Partnering with Industry
Intern Sponsor Firms
Sponsor firms that take on student interns for the required three work periods are the backbone of our internship program. Since 1976, some 200 U.S. organizations have sponsored one or more CEM student interns. Most sponsor firms are general contractors, specialty contractors, construction managers, or consultants or owners with significant field construction activities. During 2001, 75 firms sponsored CEM interns.
Sponsor firms are selected by Purdue, based on their ability to provide the intern with meaningful and challenging work experience on significant construction projects. Students typically work under the supervision of a mentor/supervisor in the firm who plans and assigns the intern work tasks, which should progressively enhance responsibilities. Advice, assistance, and support to the student intern also begin with the firm's mentor/supervisor, who is a key "faculty member" in the CEM student's overall education.
Purdue works closely with sponsor firms to enhance the quality of the internship experience. We publish the "Handbook for Mentors of Purdue Interns," which is a concise aid for field people who supervise interns. The nature and value of internship experiences is monitored and ways of improving the quality of the intern experience are discussed with the sponsor firms. Periodically, workshops at Purdue assist new sponsor firms in deciding how best to carry out their mentoring roles.
Assignment of student interns to appropriate sponsor firms is Purdue's responsibility. Twenty years' experience has shown that all three parties - the student, the sponsor firm, and Purdue - are best served when the Director of Internships makes the assignment of every first-year student to a firm. The Director bases each assignment on personal knowledge of the student's aptitudes, attitudes, and goals as well as the needs and corporate culture of the firm. He works closely with the firm's representative who will approve the student assignment to maximize successful matches. Every sponsor firm is invited to the Annual Internship Banquet, held at Purdue in early April, where sponsors and students meet and arrange the job reporting details. The success rate of intern assignments averages 95%, based on firms' evaluations of first-year student performances in recent years.
Purdue welcomes any construction organization who desires to become an intern sponsor. Many firms find the CEM intern program a valuable component of their recruiting activities. The key to success for all three parties - the student, Purdue, and the sponsor firm - is a commitment by the firm to provide experience and learning of high value to the student. The administrative requirement is a signed Memorandum of Agreement with Purdue by which the firm will employ the intern for three work periods (assuming satisfactory student performance), pay an intern wage at or above the minimum set by Purdue's Industry Advisory Committee, pay certain reimbursements (e.g. travel to work location etc.), and provide Purdue with an evaluation of the student's performance at the end of each work period.
For more information about the BSCNE program, or to discuss sponsor firm arrangements: