BCU Delivers Successful Intern Program During Global Pandemic

September 9, 2020

successful intern program amid COVID pandemic CHICAGO: In the face of a global pandemic, BCU continues to reach new heights, swiftly making adjustments to its operations and upholding its promise to be Here Today For Your Tomorrow.

In March of this year, BCU teams quickly stood-up the Credit Union into a remote operation of more than 650 employees, protecting employee well-being and ensuring members had reliable service.

While closed college classrooms and dorms forced students to finish the spring semester online, many were facing the new reality of canceled summer internships, leaving resume-building opportunities and an essential introduction into the working world behind. For many graduating students, paid internship opportunities also fill an important income gap while searching for full-time permanent employment.

BCU's strong pool of intern talent has long been an essential tool in strengthening the company's growth and culture. The Credit Union immediately set out to redesign it’s 2020 summer internship program, implementing significant modifications to allow for safe social distancing, and providing necessary tools and equipment to perform assignments from home.

“The health and safety of our employees and members have been BCU's top priority throughout the Pandemic,” said BCU talent acquisition lead Nicole Wanhala. “We essentially had three options: We could delay the start of our traditional program in the hopes that COVID-19 concerns may subside by June or July, cancel the program entirely, or host a remote internship. Our leaders did an excellent job monitoring the evolving situation, allowing us to make a quick and informed decision to move ahead with a virtual program.

While the core of BCU's intern program remained the same, the Credit Union quickly implemented a structure that would work in an exclusively virtual capacity, providing training to managers, focusing on short-term projects, and emphasizing short, frequent check-ins.

2020 has presented unprecedented need for new ways of thinking. BCU has never shied away at an opportunity to be creative, especially during challenging times.”

“We were fortunate to have an extremely strong foundation for our existing internship program – and staff that were adjusting well to BCU's new remote working environment,” said Wanhala. “While typical in-person activities and events were canceled, we delivered a robust virtual working experience that allowed our interns to gain new skills and leverage technology to grow personally and professionally.”

The Credit Union increased the number of touchpoints interns had with their managers, the recruitment team, and each other, utilizing technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for networking, group projects, and presentations.

“While we did not anticipate having to provide a remote 2020 internship experience, we are proud to have created a program that exceeded all expectations, promoted creative thinking, and provided valuable development opportunities to our student interns,” said BCU President and CEO Mike Valentine.

To learn more about BCU, visit BCU.org.

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