“One benefit of the partnership is GEICO’s consistent presence on campus, their assistance with large-scale events such as Resu-marathon, and sharing of their expertise at our Interview Workshop,” said Lynn Rogers, CAPE’s assistant director of employer engagement. “This partnership has created authentic interactions between students and GEICO recruiters.”
This summer, the partnership has expanded. GEICO and CAPE launched a new internship program intended for students who just completed their freshman or sophomore year. The full-time paid internships, which are running from June 5 through July 29, pair students with claims adjusters to work behind the scenes both remotely and in person. Students also participate in a mentoring program with other GEICO interns.
“We want to help students master career readiness and competencies early on. We want to encourage critical thinking and problem solving—skills all employers say they want graduates to have.”
“We’re thrilled to have six students, who are majoring in everything from business to computer information systems to psychology, participating in this pilot program,” Rogers said. “Not only does it allow our students to gain professional experience early in their college careers, but it also breaks down barriers to internships that many students face.”
Along with paying the students a competitive wage, GEICO has provided $10,000 to cover stipends for housing and transportation for students who need them.
“I’ve been at Buffalo State for almost 15 years, and I’ve never seen a program where a company provides money to help students with living expenses,” Rogers said. “To have an internship like this specifically geared toward younger students is unique.”
“GEICO loves being in Buffalo and seeing second- and third-generation associates come through our doors,” said Mindy Seibold, regional vice president at GEICO. “We want to continue to further strengthen the bonds with our city’s bedrock institutions, and this is one step in that direction. I look forward to the success of this partnership.”
During the summer, students will also take part in workshops once a week at the GEICO office. Staff members across the Buffalo State campus are teaching one of eight core competencies developed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). They include critical thinking, teamwork, and professionalism.
“We want to help students master career readiness and competencies early on,” Rogers said. “We want them to understand how teamwork within an office differs from that in small groups at school. We want to encourage critical thinking and problem solving—skills all employers say they want graduates to have.”
In addition, Ashley Middleton, a GEICO diversity recruiter, is working with the students to help them improve their interviewing skills.
“In the final week, we’ll bring it all together,” Rogers said, “We’ll update the students’ résumés and ask them what they hope for the fall semester.”
An auxiliary goal of the internship is to improve retention at Buffalo State by getting students engaged in the college and the community as freshmen and sophomores.
“We hope these students become ambassadors for future freshmen and sophomores to participate,” Rogers said. “If they enjoy it, they could also apply for GEICO’s business leadership program their junior or senior year. This internship can work as a pipeline to future careers at GEICO.”
In addition, CAPE would also like to see this model expanded into other industries.
“If all goes well with the pilot this summer,” Rogers said, “we hope to replicate the internship with other businesses and organizations in the future.”