No industry exists in a solitary bubble. To compete in a global market, your employees must have a refined knowledge of global issues. One good way to cultivate the well-rounded talent your company needs is with an internship program that offers opportunities beyond fetching coffee and making copies. Many companies are developing unusual, out-of-the-office programs that serve as a selling point to attract strong potential applicants while also further improving their skills to make them more valuable assets when they become full-time employees. Here are three that can provide a good blueprint for your business.

1. Golin

The New York City-based public relations firm has created a new internship program it calls the "unternship," in which students plan their own three-month adventure anywhere in the U.S. "After three months, the Golin Untern will return to a full-time, paid position at Golin, filled with creativity and a fresh perspective on life," the firm says. Potential adventures include hiking the Appalachian Trail and mentoring inner-city students. 

2. The Science Exchange

This San Diego-based nonprofit provides students with college credit while researching sea turtles in South America. By the end of the program, each student has published work in a professional capacity. "The program is a combination of a Peace Corps volunteer experience [and] a study abroad experience," says program director Katherine Santos.

3. SpaceX

The space tourism company founded by Elon Musk offers students the opportunity to help pave the way to Mars through internships in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Texas, and Los Angeles. "At SpaceX, interns will obtain invaluable hands-on technical experience that you can’t learn in a classroom," the company's website says. "Interns will gain practical experience by participating in actual space hardware development projects." 


Published on: Oct 22, 2014