Sterling Heights

Ford forges ahead with virtual summer internships

Six Sterling Heights students will be among the 620 interns who participate in Ford Motor Company's program this summer. But they won't be learning in person. 

Faced with COVID-19 risks, Ford's 2020 internship class will telecommute to work, just as Ford employees across the country are doing amid the pandemic.

College students from around the United States are hired every summer into the company's internship program, where they work for several weeks in connected vehicles, design, marketing and a host of other departments. This yer, six Sterling Heights students are among the cohort, as they work towards degrees at Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Oakland University, Wayne State University and University of Detroit Mercy.

“We wanted to honor our commitment to provide college students with an opportunity to learn and gain real-world professional experience this summer.,” said Lena Allison, Ford U.S. talent acquisition and onboarding lead. "In addition, interns are a valuable pipeline for future hires, including candidates for the Ford College Graduate program."

“It was important that we quickly redesign the internship program so we could still provide a meaningful learning experience and get to know them as potential future hires.”

Ford will ship laptop computers and headsets to interns so they can work from home. Start dates for the internships began this month, with students participating in virtual orientation on their first day. Their eight-week summer projects will provide a new type of hands-on experience in a virtual workplace. Interns will still have regular check-ins with their supervisors and skill teams, and the program will include numerous virtual social events.

Katlynn Stone, an undergraduate studying computer science at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, is returning for her second internship with Ford. Her assignment with the connected vehicles team is designed to give her experience as a full-fledged software engineer.

“I was relieved and excited when I learned Ford is continuing its intern program,” said Stone. “I had a great experience last year and am looking forward to learning more.” Stone and her fellow interns will gain valuable work experience and establish new connections through the program, just as they would under normal circumstances.

“Working from home the last few months has taught us that we can definitely provide a fulfilling virtual intern experience,” said Allison. “Interns will get a sense of the Ford culture, build connections with their peers and other Ford team members, and gain great professional experience.”

Read more articles by Kate Roff.

Kate Roff is a freelance writer and editor, currently based out of Detroit. Contact her at kate@wanderoff.com.au
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