Improve Your Talent Pipeline with an Internship Program

Published: June 27, 2024
Seventyfour /

Internship programs might be one of the best talent investments your company will ever make. A recent survey led by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that 80% of employers cite internships as the candidate-sourcing technique with the best ROI. This outperforms options like career fairs and on-campus visits. 

If you need to build your talent pipeline quickly (like so many other integrators and manufacturers in the integration industry do), then building an internship program is a productive step. But creating an internship program takes work — which is why some companies hesitate. It involves much more than bringing in a few students and assigning them warehouse tasks or other work for 12 weeks. In reality, it requires you to do all of the following: 

  • Develop consistent processes. 
  • Track intern productivity. 
  • Collect performance metrics. 
  • Engage intern managers. 

It seems daunting, but that’s where NSCA’s Ignite Internship Program enters the picture. As a trade association supporting the integration industry, we can help you overcome many of the challenges associated with managing your internships — even if your program is already well established. 

Related: Crestron Interns Illustrate the Value of Mindfully Nurturing Talent

Tools to Build Out Your Internship Program 

Our resources help you bring interns into your organization and position them for success. Our Internship Framework includes the following phases: 

  • Phase 1: Onboarding: Interns gain an understanding of your business, spending at least one day in each department. The intern then reports on what they learned (which can be helpful for you, too). 
  • Phase 2: Ride and Decide: For five weeks, interns receive in-depth exposure to three departments and career paths of their choice. Tasks are a mix of job-specific activities and soft-skills training. Interns report on what they learn and work with you to determine areas of interest. 
  • Phase 3: Learn and Earn: Interns gain relevant experience and credentials in sales, operations, marketing or project management by completing NSCA’s C-SIP program. After completing this program, they once again report on what they learned. 
  • Phase 4: Real-World Application: For two weeks, interns spend 80% to 90% of their time on projects in the area they choose. They also craft an essay that documents what they’ve learned about quality, performance, process improvement and personal growth. Last, they report one final time on what they learned and how they see themselves fitting in at your company. 

This structure helps everyone get something valuable from the program. For instance, interns emerge with an appreciation for our industry, your company and the skills that they can contribute to specific roles. Similarly, your company starts building a talent pipeline and gets help with projects that have been on the radar for a while but haven’t been finished due to a lack of time or resources. 

Software and Processes

Behind the scenes, you’ll have access to an online software package called TalentLMS. It provides a way for you to create your internship program, and it guides your interns and you through the process by connecting you both with the following: 

  • instructions 
  • videos 
  • tests 
  • reporting tools 
  • analytics 

These tools give you a framework to follow — no guesswork required! — so you can create a successful, beneficial internship program. You’ll be able to track performance and productivity metrics while also getting managers involved with their interns’ progress. 

Offsetting Internship Costs 

Internships also cost money. Fortunately, NSCA’s Ignite Internship Program can help you here, too. To offset some of the costs associated with internship programs, our Ignite Internship Grant offers $1,000 toward the reimbursement of intern wages. These subsidized grants are given to qualifying integrator and manufacturer companies that hope to transition interns to full-time employment. 

If your internship program exists within the commercial integration industry — and you’re putting forth an effort to help interns experience different departments and work with mentors along the way — then your program qualifies for an Ignite Internship Grant. 

Our industry needs a larger number of talented individuals, and you can help us make it happen. We want to assist as many integrators and manufacturers as possible with their internship programs — including you. NSCA is here to help you launch your own Ignite internship program. 

Laura Janssen is director of workforce development at NSCA. Learn about becoming an NSCA member by visiting 

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