Connected to internships post-graduation
It’s not just alumni who connect students to opportunities like internships.
When Harper Giles ՚22 found out his dad was creating a new year-long internship program with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), he recommended his mentors Zach Yankovich ՚19 and Milton Spradley ՚19 for the program.
His dad, Brad Giles, took Yankovich and Spradley out to dinner during his next trip to the Hilltop to discuss what the internships would entail, and he hired them almost immediately.
Harper’s mentors, who had been so helpful to him when he joined the football team, will work for Giles Electric Company in South Daytona, Florida, learning skills needed to become project managers through deep immersion in the business. They will spend their first three months as apprentice electricians and then move into project management and logistics while working with six electrical project managers who oversee millions of dollars in construction projects.
Their credentials from the internship will set them up to work for Giles Electric or other electrical contractors, an exciting opportunity in a field that has a shortage of talent. For Yankovich and Spradley, their job outlook and earnings potential afterward will be rosy. For Giles Electric and NECA, their hopes for this internship program is to establish a sustainable pipeline of assistant project managers from a national pool of student-athlete graduates.
Brad watched Yankovich and Spradley play football numerous times and had a sense of their character through simple observation.
“They fought through injuries, pain, and defeat,” Brad says. “They listened to harsh critical feedback with respect and followed through on the new demands to complete their assignments. They stood on the sidelines and encouraged their second string peers like a mentor-coach. They represented true leadership traits.”
Giles asked Jodi Schafer, senior director of the Berry Career Institute (Cornell’s career services program) to present the internships to Yankovich and Spradley.
“This story highlights the potential that comes from making meaningful connections,” Schafer says.