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Facility Management Internships Real World Practices, Challenges and Opportunities. Presented by: Joseph Geierman, CFM, FMP Kathy Roper, CFM, MCR, LEED-AP, IFMA Fellow. Meet Our Presenters:. Kathy Roper, CFM, MCR, LEED AP, IFMA Fellow Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Facility Management Internships

Real World Practices, Challenges and Opportunities

Presented by:

Joseph Geierman, CFM, FMP

Kathy Roper, CFM, MCR, LEED-AP, IFMA Fellow

Meet Our Presenters:

Kathy Roper, CFM, MCR, LEED AP, IFMA Fellow

Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology

Joseph Geierman, CFM, FMP

Senior Facilities Operations Manager at

Troutman Sanders LLP

The Challenge
  • Increased number of colleges and universities offering FM as a major.
  • To compete, graduates still need real world experience
  • Internship programs in FM departments have been few and far between
    • Not usually a core (profit center) business function
    • Facility Managers have not known how to start a program or how to find interns
Survey and Interviews
  • 65 FMs responded to questions regarding their experience with and interest in internship programs
  • Interviews with 3 FM students who’ve participated in internship programs
  • In depth Interview with 1 FM who has worked with interns in her department
  • Interview with administrator for a Facility Management program at a university
  • Karen Cochran, LEED AP, CFM - Sustainability Lead at PG&E in San Francisco
  • Brenda Morris – Recruitment Officer at Georgia Tech school of Building Construction
  • Ryan Lee – GA Tech Student / Intern
  • Elizabeth Wilson – GA Tech Student / Intern
  • Sola Mosuro – GA Tech Student / Intern
Potential Benefits of Internship Programs
  • 82% of respondents believed an internship enhances a candidate’s competitiveness in the job market
    • A possible way to identify future employees
  • Accomplish tasks that could not otherwise get done
  • Department benefits from interns’ enthusiasm
potential benefits of internship programs
Potential Benefits of Internship Programs
  • Studies from related fields (tourism, hospitality, management) have found benefits for:
    • Students – experiences, real world learning about work world
    • Employers – preview of potential employees, and access to new views and staffing
    • Industry – better qualified entry level and early career employees who understand more
How Interns Are Being Found
  • Professional associations
    • CoreNet Internship program (now discontinued)
  • Referral from Colleges/Universities
    • When approached directly by companies
    • Georgia Tech’s Building Construction & Facility Management Master’s Program
  • Applications from Organization website
    • Government laboratory
DOL Criteria for Unpaid Interns
  • Provides training similar to what would be given in an educational environment
  • The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern
DOL Criteria for Unpaid Interns
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
What’s Holding us Back?
  • Cost Constraints
  • No idea where to find candidates
  • Uncertainty about intern tasks
    • Time commitment from FM
  • FM Not a Core business function
    • “Interns should be hired by outsourcers”
  • Lack of support from professional groups
  • Not all colleges have efficient way of connecting employers to students
Cost Constraints
  • Several survey respondents indicated they do not have a budget for internships
  • Would need help understanding the costs and scope to include in budget
  • There needs to be a clear pay-off to the organization
  • “Funding is an issue; if any internships can be unpaid (or funded outside our company), that would help a lot.”
Finding Candidates
  • Some survey respondents indicated they do not know where to find interns
  • “We need a good pipeline of candidates”
  • “We would need help with the recruiting process”
Assigning Work to Interns
  • Several respondents did not know what to have interns do for them
    • Requests for sample job descriptions
    • Looking for examples of what other companies do
  • “[I would need] a prototype job description and some sense of salary requirements.”
  • “[I would need] a description of the duties interns perform at other companies, and what those programs look like.”
Assigning Work to Interns
  • Time commitment
    • Requires someone to come up with a work-plan
    • Provide guidance/leadership/shadowing
    • Fear intern may take FM away from core responsibilities
  • “The only thing that holds people back from utilizing the resource is that it takes time to direct them and supervise them.”
Lack of Support from Professional Associations
  • CoreNet had a program, but has discontinued it.
  • No leadership from IFMA on this issue
  • If we do not get these people when they are new to the industry, we risk them viewing our associations as irrelevant.
Inefficient Methods of Connecting Employers with Students
  • Not all colleges have efficient way of connecting employers to students
    • Georgia Tech approached by companies, but may not know which students are interested.
Marks of a Successful Internship Program
  • The work being asked of the intern should be meaningful to the organization
  • There should be a finite deliverable that can be accomplished within the timeframe they are working there.
  • Choose the project, then choose interns based on the skills required for that project (number crunching, engineering, etc)
  • Assign the intern a mentor (or mentors) they can shadow
Meaningful Work
  • Work that no one has time to do
    • PG&E had an intern pull together a report on the history of their HQ building
    • Had been outstanding for years
    • Others have suggested small projects that might otherwise go undone
  • MacPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Agency
    • Former military base
    • Student conducted detailed surveys of the buildings
  • Provides opportunity for student to observe real world activities in the FM arena, and:
    • A. Learn from them
    • B. Determine whether this is the right career path
  • “Not only have I learned a lot about building systems and processes, but I have learned great leadership and motivational skills from my mentor. I look forward to coming into work every day!” – Elizabeth Wilson
quick survey
Quick Survey
  • Would your internship experience become available or be enhanced by available guidelines and/or tools to link students & openings?
  • Do you believe more internships will improve the FM industry? Is this worthwhile?
  • Leave us your card if you want to participate or help develop the guides or receive them

Thanks for your attention and help