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The Rebound Detroit: Internships go virtual during COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted at 6:44 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 18:44:17-04

(WXYZ) — Lots of companies are now asking their employees to work from home, while others are facing financial struggles amidst a pandemic induced recession.

New jobs have fallen by the wayside, but so have internships, the programs thousands of college students in our area depend on jumpstart their careers.

College internships are a great way for students to get hands-on experience in the workforce and when the coronavirus made that impossible, one organization stepped up to fill the void. “As college students, I think we’re all full of energy and this pandemic should not be a reason for us to slow down and do nothing,” says Adi Ashok.

Ashok, a rising junior at Michigan State, was looking forward to an enriching summer internship.

But when the pandemic hit, that hard to secure opportunity abruptly fell by the wayside leaving him scrambling.

“I was desperately looking for something,” he says.

, And just when he thought the pandemic had soured his summer,

“This golden opportunity just fell into my hands,” he says.

Adi found he could go virtual when “Detroit Intern Experience,” an organization built on workforce networking, reinvented the internship concept itself.

“This year large scale events are not feasible, so we have pivoted hard and fast and We are hosting everything virtual,” says Kerry Doman with VirtualInternExperience.com.

Born out of the pandemic, VirtualInternExperience.com comes in, connects college students with 40 executives from a variety of fields for remote live chats, workshops, and mentoring.

“So, this is the opportunity for them to learn from leading professionals, top executives, and even professional athletes and connect for their future,” says Doman.

It allows interns to connect with corporate big wigs at companies like Quicken Loans, AirBnB, and Tik Tok, while taking part in the social side of the internship with Detroit Quirks, creative cocktail making with Grey Ghost, and virtual yoga classes with Citizen’s Yoga.

“Connectivity is the key and whether you connect in person or online, it’s about the quality of the content quality of the conversation and you can build relationships,” says Margaret Trimer, Delta Dental’s VP of Strategic Partnerships.

Delta Dental of Michigan is the presenting sponsor of the program this year, and as the VP for Strategic Partnerships, Trimer wants to inspire young talent to get involved.

“Our industry is seeing a lot of retirements and so are a whole lot of industries in the nation and we’ve got to fill the pipeline with really bright people,” she says. “This internship experience is a chance to stand out.”

A chance to ask good questions and meet company leaders from all over the world

“It’s the secret sauce, really, when it comes to networking, is to have mentors and to have those folks who will open doors for you,” Trimer says.

So, here’s The Rebound Rundown:

  • The program runs from now until July 31st
  • Daily sessions are available to help you build your resume and make connections with top business leaders.
  • Sign up at VirtualInternExperience.com.

If you know of a business or program that has pivoted directions because of COVID-19, we want to hear from you. Send us an email to rebounddetroit@wxyz.com