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CDM Smith's Intern Program Prevails During the Pandemic

Intern groups video chatted with Chairman and CEO Tim Wall as part of a networking competition.
Intern groups video chatted with Chairman and CEO Tim Wall as part of a networking competition.
BOSTON, MA — The coronavirus pandemic interrupted our daily lives globally, causing campuses to shut down, devastating businesses and the economy, resulting in closures, and the shift to a remote workforce. Many companies did not have the bandwidth to bring on interns for the summer, let alone stay afloat due to the disruption. According to Glassdoor, internship opportunities available in the U.S. in May 2020 were cut in half compared to May 2019 offerings. Not CDM Smith’s.

“While I know many firms canceled their programs and withdrew their commitments when the pandemic hit, we never even considered that path,” said Tim Wall, CDM Smith Chairman and CEO. “Interns are important to our future, and our team worked hard to make sure they still had an engaging and professionally enriching experience this summer, as well as some fun along the way.”

Wall, who started his career journey at Boston-based CDM Smith as a co-op hire in 1991, is a testament to the program’s effectiveness in kick-starting careers. Each summer, the firm fills a range of intern positions in both technical and corporate departments, exposing students to career possibilities in engineering, consulting, and construction for water, transportation, environment, industrial, and energy and facilities markets, as well as the many corporate functions that support the main business. Interns are paid and work full-time for 10-12 weeks, usually May through August.

The 100 participants in this summer’s cohort stemmed from 70 different schools and were assigned to one of 43 CDM Smith office locations. Most began their internship from home in May when their laptops and hardware arrived in the mail. While working remotely was a physical and mental adjustment, CDM Smith made the transition easily. Investments in cloud-based technology coupled with a Business Technology team ensured employees had the tools to connect and collaborate virtually and were properly equipped to provide client service outside the walls of CDM Smith offices.

In addition to joining professionals in their respective fields, interns got to know each other by taking part in a Group Networking Competition directed by CDM Smith’s college recruiting team. Twenty-five teams of four interns competed in weekly networking challenges that helped strengthen their relationships with colleagues, experts, and leaders throughout the firm, and facilitated their integration into CDM Smith’s culture. Interns also attended the Lunch and Learn presentation series, which invited several leaders to speak about CDM Smith’s various firmwide programs and initiatives.

Case  - CE
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Access to CDM Smith’s online learning platform, ContinUum, offered a training plan tailored to interns, as well as courses and knowledge-based resources for on-demand learning. CDM Smith’s college recruiting team also conducted professional development sessions, including Resume Review Sessions to advise the students on building a strong resume and Coffee and Careers Sessions for graduating seniors looking for full-time employment opportunities.

"CDM Smith’s commitment to the interns this summer really speaks volumes about the company, and despite the difficulties of remote interning, this has been a great work experience," said Joel Porterfield, GIS Specialists Intern, Northeastern Illinois University.

"I cannot express my gratitude to the company and its leaders for pushing forward with the intern program," said Lillian Taylor, Environmental Engineering Intern, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. "I was blown away by the amount of support I received, and I was able to gain so much insight into different career paths. My experience solidified my desire to be part of the CDM Smith community."

Your local Trimble Construction Division dealer
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Your local Trimble Construction Division dealer
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