How do you recruit the employees? And how did you structure the internships so they worked for both parties?
A representative from the high school’s district reaches out to teachers in arts, graphics and photography departments who then recommend students and they submit resumes. The high school narrows it down to 2–3 candidates and then I interview the students and make a selection that best fits the business. The intern works a few hours a day at the high school administrative building and reports to the Multimedia Communications Specialist at the school for training with graphic packages and various media programs. Then they spend a few hours a week taking pictures and videos at TCBY and propose final media posts and marketing materials for me to approve. While the intern is paid by my TCBY business, they receive training from both the Communications Department at the high school and myself, so it is a customized internship designed tailored for my store.
What was the initial goal of the program, and what have been some of the biggest surprises?
The goal was to have high school students gain experience in an internship program normally held by college students. I also was looking for someone who could take on the daily task of managing my social media sites. I was pleasantly surprised by the marketing ideas outside of social media that the intern and the Communication Specialist presented to me.
In terms of social media, marketing, and advertising, what have you learned from the students?
I have learned more about what teenagers and young adults like to see on social media. They like videos, humorous short titles, pictures that are colorful and pictures of themselves. The Gen Z audience wants to feel valued and that their opinions matter. We have learned to engage them in conversations about our product and what flavors they like best to make them feel part of the brand.
How important is a program like this for connecting with the community?
It is very important to let the community know, that as a business owner, I support the school district and the students in our community.