Story by SrA Thomas Charlton on 06/14/2019Four interns started the new Summer Intern Program at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, June 10, 2019, to help strengthen relationships between the base and the local community.
The 90-day program was developed to provide exposure to young adults in the local community as they get ready to enter the workforce and show them opportunities that exist for becoming a government employee.
"The labor market both here and across the country is increasingly competitive and much of our local community, as well as our civilian population across the country, are unaware of the opportunities to serve our nation in civil service in the Air Force or the Department of Defense," said Lt. Col. William Parker, 628th Force Support Squadron commander. "Our objective is to do our small part to create awareness and build marketable employment skills for those in our local Charleston community."
Each individual will work through three rotations during their internship, allowing them to work within different sections across seven units. The first rotation will run through June 28, transition to the second rotation July 1 19, and finish with the final rotation from July 22 August 9. The 628th Air Base Wing Wing Staff Agency, 628th FSS, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 628th Contracting Squadron, 15th Airlift Squadron, 628th Communications Squadron and 628th Civil Engineer Squadron are this year's hosting agencies.
"I've enjoyed getting the opportunity to start out in a unit where I can get more hands-on and involved in a lot of assets and operations on base," said Aleric Stell, an intern assigned to the 628th CONS. "I came in wanting to understand how to work in a professional environment so I know how I'm supposed to operate and carry myself once I join the work force. This program has done this more for me than anything else I've done so far."
These interns will gain the perspective of what each role's missions and responsibilities are as they work with the apprentices, journeymen and leadership of each career field. Doing this allows them to learn first-hand what the men and women at JB Charleston do on a daily basis.
"This program is proving to be a great idea to open the eyes of willing participants regarding what we do across several career fields in the Air Force to better benefit them as well as ourselves," said Tech. Sgt. Henry Robinson, 628th LRS ground transportation NCO in charge. "From years past, we had the Summer Hire Program, but I believe this new program is going to become a much greater recruiting tool and asset as time progresses."
The Summer Intern Program replaced the Summer Hire Program, in which military dependents fulfilled different tasks like cutting the grass and shredding documents across the installation during the summer months. The new program will allow more people to apply, and also participate in the day-to-day missions and tasks of JB Charleston's mission partners.
"Our hope is to take our lessons learned from this year and grow this program next year," said Parker. "We see tremendous opportunity to create additional bridges to build employment opportunities in our local community and nation as a whole. This expansion will take some effort over the coming year as we work with local community leaders and school administrators to spread the word about this program. We foresee this summer intern concept as something that could spread to other bases across the Air Force as our civilian personnel office has already shared this concept with several Air Force installations."