2020 has been an unpredictable year full of uncertainty and change. Individuals and organizations across the world have had to learn how to adjust to life with COVID-19. Many companies have had to alter or even cancel their internship programs. However, an internship is an excellent experience for a young professional to kickstart their career and a great way to bring eager talent into an organization. At Werner, safety is our top priority, so while we have decided to continue with the internship program, we’ve still had to make some modifications in the best interest of our associates, while providing a valuable internship experience.
Even though social distancing can propose some challenges, Werner’s internship program still delivers a premier firsthand experience for a career in transportation and logistics. Despite our current obstacles, many leaders at Werner have reached out to the interns to connect with them individually or in small groups to learn about their goals and form a relationship. Our training and development team is also heavily involved and connects with the interns daily. During this time, team meetings are conducted virtually, and each intern has the opportunity to take a turn leading a weekly meeting and everyone must come prepared with meeting topics and questions. Besides their day-to-day responsibilities, the interns are working on a group project that is focused on innovation and Friday’s they discuss the book they are reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.
Through all this, our interns have been outstanding in adapting to this new environment and are highly motivated individuals that are proactive in their learning and engagement with others. We asked our interns to share a bit about their experience while having an internship during a pandemic.
“My favorite part of the internship has been the people. Everyone at Werner has been so welcoming and helpful. They have been patient and kind throughout my time here. Even though a lot of activities were canceled or adjusted because of COVID-19, my experience has been great because the essential aspect remains. The adjustments the team has made to the program shows how committed Werner is to provide interns with an amazing experience. Because of my internship at Werner, I will take with me an understanding of the transportation industry and supply chain, which I am excited to apply in my near future.” – Marian, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
“I am a big believer that challenges present major opportunities for growth and think that the situations created by the pandemic have positively impacted me. With in-person contact limited, many businesses are operating remotely, and having to work in this environment during my internship has helped me experience this style of business/learning that many peers my age are not experiencing. Having the ability and experience to build and maintain relationships in a remote setting has become extremely important in this day and age and the pandemic has helped me to improve these skills.” – Cameron, University of Nebraska at Kearney
“During my internship, I’ve enjoyed being able to connect with so many different people and learn how the business works in its entirety. The exposure to different departments and leadership is something so unique to Werner and such an amazing professional experience. I have genuinely enjoyed meeting everyone, and the people here have put in great effort to get to know me.” – Peyton, Creighton University
“My days vary week-to-week as I have had the opportunity to work in many departments including, Intermodal, Brokerage and Pricing. I have really enjoyed learning about the transportation industry as a whole and seeing all of the communication and collaboration it takes to be successful in this industry. In Brokerage, I gained some valuable experience in a sales environment, and I will bring that competitive, hard-working energy with me in the future.” – Connor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
“I LOVE how approachable everyone is at Werner and how it really feels like everyone wants to help, not just us (interns), but everyone succeed and the fact that all the department vice presidents and supervisors are so personable. I also love that Werner truly values their professional drivers to such a high degree.” – Jurni, Arizona State University
“The internship program has a lot of things built into it for us like Lessons with Leaders, department job shadows, meet and greets, intern presentations, meetings with our company mentors, a book club and a group project on driver placement that we will present at the end of the internship program. Something I learned that will prove valuable for my future is how to network with people and develop myself personally and in a professional setting. Time management and balancing my schedule have also already proven to be a useful skill, including balancing events with my account, the internship program and even my time after work as well.” – Jacob, University of Iowa
“I enjoy that I get to experience many different roles within Werner Logistics and really learn how logistics works. It has been very beneficial to learn and develop my skills and meet lots of amazing people that work here at Werner. Nearly everyone who has spoken to the interns about their jobs and departments talks about how they got to where they are today. In 20 years when I tell people about the beginning of my professional career, it will start with interning during the COVID-19 pandemic.” – Emma, University of Nebraska at Omaha
It has been an interesting time with everything going on in the world, but the future looks bright with this talented group of individuals. Werner has enjoyed the opportunity to get to know these interns, and we look forward to working with them for the remainder of the summer. For more information on career or internship opportunities with Werner, check out open positions here.