Changing the World One Intern at a Time

Many contractors will hire seasonal help in the form of college students who are home for the summer. While the summer help is needed and the students look forward to the paycheck, there can be more to gain on both ends in the form of an internship.

“Our business is seasonal, and during the summer we need more employees,” says Wade Martinez of College Bound Students (CBS) Services in Spring, TX. “Offering scholarships enables us to recruit and hire some very intelligent students who are self-motivated.”

Martinez saw an opportunity to share his experiences and create new ones for students in an internship program at his landscaping company.

“College was an especially life-changing experience for me,” says Martinez. “Being able to help students provides a great win-win situation for both the students and me. The students earn money, scholarships and learn about business. I gain the satisfaction of helping make a difference in their lives.”

Martinez offers internship opportunities to students in all areas of study, not just the landscape industry. His vision is more about paying it forward and teaching students to do the same, rather than what the students can do for him.

“I really want students to graduate and make a big difference in the world,” explains Martinez. “Good students can help our company today. They also learn the lessons of positive thinking, problem solving and philanthropy that I try to demonstrate during the internships.”

Paying the way

By scouting for the brightest students, Martinez ensures that he is bringing on intelligent additions to his workforce that will be ready to jump in right away.

“Bright students can enter our company and be up to speed almost immediately,” says Martinez. “They provide a quick learning curve, a pleasant attitude, a willingness to learn, and no unemployment costs to incur when the seasonality of our business slows.”

Mary Lyman learned about the internship at CBS through a local advertisement done by Martinez in the area in which she lived and where the main office was located. She has worked with CBS since May and will continue to work there until she returns to school in August.

“I work in the office and I’m gaining experience in many aspects of small business management including customer service, marketing and public relations,” says Lyman. “I am also editing a book that Wade (Martinez) plans to publish.”

Lyman is pursuing a business degree at Brigham Young University and has been able to gain a lot of applicable experience working with CBS. She has also learned quite a bit about the industry and her interest in it has grown. 

Students are well-paid for their work from the start and are given the opportunity to earn bonuses and incentive pay throughout their time at the company.

First-year interns receive a minimum $1,000 scholarship, and bonuses and incentives can add up to thousands more. Returning interns receive a bigger base scholarship. All the money given to students for pay and bonuses is tax deductible. The number of students hired depends on projects and marketing needs.

A bright future

Students that work in the CBS program are gaining real-life experience in their individual areas of study as well as learning about the landscaping trade. All the learning will benefit them in their future careers in many ways.

“One of the pros of working here is that I have learned so much about landscaping and sprinkler systems,” says Lyman. “I have learned not only business management strategies, but also specific skills and knowledge of the landscape industry.”

Martinez plans not only for the future of his company and the bright future of his students, but also to take his philanthropy to a new level. He will continue to provide opportunities for students to learn through invaluable experiences and help pay for their schooling.

“One of the projects that an intern has worked on this summer is the business plan for a new non-profit company that will raise money for students on a much greater level than our company can provide,” explains Martinez. “We are hoping to put together a board of directors and begin operations in 2012.”

The students that work with Martinez are learning the value not only of real-life experiences and a good education, but the importance of supporting others through volunteering and charity.

Martinez assures that students are not the only ones who benefit. “With good students, there is really no downside,” he says. “Helping students while helping your business is a great win-win situation.”