Innovative Defense Technologies (IDT) has a well-established Summer Internship Program which has run uninterrupted for years. Recruiting qualified college students–many studying Engineering or Computer Science–begins in early fall and the majority of the “class” is selected months in advance. What would happen this year in the face of unexpected workplace limitations due to COVID-19?
Like all companies, IDT adjusted operations over the past three months to safely conduct business during the coronavirus pandemic. This scenario posed a challenge to our standard Summer Internship Program, which, in addition to project work, includes mentoring, Lunch and Learns, social events, and off-site outings.
After much thought, and a few creative adjustments, we decided to press ahead with this important program. Interns will still spend about 12 weeks with us, but one aspect of the experience will be different. Much of the program will be conducted virtually.
This year’s internship class hails from nine colleges and universities, including: Boston University, Carnegie Mellon, Champlain College, Cornell University, Temple University, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Rutgers University, University of Virginia (UVA), and Virginia Tech. Most interns are rising juniors or seniors studying Computer Science, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering or Math.
We recently welcomed these interns to our teams in three IDT locations: Arlington, VA; Fall River, MA; and Mount Laurel, NJ. Their experience started with a full day of remote orientation, during which interns met one another and several full-time employees from their respective offices.
Each intern was assigned a Personnel Manager and a Mentor, both of whom will provide guidance and feedback throughout the summer. Following orientation, interns talked with their managers to learn more about their specific projects and the technologies they will be using.
In the coming weeks, IDT interns will have the opportunity to acquire valuable skills and experience in computer programming, software testing, software development and/or systems development. Those working in an engineering capacity will be exposed to IDT’s technologies and patented automated solutions. They will learn more about the defense industry and IDT’s mission to equip the warfighter with leading-edge capabilities.
Additionally, we’re planning several online Lunch and Learns, including: Why We Do What We Do—which delves into the world of defense contracting; IDT’s Engineering Processes—which focuses on our innovative solutions; School-to-Workforce Transition; and Career Tracks—which aids in the exploration of fields available to students studying Engineering and Computer Science.
According to Billy Spencer, of IDT’s Human Resources Department, who manages the program, “We’re thrilled with the impressive group of interns who have joined IDT this summer. Our goal is to provide a meaningful internship experience, which will include regular check-ins to confirm interns are engaged and feel connected. We’re working diligently to provide valuable work and other learning opportunities important to their future careers. I’m so glad we were able to move forward with the program this year.”
IDT’s Summer Internship Program was established in 2008. The recruitment process is highly competitive. The cycle starts in the early fall, with potential candidates applying online or meeting IDT representatives at collegiate job fairs. This is followed by resume submissions and, finally, interviews.