ARServices is dedicated to mentorship initiatives and programs designed to equip young professionals with the skillsets necessary to make it in business and launch long, successful careers. One of the programs in place to help accomplish this is the ARServices Paid Student Internship Program, which provides young people at the high school and collegiate levels with the professional training and work experience necessary to excel in their professional lives.
Since its inception, the program has been an incredible success and has positively impacted a number of students from Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Students in the program have gone on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees, resulting in successful careers with government agencies and large corporations.
This summer, ARServices is proud to have four new interns working with the company. Two of these interns – Sarah Marfo and Sharolyn Burt – agreed to let us ask them some questions about their experience, their impressions of life and work both within the government and within government contractors, and the unique skills and traits that their generation will bring to the workplace of tomorrow.
Here is what they had to say:
ARServices: How do you perceive government contracting and public service to be different than other jobs in other industries? What do you think would draw people to work for the government or government contractors?
Sarah Marfo: Government contracting is different than other jobs because of how they receive their tasks and the short-term nature of their work. For example, contractors can be asked to work somewhere on a ten year contract or a one year contract. Contracts can vary. This differs from other industries where the environment is more fixed.
Often, when people think about government jobs, they typically think it’s doing boring work at a desk. The government and contractors need to fight that misperception.
Aside from pay and benefits, employees are driven to positive and supportive workplace environments. They care about the way employees are treated. This is something that has truly impressed me about ARServices – which treats its employees with utmost respect. They make sure their employees are taken care of, and have opened my eyes to how employers should treat their employees.
Sharolyn Burt: Government contracting and public service is different than other jobs and industries in terms of the way in which tasks are performed and executed. Government contracting and public service often require more experience and higher educational levels due to the numerous government regulations, which demand a tremendous amount of expertise. Needless to say, working in government contracting and public service involves constantly staying up to date with regulations, laws, and both public and government needs.
ARServices: Many people use the term “millennial” with a negative context. Why are “millennials” a great addition to the workforce? What unique traits or characteristics do they bring to the workforce?
Sharolyn Burt: Millennials are a great addition to the workforce due to their ingenuity and experience with the changes that have occurred in society. Millennials are a great asset capable of offering diverse experience and new perspective to the workplace.
Millennials – as a group – are changing a large part of the way in which society functions. Their preferences are forcing businesses to reevaluate their strategies and work constantly to appeal to a new generation of customer – one which is constantly looking for new, innovative ways to complete tasks.
Sarah Marfo: Millennials are a great addition to the workforce because millennials are a new generation of leaders. Millennials are passionate about their jobs and when they get hired at a job, they seek growth and have the desire to find their purpose. Millennials will go the extra mile to see their company or organization succeed. The unique traits and characteristics that millennials bring to the workforce are motivation, creativity, and expertise in technology.
Millennials are highly motivated and are always looking for something to do to better their company or organization in an attempt to generate fast results. They’re creative, looking for new ways to express themselves artistically and working to develop new ideas in the workforce. And millennials are extremely tech savvy, utilizing their knowledge and willingness to experiment with new technologies to help their company advance.
ARServices: What can government agencies and government contractors do to attract the next generation of employees? How can they make the workplace a more inviting and satisfying place for “millennials?”
Sarah Marfo: To attract millennials, government contractors and government agencies need to be open to change within the organizations. I think some of these organizations are traditionally and historically afraid of change, so when they hire a passionate millennial who suggests and offers ideas for change, it throws them off or makes them uncomfortable. Organizations that don’t embrace change will struggle to attract millennials. Millennials are courageous brainstormers with creative solutions and ideas, and they want to see those ideals implemented to help their employer succeed.
Sharolyn Burt: Flexibility is a key component in attracting the next generation, such as compromising and meeting the general needs of this generation. Millennials often look for opportunities that they believe are exciting, in which they are able to stay engaged and share their creativity.
Millennials presume that government jobs are dull and repetitive in nature – involving minimal interaction with coworkers and being confined to a desk. Millennials want their workplace to feel less like a monotonous prison. They want daily activities designed to help them engage and connect with their coworkers. They want more interaction and communication, and they want to not feel chained to a desk.
Also, these organizations should reconsider they way they conduct recruitment and interview processes. The interview process shouldn’t only focus on why a candidate should be chosen to work in a position. Employers should want to entice or profess their strengths and weaknesses during an interview, and illustrate to a prospective employee why they should want to work for their organization – outside of the just the typical benefits and pay.