Professional, paid internships offer value to students and business

Feb. 21, 2018

This piece is presented by SDN Communications.

SDN Communications expanded its internship program several years ago, and the results continue to be highly worthwhile.

“We’ve been very blessed with the interns we’ve had,” said Amy Preator, director of human resources at SDN. “The majority of them have been intelligent, extremely hardworking and more than willing to learn.”

Sioux Falls-based SDN has five interns on staff and probably will increase the total by two or three for the summer, Preator said.

Over the next two weeks, SDN will participate in job fairs at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls and Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell.

Four of SDN’s five interns are students at Dakota State University, which specializes in computer-related fields of study.

The fifth, Giang Tran, 22, graduated from Augustana University last summer with a double major in business administration and psychology. She’s an international student from Vietnam.

Tran began a business intelligence internship at SDN last October. Most of what she does is related to studying the market and identifying potential customers for SDN services.

“I really like what I’m doing right now,” she said. “It’s been a really good experience for me so far.”

Tran enjoys the people she works with and the opportunity to participate in company activities.

“SDN has a really good internship program,” she said. “I get to do real work, and I have a supervisor following what I do.”

SDN expanded its internship program about seven years, with the support of CEO Mark Shlanta. The goal, in part, was to help the company recruit prospective employees in technical areas. The company also hoped the program would help expose SDN to more young, talented students and provide them with good work experiences in a professional and successful business environment.

The expectations have been met and continue to be met, Preator said.

Internships help students trying to complete college degrees. However, some interns just want work experience. At SDN, all interns get paid and are assigned meaningful work. Plus, it can provide students with valuable social and professional experience because they get to participate in corporate activities, Preator said.

“You can like the field, but it can be totally different once you get into a working environment,” she said.

Finding good employees with technical skills and the willingness to learn still can be challenging for employers in the labor-tight Sioux Falls area. Providing internships continues to be among the tools SDN can use to help attract quality, prospective employees.

The program has attracted several interns who’ve gone on to become full-time employees or contribute to the telecommunications industry in other ways.

“For us, internships are the perfect opportunity for both sides to determine whether they want a long-term relationship,” Preator said.

SDN, which employs about 160 people, is the premier regional provider of broadband connectivity, cybersecurity services and related telecommunications solutions for businesses and institutions.

For information about internships at SDN, reach out via email or take a look at other job openings on SDN’s career page.

Professional, paid internships offer value to students and business

SDN Communications has stepped up its internship program, with a lot of positive results.

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