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Hiring Hoosiers: Greenwood-based business creates talent pipeline through internship experience

The Garrett Companies created a robust internship program to help attract top talent to construction industry
Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 14, 2022

GREENWOOD — In the current job market, one Greenwood-based business knows it needs to stand out to attract top talent in a high demand industry.

"So [the] multifamily and construction industry sometimes isn't always so glamorous," said Anna Larson, the internship program director for Garrett Companies. "We are pushing dirt, moving dirt."

The Garrett Companies is based in Greenwood but builds apartment complexes all across the country, including a new project going up in the shadow of their headquarters in Johnson County.

"But the reality is we are building homes for people," said Larson. "And people will always need a place to live."

It is a full service company, focusing on multi family development, construction and property management and they are staying busy. Which is why four years ago, the company created a robust internship program for both high school and college students to create a pipeline to their industry.

They started out with five interns. This summer, Garrett Companies plans to welcome nearly 30 interns on board for this hands-on opportunity.

Larson says they take a very holistic approach, where interns won't sit behind a cubicle doing various tasks throughout the day. Interns are involved in all aspects of the company, so she says it is perfect for students who aren't exactly sure what they want to do after school. Plus, the company offers a number of opportunities for professional development and fun.

"A speaker series, professional development, networking events," said Larson. "We do a service project which is really unique. Our interns are given a budget and a project and its up to them to make it happen using their different skill sets."

The approach is working. Right now, Garrett Companies has seven people on staff who started out as interns and more are set to arrive post-graduation this May.

Riley Shives, a part-time corporate accountant with Garrett Companies, started his journey as an intern and will step on full-time with the business after he completes school.

"Coming into my internship program, I really didn't know much about the industry: construction, real estate and development," said Shives. "Internships are really a great stepping stone between your school and your books and actual business."

Shives says not only did he gain industry knowledge and skills during his internship, but he also got immersed immediately into the company's culture through all of the programming. Plus, he had the opportunity to help mentor the high school interns. He says he made connections and friendships through this experience to last a lifetime.

He has advice to students considering any internship opportunity this summer.

"Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take the risk," said Shives. "Be willing to show up every day and ask questions, and be willing to grow."

The Garrett Companies internship program also landed a top spot on Firsthand's top 100 internship list, coming in at 29th in the nation. In addition, The Garrett Companies was awarded the 3rd best construction internship in the country.

There are still spots open for this summer's program.

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