Coast to Coast: Two Companies Support Students

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By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

   
 REM’s interns (l to r) Britney, Griselda, Imani and Christian in the company’s warehouse.
 Intern Christian Kruchenko checks out a planning board.
LOS ANGELES and HAUPPAUGE, N.Y.—A summer internship (or two) has become de rigueur for students looking to distinguish themselves among the sea of applicants for what seems to be fewer and fewer available college admissions or first job opportunities. Often relegated to coffee-fetching gophers or paper filing drones, unfortunately few companies look at summer interns as more than free grunt labor; enter Los Angeles-based REM Eyewear and Long Island’s ClearVision Optical. Both companies have taken very different approaches to the same opportunity—attracting hard-working, talented youths by investing in internship programs that provide real life skills to students looking for a competitive advantage.

For REM’s part, they support Hire L.A.’s Youth’s program by employing several local Burbank, Calif. high school students to be part of the company’s operations team. According to the company, a steady increase in business has demanded skilled staff to support the wholesale distribution segment, so they’ve brought in students through the program to learn the eyewear trade from daily fulfillment to meeting quarterly goals. Through their internships with REM, the students can gain essential work experience, business acumen and cooperative team building to help prepare them for the next steps to higher learning, said REM.

“I am very impressed by the maturity and eagerness which these young people possess and demonstrate to us each day,” shared Don Alecock, REM Eyewear’s VP of operations. “These students have had an immediate positive effect on our daily shipping output. It’s a pleasure to have them on-board and this first work experience should prove to be mutually beneficial to both REM Eyewear and the students as they prepare for the next steps in their school and work endeavors.”

The City of Los Angeles led by Mayor Villaragosa, the Workforce Investment Board and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce partnered to create Hire L.A.’s Youth, a campaign focused on connecting L.A.’s youth to employment opportunities. Through the program private sector employers, like REM, are encouraged to extend entry-level job opportunities to underserved urban youth.

REM Student employee Christian Kruchenko added, “I hope to achieve numerous goals here at REM and continue to learn and work hard. I’m very fortunate to receive a job opportunity that will be an invaluable experience.”


 

 ClearVision’s interns participate in community events through the company’s program.
 At the company’s Hauppauge offices the interns interact at networking events.
On the East Coast, Long Island’s ClearVision Optical has devoted the last few years to developing an innovative intern program focused on college students that they say “provides a holistic experience for students, combining real world experience with tools and guidance.” According to the company, the ClearVision Intern Program strives to empower students and make them more marketable by providing a unique learning experience that will ease the transition from student to professional.

The company provides training classes and workshops such as e-mail etiquette, interview tools, critical thinking, networking and a management speaker series, along with participation in community events.

“In essence, our unique intern program is a first ‘real’ job, in that it gives students considerable responsibility for day-to-day projects that require extensive interaction within the CVO community,” said David Friedfeld, president of ClearVision. “This truly hands-on experience provides more ‘reality’ for students in comparison to other programs offered by other companies. In turn, these students bring ClearVision a constant flow of fresh ideas and new perspectives that help us continue to evolve.”

In fact, last year ClearVision’s summer interns created a visual documentary called A Community For Great Beginnings that showcased the company intern program, in effect creating their own marketing materials to attract future intern applicants to ClearVision’s award-winning program. The video captures the benefits of the intern program and reinforces the program’s commitment to educating students by providing a learning experience on the art of speaking, listening, thinking and communicating by speaking in front of a camera. 

dcarroll@jobson.com