Succession planning is an essential component of every organization. While team member onboarding and development programs may exist at a given organization, future needs may highlight gaps in succession planning efforts. One way to address these gaps is through leveraging student internships.

A student internship program can play a key role in an organization’s overall succession planning strategy. Providing hands-on experience for potential leaders allows students to gain practical skills and familiarity with the organization. Identifying and nurturing talent early can help alleviate generational workplace transitions, foster cultural fit and ensure a pipeline of skilled individuals for future positions.

Whether planning for future technical or leadership openings, partnering with local high schools, trade schools, community colleges and universities can help organizations create a consistent talent pool for recruiting student interns. An internship tailored to meet the needs of both parties will secure continued organizational support and ensure schools are confident in endorsing the program. 

Once these partnerships have been established, organizations should cultivate ongoing relationships with schools by maintaining open communication, participating in career-related events and staying engaged with faculty and students. 

The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) has numerous resources to assist organizations on their succession planning journey, including the “Succession Planning: Preparing for the Future of Your Facility and Your Career” monograph. ASHE also has a task force exploring further ways to partner with organizations to support student internship programs. In addition to ASHE’s support, local and regional chapters may have scholarship opportunities and other resources.

Gregory L. Cole, CHFM, CHC, director of facilities operations at Corewell Health, Grand Rapids, Mich.