For Intern Supervisors

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If you are a CCL group leader or regional coordinator, working with an intern is a great way to get more done, engage more young people, and provide a learning experience and academic credit for students. Supervising an intern is a significant time commitment. Do you have time to recruit and interview? Teach them the skills they need and the projects that you need help with? Summer internships can be full time while academic semester internships are typically 7-10 hours a week. Here's what you need to know about supervising an intern to work with your local chapter. For information about internships with CCL staff and headquarters, go to https://citizensclimatelobby.org/intern-ccl/

Checklist for Internship Supervisors

  1. Attend a live or recorded supervisor training
  2. Create a position description
  3. Share the position description with faculty, career development, and others who can distribute it to students 
  4. Interview candidates 
  5. Select interns
  6. Have intern sign a waiver and email it to clara.fang@citizensclimatelobby.org and hr@citizensclimatelobby.org

1. Attend a live or recorded training. All intern supervisors are required to attend a training to learn about CCL guidelines for conducting an internship. Live webinars are held twice a year (in January and in July). The next one is January 4, 2018. To receive an invite, please email clara.fang@citizensclimatelobby.org.  

2. Create a position description. Your first step will be to create a position description for the internship. How many hours a week is the internship? Is it 5 months or 3? What will the intern do? Start a list of all projects and tasks you have on your plate, then find the tasks that you could both train and supervise an intern to complete. Think about what groups of tasks would be a beneficial learning experience for a student. The projects should not just be administrative tasks, data entry, or busy work. Interns need projects that can utilize their creativity, leadership, and critical thinking skills as well as helping with administrative tasks and whatever else needs to be done. Imagine what is helpful for their future careers and resume. Some projects lend themselves to internships and others may not. Make a list of skills that are required for the job and others that are desirable. What personality type would be most suitable for the work that you have in mind? Use the sample internship description to customize your internship.

In addition, where will the intern work? Do you have a home office? Will you be able to meet them on campus? At a public location? Because CCL chapters do not have offices, it is up to you to find a safe, professional, and convenient place where you and your intern can meet regularly to work together. We recommend that all interns be local so they can meet face-to-face with their supervisors on a regular basis. We also recommend that students do not relocate for the internship. 

TIP: Scheduling two interns at the same time works very well.  They can work as a team, learn from each other and have a broader experience.  You can get more done in less supervisory time.

3. Share the position description. The best time to post descriptions for interns is 2-3 months before a regular semester or summer session. Send the position description to faculty at your local university and the sustainability director. Check the university’s career development website to submit an internship listing. Make copies and put up the flyer on campus (make sure you get permission first!). Share through social media. You can also table at a student activities fair or career fair.

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4. Interview candidates. Once you've received enough applications, select the ones that appeal to you and contact them to let them know that you received their materials and confirm basic requirements: location, availability, student status, interest in climate. Invite them to listen to the intro call. Once they have confirmed their eligibility and interest, invite them to an interview. Formal, in-person interviews are best. Meeting the applicant at a Starbucks can work well for this. 

“For Credit” Internships: If the student is seeking academic credit for the internship, they need to demonstrate that the internship meets the school’s requirements to qualify for credit. Remind the student to confirm your internship meets the requirements before you accept the intern.

Sample Interview questions

  • How did you learn about CCL?
  • What interests you about CCL/CCE?  
  • What would you like to gain from this experience?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years?
  • What relevant coursework have you taken?
  • Do you have experience with environmental organizations or leadership experience?
  • What skills will you bring to this internship?  Do you have examples?
  • Tell me about a project you are proud of (ask for details- perhaps what did a typical day look like?) Tell me about work/school experiences you enjoy most. 
  • Can you commit to [4-5 hours twice a week on set days for 4- 6 months]? Tip: Too much schedule flexibility with week to week schedules leads to high turnover.
  • What questions do you have about the internship position (share the description)

I also suggest that you also contact the students who you are not selecting for an interview, just to acknowledge their effort and that we are interested in getting them involved in the organization even if they do not do an internship! 

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5. Select interns. After you've interviewed your top candidates, take a couple of days for you and the applicant to reflect on your options. Out of courtesy take no longer than a week to notify the applicant of acceptance or not.

6. Have the intern sign the volunteer release and waiver. This is a legal requirement for CCL that we let the interns know that this is an unpaid position, and that the volunteer assumes all risks and liability associated with the internship. Download the waiver here. Email the signed waiver to clara.fang@citizensclimatelobby.org and hr@citizensclimatelobby.org. 

7. Set the Stage for Success. Prepare projects well in advance. Schedule regular times in your calendar when you meet with the intern. Develop checkpoints to evaluate how the internship is going (mutually meeting needs). Create a calendar for when tasks need to be completed. Give feedback about what they do well, where they need improvement. Make sure your expectations are clear, and provide deadlines and written instructions. Recognize individual volunteer efforts. Thank volunteers daily! Identify volunteer talents and encourage ongoing education (CCU).

8. After the Internship.  Acknowledge their contributions with appreciation, a thank you card, or a gift. Make sure that they have signatures they need to get credit if that was part of the agreement. Have the student write an evaluation that can be kept at the career development office so that future interns can learn about the opportunity. Invite them to continue their involvement in CCL as a campus leader, chapter member, or to attend a regional or national conference. Keep in touch and be a mentor.

For support with chapter internships, contact Clara.Fang@citizensclimatelobby.org. 

For information about internships with CCL staff and headquarters, go to https://citizensclimatelobby.org/intern-ccl/

Resources

Intern Supervisors Resources Folder