEEI, so when I got the chance to be in the office I was ecstatic,’’ he said. “I learned a lot about working for a radio station and the collaboration it takes from everyone. I’m very glad I can now put this on my resume.”
Students interested in the internship program were initially invited to attend an information session to help them make informed decisions about classes and work schedules. Students then had a mandatory meeting with their faculty coordinator and provided a resume and faculty approval form.
Nearly a dozen students from business and journalism/communication enrolled in the first internship group, working an average 14 hours per week over the course of a 12-week semester. The students who participate earn three college credits.
Employers who participate in the internship program assist in the hiring process, approve learning objectives, attend site visits, and evaluate both the student and program to ensure quality.
Bragger said NECC hopes to increase enrollment each semester and is now working with a computer information systems academic area to expand offerings.
Businesses interested in becoming involved in the NECC internship program should contact Bragger at 978-556-3946 or firstname.lastname@example.org.