A common frustration is that some internships have been canceled or pushed back and job offers have been rescinded as companies freeze hiring to mitigate losses caused by the pandemic. Other roadblocks include travel bans restricting graduates from taking jobs across borders, fewer job openings and more competition for those jobs.
Also, we’re seeing companies pivot to virtual interviews and networking events, and some internships have gone remote. In fact, Argonne successfully transitioned its 376 summer interns to remote environments, helping future scientists make a positive impact. Remote jobs and internships can add new challenges for students and recent graduates, including:
- How do I make a great impression during a video interview?
- How do I develop relationships with people if I’m working remote?
- My start date was pushed back. What should I do in the meantime?
These are tough questions to answer. Luckily, EcoCAR has many sponsors that treat the competition as a real-world training ground for filling vacancies in their companies. In fact, many companies involved — such as General Motors, MathWorks, NXP, American Axle & Manufacturing and Bosch — are the ones pivoting in this dynamic environment to identify the next generation of mobility talent.
When faced with how to safely accommodate more than 500 interns this summer, GM executed a successful program inclusive of virtual and in-person participation that provided students a valuable and safe professional development experience. As GM recruits for its next class of summer interns and entry-level employees, EcoCAR will be one of many key pathways the company uses to engage potential employees and help establish a pipeline of new talent.
EcoCAR organizers and I have been in almost daily communication with participating universities and sponsors to find solutions to the problems brought on by COVID-19. Being in the center of both industry and academia affords us the opportunity to identify the most pressing issues from both sides of the aisle and propose solutions.