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CHS internships provide students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience and contribute to something bigger than themselves.
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CHS internships lay foundation for career growth

CHS internships provide students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience and contribute to something bigger than themselves.
Liz Grady
Jul 27, 2023

The internship program at CHS builds a strong foundation for students to begin their careers. And each year, many of them will have an opportunity to grow their careers within the company as full-time employees.

Who knows? One of them could even be a future CEO.

That’s Jay Debertin’s story. The CHS president and CEO says CHS is a place where a career can grow and flourish.

“I was an intern... I kind of thought maybe I'd stay with the company a couple of years and then move on. Before you know it, you can make a few career moves and find out at this one company, you can have a couple of different careers if you want,” Debertin told the group of 2023 interns at their kick-off event earlier this year. “You might find yourself 39 years later standing in front of a group of interns.”

Learning that the company’s CEO started as an intern inspires current intern Nathalia Mendes De Albuquerque. “When I started my internship, in my head, I was just an intern,” she says. “But hearing from the CEO that he started as an intern here at CHS, that really touched me. This company really cares about me because the CEO started in the same position as me.”

Four people talking 
CHS President and CEO Jay Debertin interacts with interns at the CHS intern kick-off event at the company’s headquarters in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

 

210 interns are working at CHS this summer, an increase of 20%, reports Carley Potter, talent acquisition operations specialist, campus and community programs. Internships at CHS take multiple forms: 60% in-person, 30% hybrid and 10% remote. Most internships are based in the U.S. However, there also are internships in Spain and Brazil. See internship opportunities online.

CHS leaders see the importance of the internship program. “For both audiences – the company and the intern themselves – we have an offering that is valuable,” Debertin says. Chief human resources officer, Mary Kaul-Hottinger adds that, “the internship program at CHS is a critical source of talent for us.”

Hear more from these two leaders and their thoughts about the intern program, in this video.

 

“Whether out in the field working with our owners, doing analysis on our supply chain, or completing projects at our refineries, interns are a valuable part of our cooperative culture in creating connections to empower agriculture,” says Potter. “Through our program, interns develop in-demand skills, work on value-added projects and have the opportunity to connect with leaders all across the company.”

Career paths and future CHS jobs

The CHS internship program has a strong history of interns becoming full-time employees, Potter adds. “We often see summer internships extending into fall and spring semesters. As graduation draws near, many interns accept offers to join CHS full-time. Over twenty interns converted to full-time employees this past spring.”

That’s true for returning interns as well, she says. “While we often see our interns continue to come back for consecutive summers, their experience can look very different. We want to see interns build off previous roles by adding more responsibility and experience with other parts of the business.”

A key part of the CHS internship program is learning about various career paths. “We want interns to learn about their current role while also getting glimpses of what their next role at CHS could look like – whether that’s on the same team or with a completely different department,” says Potter.

Strong focus on development

Employee development is a focus at CHS, and interns are no exception. One goal of the internship program is to immerse interns in the business.

Recently, 46 interns from the company’s headquarters toured CHS facilities in southeastern Minnesota, getting a glimpse into how the business functions, learning about different roles within the company and seeing firsthand how customers interact with CHS at those facilities.

“This was an impactful experience for many of the interns who may not have had that exposure to agriculture and to see how we partner with our farmer-owners in their operations,” says Potter.

A large group of people standing outside
Interns tour facilities in the Rochester, Minn., area to learn about key aspects of the work across CHS, including corn and soybean quality, propane deliveries and the technology used in a fertilizer tower and grain scale.

 

Another key component of the CHS internship program is providing access to senior leadership. Throughout July, about 120 interns signed up for one-on-one conversations with leaders across the company to make connections and ask questions about career journeys and leadership lessons.

Two employees talking
Darin Hunhoff, executive vice president, energy, meets with intern Olufunmilayo Ogunwole.

 

Local and global connections

Some students look for opportunities to live and work in the same towns they grew up in. With locations across rural America, CHS offers opportunities for students to work locally and make an impact on a global scale, Potter says.

Agronomy operations intern Tori Kanz first learned of CHS because she recognized the company’s trucks driving through her hometown. Attending Mitchell Technical College in Mitchell, S.D., she saw an internship with CHS as an opportunity to learn more about agribusiness.

See more of Kanz’s intern experience in this video.

 

Nathalia Mendes De Albuquerque, business system analyst intern, patron equity and tax, is attending Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minn., but is originally from Brazil. She learned after starting her internship that CHS does business in Brazil. “It felt like a hug for me learning CHS is in Brazil, too,” she says.

Hear more about Mendes De Albuquerque’s intern experience in this video.

 

Internship program at a glance

Throughout their 12- to 15-week internship at CHS, interns have options of participating in programming to learn more about CHS, build career skills and connect with company leaders. All events are offered in-person with hybrid options.

In May, interns participated in the intern kick-off event and orientation, where they heard from senior leaders and past CHS interns about making the most of their experience.

In June, interns had the opportunity to join employees during CHS Spirit of Service Days, which brings together employees across the world for two weeks of volunteering in the communities where they live and work. Interns also could attend a panel discussion with CHS leaders to get lessons from their careers.

Four leaders talk in panel discussion
Four strategic leadership team members at CHS — Rick Dusek, Darin Hunhoff, Olivia Nelligan and John Griffith — share career advice with interns during the intern SLT roundtable event at CHS headquarters.

 

This month, the CHS talent acquisition team offered resume reviews and an “ask a recruiter” panel with tips for resumes, LinkedIn profiles and interviews.

Internships typically conclude each August with a social outing to a St. Paul Saints baseball game at CHS Field and a celebration event to highlight intern project work and accomplishments.

If you’re a student interested in an internship at CHS, learn more on the intern experience webpage, or talk with the campus recruiting team this fall. See details for campus recruiting events via Handshake or by checking the career center at your higher-ed institution.


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