By: Cari Ciuba, Director of Talent and Acquisition
Since the mid-1980s, we have developed relationships with numerous colleges and universities and have helped develop students through our summer internship program. Our goal is to help put into practice what they are learning at school and provide real-world experience, and hopefully they leave with an offer of employment at Ruppert upon graduation.
This summer, we welcomed 25 interns—our largest group to date—many of whom came to us from the schools we visit during fall career fairs, including Virginia Tech, Penn State, University of Georgia, University of Maryland, NC State, West Virginia, and Williamson College of the Trades. We also welcomed students from schools outside our usual scope, including Fairfield University, Montgomery College, UMBC, Towson, University of Alabama, Chattahoochee Technical College, Morgan State, and Harrisburg University.
The program culminated in our annual Intern Day event in late July, during which the students delivered a presentation on their internship experience to a panel of company managers and faculty guests. The panelists noted that they were impressed by how much the students had learned in such a short amount of time and how they had grown to play an integral role in their branch.
We asked a few of the students to tell us their favorite thing about their internship experience:
Hartwell Perkinson, North Carolina State University (NCL Intern)
“I loved how much Ruppert makes you feel welcome. Being a part of the Ruppert family was great!”
Jillian Gottlieb, University of Maryland (LAM Intern)
“I gained a lot of hands-on skills that I wouldn’t be able to experience in school. I was able to operate machines, learn proper pruning techniques, witness horticultural practices and practice plant identification, as well as work on my teamwork skills. I also got to sit in on financial meetings and spent time learning about our nursery operations, so I gained a large amount of administrative experience, which was great.”
Joel Hipkins, Virginia Tech (TOM Intern)
“I learned a lot about pricing and bidding jobs this summer. I loved the numbers aspect and felt like I was really helping the company.”
The time and effort we invest in these students’ education is significant, but the interns who join the Ruppert team after graduation have and will continue to contribute tremendously to our success. Our internships offer diverse learning experiences so that students can gain access to a variety of different job responsibilities, from estimating bids to the proper way of pruning a boxwood shrub. Thanks to opportunities like these, our summer internship program remains one of the most important ways we attract and retain great people. We look forward to the successful growth of our internship program and have already started planning for our 2019 class!