The Coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in full force March of 2020, just as the team at ESCO Group was finalizing their summer intern candidates. “We always start the internship process each January by visiting colleges in Iowa and sharing this opportunity with students,” said Andrew Vaughn, Senior Recruiter for ESCO Group. The company was looking to bring in their biggest group of interns as well, at sixteen.
ESCO Group, headquartered in Marion, offers services in electrical construction, plant automation, electrical design and engineering, arc flash analysis, infrared studies, and NFPA 70E safety training.
“We began immediately communicating in March to intern candidates that while we weren’t sure how things would work out, that we would revisit the conversation in mid-April,” stated Vaughn.
Vaughn emphasized the incredible value interns are to the company and knew they wanted to make the experience work remotely. Ultimately, the company made the decision to split them into two groups and start at separate times throughout the summer. A mixed group of five returning and two new student interns started remotely this month.
“This group has been through much of the introductory training and are more able to begin remote work with those tasks out of the way.”
The second group, which remains in a holding pattern, will start later this summer if onsite work resumes in time to implement a meaningful program. ESCO Group is open to the potential of extending their experiences into September should schedules allow.
“We’re making it work. We have utilized Microsoft Teams to meet virtually, discuss team formation, develop program expectations, and introduce key leaders,” said Vaughn as he reflects on the first week managing remotely. “Typically, we like to take the group on a few team building experiences away from the office to share the community with them as many of them are not from this area.”
Interns are brought on in the summer and that often leads to an evaluation for a full-time position post college. “We strive to engage students and keep an active dialogue with them while they’re with us, in hopes that it sparks a passion in the work we do.”
Many students had their summer internships canceled, but that’s not the case at ESCO Group. While many of us look forward to a non-COVID world, we are extremely proud of the innovative work happening at ESCO Group despite the current circumstances.