Volunteer Center hopes to boost worker retention with intern service program

Interns from PPL Corp. volunteer with some painting work at Southside Arts & Habitat ReStore in Bethlehem. (Photo submitted) –

This time it’s the interns’ turn.

As an expansion of its Day of Caring – when area businesses send employee volunteers to area nonprofits for community service projects – the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley Friday is holding its first-ever day of volunteering for corporate interns.

Around 175 interns from companies such as Aesculap, Air Products, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Olympus, PPL and Victaulic will be volunteering at 11 nonprofits.  They will be painting, streetscaping, landscaping, gardening, and helping to organize and sort donations.

Karen Smith, CEO of the Volunteer Center, said the idea for the program came from working with representatives from corporate talent acquisition and human resource departments and through focus group discussions led by the Volunteer Center, which revealed volunteering as a means of engaging interns to be active in the community.

Attracting and retaining talent is a top concern for major employers in the Lehigh Valley. They hope that encouraging volunteerism will give interns a greater sense of community, as well as new connections and friends, all of which could be decisive factors in their staying and working locally.

While this year is a sort of “pilot” for the new program, Smith said the goal is to create a more formalized intern community volunteer program and to expand the program every year.

“Volunteers are critical to the nonprofits we serve and having the ability to mobilize 175 interns to work with the various organizations is a win-win for all,” Smith said.

In 2018, the Volunteer Center said it recruited more than 25,000 volunteers to serve more than 400 agencies across the Lehigh Valley.

 

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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