How Progressive took its IT internship program virtual

Faced with the impact of COVID-19, Progressive quickly shifted its on-campus IT internship program to a remote platform. Here’s how they gave interns a full virtual experience that mattered.

How Progressive took its IT internship program virtual
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For the past 20 years, Progressive has hired 70 to 90 summer IT interns, who are all housed full-time on the Cleveland, Ohio, or Colorado Springs, Colo., Progressive campuses from May until August. The internship program is an important part of Progressive’s IT hiring strategy — they aim to extend job offers to at least 90% of their interns at the end of the program.

Completing internships is a typical cornerstone for most college students, but COVID-19 has forced some companies to postpone or cancel internship programs due to workplace restrictions. Despite its quickly implemented work-from-home mandate in March, Progressive didn’t want to rob its incoming summer interns of the chance to gain vital job experience, even if they couldn’t do it onsite.

“Once we heard about COVID-19, which was before the summer internship program started, the decision was made by our executive teams [to keep the internship]. We didn’t know how we were going to do it, whether it would be a hybrid model, a delayed start, or a shortened internship,” says Gabe De Leon, program manager for collegiate and MBA recruiting at Progressive.

As the start date of the internship grew closer, internship program leaders worked closely with business leaders to draw up a plan, ultimately deciding to make the internship 100% virtual. The announcement to incoming interns was met with relief, according to De Leon, as students were concerned the internship would be cancelled entirely.

Making the decision to go virtual

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