Internships at Menasha Corp. don't involve making a Starbucks run or fetching dry cleaning.
The parent company of reusable plastic packaging maker Orbis Corp. sees this time as being much too valuable for both the participants and the company for these types of errands.
"They actually get in and do purposeful work and augment our workforce in the time they are with us. And at the time of graduation, we look at them as prospective candidates," said Dennis Rooney, vice president of human resources at Orbis.
"The emphasis on that fills a need that we have. It's not make-up work. It's meaningful, purposeful work," he said.
Neenah, Wis.-based Menasha Corp., which also includes corrugated packaging operations through Menasha Packaging, hires between 35 and 45 interns each year, according to Amy Wittig, talent management specialist with the corporation.
"We have anywhere from engineers to structural designers to graphic designers. Folks majoring in tax, finance, supply chain, HR. We have a wide variety of programs that are open to join us. It just has to be relevant to their major and the work directly related to the major they are hoping to achieve," Wittig said.
Paid internships typically last eight to 10 weeks during the summer but can stretch out as long as 12 or 13 weeks depending on individual circumstances.
Wittig said the company expends a "pretty significant amount of energy to find talent."
Gone are the days of "post and pray" as the company travels to job fairs, advertises openings on its website and reaches out to schools hoping to land top-tier candidates.
Internship candidates can land on-site interviews at job fairs and be offered positions the same day or soon after, Wittig said.
"It certainly has something to do with the job market. It's finding the right candidates that want to work with Menasha. And we want to make sure we have the top talent, so we put a lot of energy into making sure that we find that," Wittig said.