Developing the Future Workforce Through a Streamlined Student Internship Process and Agency Policy


Impact Statement: 
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) significantly reduced the number of steps needed to place student interns. By improving access to job descriptions and applications for preceptors and prospective interns, staff could more easily increase capacity to meet the community's health needs. Advancing the intern placement process also creates a pipeline for potential new hires.

In late 2014, the Public Health Systems Improvement Office called together a small group of volunteers from across the agency to improve the student internship process. The group identified the following goal: Increase the number and fairness of opportunities for students seeking career development or practical training in public health fields, while decreasing the amount of time spent administering the process. Quality improvement (QI) tools used included an aim statement, process and swim lane mapping of the current and future state, data collection and metric development, brainstorming, and benchmarking with other state agency processes. The team agreed on a solution that used existing technology to eliminate a third party that engaged in a labor-intensive matching process.

Using the agency’s Internet and intranet was proposed to facilitate a dramatically simplified process: (1) All students interested in seeking a student internship should go to the agency’s student internship webpage to submit an online application and receive an automated response confirming successful transmission. (2) All DPH staff interested in precepting a student should go to the agency’s student internship intranet page to view student applications and access procedures for student intern intake. DPH staff searching for an intern can now complete a project description form that is posted on the Internet so that students are notified of, and may apply for, specific opportunities. Applications are visible to all preceptors, and projects are visible to all students on demand, eliminating the labor-intensive “matching” process that created bottlenecks. Overall, the number of steps in administering the process was reduced from 14 to 4. The process change now provides all applicants with equal access to potential preceptors. The number of placed interns in 2017, after the change in process was fully implemented, was 12, compared with 6 in summer 2016 and 5 in summer 2015. This submission includes supplemental files.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Connecticut DPH

Domina, R. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Developing the Future Workforce Through a Streamlined Student Internship Process and Agency Policy. Tue, 01/23/2018 - 16:16. Available at Accessed April 14, 2024.

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