Long Island internships, new and improved

Put her there: The science (and art) of internships gets a work-over in Savvy Hires' new "internship collective."
By GREGORY ZELLER //

New year, new milestone for Savvy Hires, which has launched what may be the nation’s first “internship collective.”

Just weeks after announcing a partnership with Adelphi University, Northwell Health and others to create a hiring “pipeline” for autistic college graduates, the Westbury-based recruiting firm has noted a new collaboration with LaunchPad Long Island aimed at perfecting the internship process.

The basic idea: deliver the benefits of top-rate, potential-hire interns and a full-on campus-recruiting team – a luxury that could cost private employers upwards of $100,000 internally, according to Savvy Hires founder Felicia Fleitman – in dynamic, options-included packages starting around twenty-five-hundred bucks.

Felicia Fleitman: Woman on hire.

LaunchPad is the muscle here, providing networking support and venues for program-related training seminars and other Savvy Hires-led events. First up is a panel discussion on strategic internship programs, scheduled for Feb. 7 at LaunchPad Huntington.

The brains of the operation is Savvy Hires, where Fleitman has cooked up a soup-to-nuts smorgasbord of services and programs to serve employers and future employees alike.

The effort starts with the client, according to Fleitman, which will ultimately be presented with two “prescreened, qualified candidates” for each available internship.

“We work with the client to understand their target profile and the type of student they’re looking for,” she told Innovate LI. “Then we go out and do the recruiting, the sourcing and the screening.”

Savvy Hires also does the training, preparing both its candidate pool and its clients to reap the maximum benefits from each internship. The firm, a LaunchPad Westbury resident that Fleitman officially launched in July 2016, cherry-picks prime candidates through close working relationships with career-services offices at numerous colleges and even high schools, beating the bushes to flush out the right intern for each assignment.

“It’s not like we partner only with Stony Brook University or Hofstra,” Fleitman noted. “We’re going out and finding the best candidates on Long Island.”

When it comes to summer internship programs, Savvy Hires casts an even wider net. By cultivating relationships with career offices at numerous off-Island schools, the company has essentially put out an APB for top students who study elsewhere but come home to Long Island between semesters.

Those prodigal Islanders will join regional students in a host of training protocols both before and during the internships, Fleitman noted, including lessons on communicating with the boss and interacting with peers.

“For many of them, it’s the first time they’ve been in a professional setting,” Fleitman noted. “So we’ll teach them about connecting through communication, being able to identify communication styles and alter their own communications accordingly.

“Or something run by a particular sponsor that introduces the interns to a completely new function,” she added. “An accounting firm teaching them about managing finances, for instance.”

Employers, meanwhile, receive additional training also, reinforcing their knowledge of labor laws and helping them spot the key traits of quality future hires. They also benefit from Savvy Hires-sponsored networking events, exposing them to quality interns selected for other assignments – a wider range of “future pipeline hires,” according to Fleitman.

The Westbury recruiter offers an array of continuing client services that buff the internship collective to a high shine, including protocols mastered by Fleitman when she ran similar summer internship programs for multiple New York City law firms. Among them: as-necessary conflict-resolution intervention, intern-evaluation assistance and real-time feedback on company and intern performance.

To further grease the skids for smaller employers, Savvy Hires will even serve as the intern’s official employer of record, alleviating on-boarding costs and certain liabilities.

“This is a huge opportunity to create a pipeline hiring strategy,” Fleitman said. “If a company were to launch a program like this on their own, it would cost a minimum $100,000.”

Savvy Hires is currently filling its intern pool for two scheduled programs, covering internships during the upcoming Spring 2017 semester and this year’s summer break, which is just five months away. Fleitman said Tuesday she has “back-to-back calls for literally the remainder of the week” with schools and companies hoping to participate, or those she hopes to attract.

“This is definitely something people want to learn more about,” she noted. “And LaunchPad is really using its network to get the word out. They recognize the opportunity for businesses and the Long Island economy in general.”

There’s also inherent opportunity in doing something completely new, according to Fleitman, who suggested the internship collective is the first of its kind.

“To my knowledge, there hasn’t been anything like this anywhere else in the country,” she said. “I think this is going to be very powerful.

“And I’m excited to launch it on Long Island,” Fleitman added. “By exposing students to the economic opportunities here and exposing Long Island companies to quality future hires who want to live, work and play here, this can directly address the Long Island brain drain problem.”


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