In terms of today's workload and tomorrow's workforce, an internship program is an excellent way to facilitate business growth. Looking at internships from a solution-based perspective, an internship program can help address two core needs facing businesses:
- Effectively manage workflow to accomplish immediate, near-term objectives.
- Find new team members to help grow business and accomplish future objectives
Setting up an internship can help to meet both needs simultaneously. Ashland's Internships for Local Businesses program can facilitate these efforts by encouraging local businesses to take advantage of the talent pipeline available through Randolph-Macon College.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How does my business qualify to participate in the Internships for Local Businesses program?
- Is a business license required for my business?
- What if my internship request is not among the first ten received by the town?
- I have a 23005 zip code but my business isn't located within the Town boundaries. Can I still participate?
- How and when do I get reimbursed by the EDA?
- How much am I allowed to be reimbursed?
- Will the reimbursement check automatically be sent to me? If not, what must I do and provide to get reimbursed?
- What is the maximum number of hours I can employ an intern?
- Must an intern be paid for their services?
- What if I am interested in hiring international students?
- What are the benefits to my business having an internship program?
- How will I know if there is are changes to the Internship for Local Businesses program?
1. How does my business qualify for the Internships for Local Businesses program?
- You must submit a completed Request for Intern including intern job description which is required to be attached at the end of the form. Sample intern job descriptions can be found here. Partial or incomplete request forms will not be accepted; and
- Your business must be located within the Town; and,
- You must be current in all Town taxes and fees; and,
- You must have a current business licenses or other permits. For more information on business licenses, see below.
- Your internship placement must be placed with Randolph-Macon College’s The Edge Career Center. Ashland's Economic Development Authority will not reimburse for internships through other schools; and,
- The internship must be completed for the full semester. Partial or terminated internships, due to circumstances beyond the control of the business, will be considered for a pro-rated reimbursements on a case by case basis at the sole discretion of the Town administrator in charge of this program. Any such partial reimbursements will be pro-rated based on the percentage of work hours completed and wages paid for the semester.
All businesses located within the town of Ashland are required to have a town of Ashland business license. The license is calculated upon gross receipts (or gross purchases for a wholesale merchant). Gross receipts must be reported using the same method of accounting as is used for Federal Income Tax purposes.3. What if my internship request is not among the first ten received by the town?
Any business with gross receipts of less than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) is required to file an application, but will be exempt from the license fee.
Applications must be renewed every year. Renewal applications and payment are due to the Treasurer’s office at Town Hall no later than May 1 each year to avoid late charges.
If your request isn’t among the first ten requests accepted, you can still contact R-MC’s The Edge Career Center to request an internship, although you will not be able to request reimbursement from the EDA. R-MC offers paid and unpaid internships through The Edge Career Center and unpaid internships for academic credit through the Basset Academic Internship program.4. I have a 23005 zip code but my business isn't located within the Town boundaries. Can I still participate?
In addition, the R-MC Financial Aid office does provide general employment job postings if you are interested in hiring for general employment.
Unfortunately, you must be located in the Town limits to participate. The zip code (Ashland 23005), which is assigned by the Post Office, includes areas outside of the town's limits or boundaries. If you're not certain if your business is located within the Town limits, please check out the town maps. If you aren't eligible to participate in the town's program, you should check out RVA Internships, an internship placement resource, offered by the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce. RVA Internships is a portal for connecting college talent in the greater Richmond region to your organization's internship needs. It is your one-stop-shop for sending your available paid internship opportunities to seven of the region's institutions of higher education.
5. How and when do I get reimbursed by the EDA?
The Economic Development Authority will reimburse a business up to $500 maximum for wages paid to an intern placed through the Internships for Local Businesses program with R-MC’s The Edge Career Center. This is a maximum per business, per semester. You must be accepted into the program PRIOR to incurring any costs.6. How much am I allowed to be reimbursed?
