Recently, CQuence Health Group Chairman and CEO Mike Cassling spearheaded an initiative to bring tech workers to Nebraska, develop existing talent and keep them here long-term. As part of that effort, Mike mentioned that businesses need to be more proactive in building a steady stream of tech talent in the state. Specifically, they should create an internship program.
“The biggest challenge we face with talent leaving is education about the Nebraska job market and real-world training from an earlier age,” said Mike. “We need kids to be aware of the various job opportunities, industries and employers in the state.”
According to Mike, businesses could start helping matters right now by investing in interns. “College internships are important, but we also need high school internships,” he said. “We ought to be helping kids in their junior year of high school be aware of and have the option to go work within companies to see if they like a business area or industry.”
This isn’t just idle talk. Mike truly believes in the value of an internship program, for both the company and the student(s) selected, and is putting this philosophy into action at CQuence Health Group.
Recently, CQuence partnered with Avenue Scholars to provide high school students with the chance to receive real-world experiences and education through a year-long, part-time internship at the company.
The CQuence/Avenue Scholars partnership actually extends back a couple years and has featured team members from across the CQuence family of companies attending Avenue Scholars-led career days. The latest development was a natural extension of our shared commitment to providing great job opportunities to the next generation of workers.
Avenue Scholars and Millard Public Schools worked together to connect promising students to internships that matched their interests, and that’s how CQuence wound up with its first intern through this program. Josh Weidenfeller is a senior at Millard North who is an entrepreneur in the making. He started his own lawn care business at the age of 14 and is a member of the Rotary Club. His business acumen is such that he was actually able to buy his first car, put thousands of miles on it, and then sell it for a decent profit.
And now, Josh is making his mark on CQuence!
Last summer, Josh joined the CQuence marketing department to help them on a wide variety of campaigns. In the process, he’s gotten a firsthand look at the strategy that goes into customer acquisition, retention and engagement.
“My principals were talking about this new program that helps kids obtain internships in the field or career they’re interested in,” said Josh. “I saw marketing was one of the opportunities and thought it would be interesting. The only marketing I’ve been exposed to is Mad Men. It’s a little bit different now!”
“I’ve really learned a lot. You never think about the marketing team behind the scenes of a business, you typically only think of the sales team. But there’s people making content, pushing campaigns and keeping them on schedule. I love to see the logistics of marketing, the calendar showing when the social post or email goes, and how everything fits into the bigger picture.”
One thing that quickly became clear to the marketing team was how easily Josh excelled in the role. It wasn’t uncommon, particularly at the start of his tenure, for Josh to be assigned a project that his team believed would take weeks only to finish the next day. Because of his aptitude for marketing and the tools the team uses to execute its campaigns, Josh has taken on more and more responsibilities. He’s also used some of his downtime to earn a variety of certifications that will serve him well in college and in his professional life.
Next fall, Josh will attend the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, with a focus on entrepreneurship. And he thinks his time here will be useful in the long-term.
“I definitely will bring marketing with me,” said Josh. “It fits in anywhere you’re going to go. In any business-related field, there’s marketing. Whether that’s creative design, email or traditional advertising, it’s everywhere. Wherever my career ends up taking me, marketing will play a large role.”
Josh has experienced success in his internship so far, and we couldn’t be prouder. In fact, CQuence has been so impressed by what Josh has been able to accomplish that we plan to expand the program even further in 2020. Next summer, CQuence will bring more students onboard to get hands-on job experience and learning opportunities. These students will intern across a variety of departments throughout CQuence Health Group.
Avenue Scholars is a well-intentioned and well-executed program, and it’s necessary to our state. There are many talented students out there who need to be given the chance to showcase their skills and see what the job market has to offer. Not only does our partnership with Avenue Scholars support the community in ways that will be felt for years to come, it also helps to build a steady pipeline of incredibly gifted individuals who will have seen what the state of Nebraska has to offer.
We encourage any and all businesses to reach out to Avenue Scholars to explore their own internships. It’s a win-win-win proposition.