Floral industry members looking for a way to find motivated staff members and “try out” prospective long-term employees have a new resource available to them: an internship program that will pair bright young minds with industry businesses.
The American Floral Endowment (AFE) new Business Internship Program is specifically aimed at attracting business students to the floral industry, according to Dwight Larimer, AAF, president of Design Master color tool, Inc., in Boulder, Colorado, and AFE’s chairman-elect.
“The Business Internship Program is perfectly focused on two important floral industry needs: attracting new talent and exposing the industry opportunities to a diverse, business-oriented group of students,” Larimer said.
Businesses, including retail flower shops, interested in hosting an intern must complete an internship form by Oct. 30. Internships are full-time (35- 40 hours per week) and can range from 10 to 12 weeks. Host employers are responsible for paying these interns (no less than living wage minimum).
After successful completion of an internship, four students will receive a $2,500 scholarship from the program, a gift made possible thanks to former AFE Chairman and 2015 Floriculture Hall of Fame Inductee Del Demaree Jr., AAF, chairman of Syndicate Sales in Kokomo, Indiana.
Aker will begin reaching out to business schools next month to find applicants, who will start their internships next spring.
AFE will provide participating host employers with qualified students in:
- Information Technology
- Digital Marketing
- Graphic Design/Creative
- Human Resources
AFE has a long history of offering both internships and scholarships to promising students. Doing so is central to the Endowment’s mission but it’s also critically important to the industry, which needs “next generation” workers and leaders, said Laura Shinall, president of Syndicate Sales in Kokomo, Indiana, and an AFE trustee
“As an industry, we offer so many rewarding opportunities in myriad fields, and I think sometimes that isn’t emphasized enough,” she said. “The internship program funded by my father is meant to not only create an awareness of our industry within the business school community, but to provide an opportunity for students to actually experience who we are, what we do and how they can find meaningful and challenging careers in the floral industry.”
In Westmont Illinois, Jim Phillip of Phillip’s Flowers has hosted several students through AFE’s Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program.
“In a couple cases, those students returned for full-time work after graduation,” said Phillip. “Internships are a great way to give students a real-world experience in the industry and help them see all the career opportunities that exist. … Another benefit for employers is that AFE ‘vets’ the candidates and places the highest-rated applicants in the industry.”