Reimbursements will be issued at the end of the semester upon receipt and verification of required documents and forms. Businesses are wholly responsible for requesting a reimbursement through our on-line form (including the submittal of required documentation of wages paid) on this website. These requests must be made within 60 calendar days of the last day of classes for the semester. Since this date is different for each semester, the business is responsible for obtaining this information from the official R-MC calendar.
A maximum of ten businesses may be accepted to participate in this program each semester. The requests will be accepted and qualified on a first come first serve basis by date and time of online submittal.
The Economic Development Authority will reimburse a business up to $500 maximum for wages paid to an intern placed through the Internships for Local Businesses program with R-MC’s The Edge Career Center. This is a maximum amount per business, per semester. You must be accepted into the program prior to incurring any costs.7. Will the reimbursement check automatically be sent to me? If not, what must I do and provide to get reimbursed?
Keep in mind that regardless of whether you participate in this reimbursement program, you can still get an intern through R-MC's The Edge Career. R-MC offers paid and unpaid internships through The Edge Career Center, unpaid internships for academic credit through the Basset Academic Internship program, and general employment opportunities may be posted through the Financial Aid Office.
The internship must be completed for the full semester. Partial or terminated internships, due to circumstances beyond the control of the business, will be considered for a pro-rated reimbursements on a case by case basis at the sole discretion of the Town administrator in charge of this program. Any such partial reimbursements will be pro-rated based on the percentage of work hours completed and wages paid for the semester.
No, the Town will not automatically issue reimbursement checks to all program participants. You are responsible for requesting reimbursement. You must request reimbursement at the end of the semester - and within 60 calendar days of the last day of class - using the online form on this website. This online form requires that you provide a signed form from the student verifying that they received wages for their internship. Therefore, you should take steps to have this form completed and signed by the student prior to their departure from your business. You also may be need to submit end of semester evaluation forms as required by R-MC’s The Edge Career Center.8. What is the maximum number of hours I can employ an intern each week?
Your request must be made online through the online reimbursement form. Upon review and verification of your documentation, the EDA will issue a check to your business. It will be delivered by US postage service or if you request, you may pick it up the check from Economic Development office during regular business hours, Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Please remember that we'll need your Request for Reimbursement within 60 calendar days of the last day of classes for the semester. Since this date is different for each semester, the business is responsible for obtaining this information from the official R-MC calendar.
The Town is not responsible for any undeliverable, lost or stolen checks. It is your responsibility to make sure the Town has current address and contact information.
Keep in mind that student interns are students first. 15 hours/week is the suggested maximum. Students are discouraged from working more than this. Also, keep in mind that someone working 30+ hours/week would be eligible for benefits; another good reason to keep the number of hours worked in check.
9. Must an intern be paid for their services?
According to the US Department of Labor, if interns perform work that benefits "for-profit" operations, they must be paid, requiring that students earn credits for the internship does not exempt an employer from paying the intern, unless ALL other criteria specified by the Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division. Fact Sheet #71 Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act are met (http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf). "Not-for-profit" organizations may post unpaid internships through The Edge Career Center or ConnectVA.
Contact R-MC Financial Aid office about general employment listings provided as a courtesy to interested students.
10. What if I am interested in hiring international students?
Most international students who are applying for internship positions hold F-1 or J-1 visas. An F-1 visa is granted to a person coming to the United States to attend a college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary, or other academic institution or language training program approved by the U.S Attorney General for study by foreign student. The visa holder plans to return home after completing studies. This is the most common non-immigrant visa for an international student attending undergraduate and graduate school. Students are granted F-1 status until the completion of the academic program and 12 months of post-program practical training. The purpose of the F-1 visa is to provide an opportunity for study in the United States. Anything outside of study, including employment, is an exception to the visa. Authorization for employment is strictly limited to certain situations.11. What are the benefits to my business in having an internship program?
