A couple of weeks ago, UFI’s Managing Director/CEO Kai Hattendorf asked me to write about summer internship opportunities in the US trade show business. I’m sorry to say I only found one: MGM Resorts International, and they begin the vetting/hiring process in December.

Frankly, I was surprised!

A few organizations (suppliers and organizers) have management training programs taking recent college graduates who work on a monthly rotation within different departments to find out where they’d most like to end up (operations, sales, marketing, finance, etc.). In the case of MGM Resorts International, they also hire many of the interns back post-graduation and have a similar program, with the rotation expanding to hospital departments such as Front Desk, Catering, and other specific hotel and hospitality areas.

We as an industry are missing a cruise ship of an opportunity! Internships are a great way to bring in younger people and show them what fun and exciting career one can have in exhibitions.

Internships are also an excellent way to find out about Next Gen thinking firsthand. How do they view what we do? Are there gaps in marketing and sales we’re missing? Efficiencies? Tech? Relatability? New trends? Something else?

Will they be able to explain to their friends, peers, and parents what our industry does?

And why start at the University graduate level? What about the 18-year-olds who just graduated high school? (I understand hiring high school students comes with its own special set of requirements, depending on local ordinances.)  Or how about someone in community college or an underclassman?

Isn’t most of our business run more on common sense and hands-on education than University degrees?

For those of you who already offer internships, please include the information in the comments below or reach out to me directly. For those who don’t, I urge you to look within your organization and see if a summer intern or two may be included in your HR plans for 2024. Or even this year.