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Strategic Efforts Help Summer Interns Choose Wichita

Textron Aviation recently produced a promo video that interviewed a few interns throughout their summer in Wichita. A student from University of Texas at Austin said, “I was very concerned that I would be working in the middle of a corn field”. This is a sentiment we hear fairly often from prospective talent.

After spending three months in Wichita — working at the general aviation company and exploring the food, music and art scenes — she admits, “Wichita is such a fantastic city that has so much to do. I would come back.” We hear that quite a bit, too.

Our hope is that interns will choose to return to the Wichita region after their program concludes. The Greater Wichita Partnership works with investors and community partners to provide interns with the best summer experiencing all that the region has to offer, with the goal that they envision their life here post-grad.

As the director of communications, I guide the Partnership’s talent communications and marketing tactics that drive awareness of the region as a relentlessly original place to live, work and play. Our efforts are guided by the Talent Marketing Blueprint, developed by Development Counsellors International (DCI) in 2018, which contains over 90 tactics to assist local companies in attracting talent to the region – including engaging interns.

Successful internship programs can be a key tool to building a talent pipeline. Businesses gain fresh and diverse perspectives by hiring interns, and interns coming from outside the region get to sample a new city. Research from DCI shows that if a visitor, candidate or intern has a great experience while they're here, they’re more likely to accept a job offer that would bring them back.

Anne-Marie Coughlin, the past executive vice president of talent at the Partnership, and I talked to The Chung Report about this a few months ago for their article on why internships matter to our community.

Our summer intern engagement efforts started in 2018 with a kickoff event during Riverfest co-hosted by W / A Community of Young Professionals. We adjust our strategies each year based on feedback from interns and local HR professionals to continually enhance the intern experience. In the case of 2020 and 2021, we adapted to ensure interns could experience Wichita and interact with one another safely. This year, we carried out three initiatives to engage interns with the Wichita region.

First, we partnered with W / A Community of Young Professionals to host the Summer Intern Kickoff event at WAVE. Nearly 150 interns enjoyed exclusive access to a VIP area with local food, brews and music. They experienced one of our community’s most unique venues while connecting with interns from across the region.

Second, we developed a one-stop resource on the Choose Wichita site to provide interns with valuable information on the best things to do while they’re in Wichita. The webpage has recommendations on where to eat, places to go and things to do with guides on local lingo and ways to get connected to the community. It was initially developed in 2020 and is updated regularly to provide the best and most up-to-date information for interns.

Third, we decided to test a new method to ensure we’re communicating with interns in the most efficient and effective way possible. We initiated a weekly texting campaign, allowing us to proactively engage with interns throughout the summer. More than 100 interns signed up to receive insight on events, relentlessly original facts about the region and the opportunity to win gift cards to local shops and restaurants.

Intern engagement is a heavy focus from May to August, but our work continues during the important fall and spring recruiting periods, when organizations are making campus visits and launching campaigns to hire 2022 summer interns.

We are here to help organizations of all sizes attract talent to the Wichita region. HR and recruiting teams can take advantage of Choose Wichita-branded marketing materials and resources to assist in attraction and retention efforts.





Our Employer Toolkit is consistently updated and includes videos, presentations and marketing collateral to help HR and talent recruitment professionals talk about what sets the Wichita region apart. The most popular materials amongst recruiters include the Wichita Bucketlist, “Welcome to Wichita” brochure and “Perfect Day in Wichita” guide, all found in the digital Toolkit. Investors have the opportunity to request printed versions of these pieces, too.

Whether you’re hosting two interns or several hundred, let us help you sell the Wichita region and encourage talent to continue to choose Wichita – and show them they won’t be working in a corn field.

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