Optional Practical Training: This is temporary employment directly related to the student’s major area of study that takes place after the student completes a full course of study. Authorization for this training may be granted for a maximum of 12 months of full-time or part-time work. Those on a student visa can only gain authorization once for this type of training.
For more information on these and other legal issues, go to: http://www.naceweb.org/internships/index.aspx or http://www.uscis.gov.
- Find future employees. An internship program is a year-round recruiting tool. Fall internships, summer internships, semester internships, and quarterly internships, implementing an internship program means you have an ongoing pipeline of future fulltime employees. For many, the process of recruiting and hiring is a drain on company resources. One solution: Appeal to tomorrow's staff members when they're looking for internships, and all you have to do is choose the best of the bunch when it comes time to hire. Moreover, college campuses are viral societies. This means if your organization impresses one class of interns, word will quickly spread. Soon you'll find the most sought-after student talent is interested in working with you.
- Test-drive the talent. It's a human resources reality: A new employee makes a solid impression in the interview, but then just doesn't gel with your current team or your company's way of doing things. Because of this, hiring someone as an intern is the most effective way to evaluate their potential as a fulltime employee. When you "try out" candidates via a semester or summer internship, you make fewer mistakes when it comes to fulltime staffing; you avoid the pitfall of training a new hire, only to find out they're not a fit for your organization…or that the entry-level employee doesn't like the field. Starting an internship program lets you benefit from added manpower, while more accurately assessing candidates.
- Increase productivity. Speaking of additional manpower, setting up an internship program allows you to take advantage of short-term support. The extra sets of hands help your employees be more productive, prevent them from becoming overburdened by side projects, as well as free them up to accomplish more creative tasks or those where higher-level, strategic thinking or expertise is required.
- Increase employee-retention rate. The proof for the test-driving theory is in the positive employee-retention figures: According to National Association of College’s and Employers’ (NACE) 2009 Experiential Education Survey, almost 40% of employers reported a higher five-year retention rate among employees they'd hired via their internship programs.
- Enhance perspective. It's not just the extra sets of hands that make interns advantageous. Especially in an organization of only 12 or 15 employees, new people bring with them novel perspectives, fresh ideas, and specialized strengths and skill sets. These augment the abilities of your professional workforce.
- Take advantage of low-cost labor. Interns are an inexpensive resource. Their salaries are significantly lower than staff employees, and you aren't obligated to pay unemployment or a severance package should you not hire them on fulltime. Moreover, while their wage requirements are modest, they're among the most highly motivated members of the workforce.
- Find free-of-charge. R-MC's The Edge Career Center allows you to post your employer profile completely free of charge. This means you get extensive exposure to the top colleges and candidates without putting a dent in your recruiting budget.
- Give back to the community. As a local business, you likely rely on community support. Creating an internship program is an excellent way to give back. Hiring interns not only helps students in your community get started; it enhances the local workforce as a whole.
- Support students. Internships provide students numerous perks: They gain experience, develop skills, make connections, strengthen their resumes, learn about a field, and assess their interest and abilities. Offering a paid internship is particularly beneficial, because it enables economically disadvantaged youth to participate. Students who have to help fund their own schooling will need a job, regardless. Providing an internship allows that job to facilitate a positive future.
- Benefit your small business. When looking for fulltime work, the top talent often go for big-name businesses. But when seeking internships, learning is the leading draw. Many candidates feel they'll get more hands-on training, real experience, and mentoring opportunities with smaller organizations.
12. How will I know if there are changes to the Internships in EDA program?Adapted from Internships.com, a Chegg service, "10 Benefits of Starting an Intern Program" at http://www.internships.com/employer/resources
You should check this website for any updates to this program. The EDA reserves the right to change the terms and program design at our sole discretion with immediate effect and we will post the last date the terms and program design were revised.
Adapted from the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, “RVA Internships: Keeping our College Talent in RVA” and from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (reprinted with permission of the National Associated of Colleges and Employers, copyright holder).