The C-Legs Program isn’t your average summer intern program. It attracts young people who “want to have it all” from their careers and lives – but not in the materialistic sense that likely leaps to front of mind.
The C-legs Summer Internship program’s mission is to equip college students to be productive and compelling employees for local area businesses. Through teaching webinars, quality professional formation, direct one-on-one dedicated mentoring, and a parallel effort in Catholic Christian service work C-Legs ingrains in them the core fundamentals to make a profound difference.
“Our interns are young leaders who are attempting to live an integrated life in college, living for themselves and for others,” says C-Legs founder Mike Drapeau. “Each intern is selected for this program based on a series of applications, interviews, academic performance, and record of a service dedication. We train, motivate, manage, and develop them from August through April so when they arrive in May they are prepared to be an impact player on Day 1.”
Mike lives that integrated life himself, working for success in the business world and in serving others. He is the father of 7 kids, a former naval officer, a rugby enthusiast, partner in a sales and marketing consultancy and a member of the Regnum Christi Movement. And in 2016, he was a key part of a mission trip to Africa.
Living that sort of integrated life takes planning, preparation, deep faith and hard work – which is what Mike hopes interns in C-Legs will gain. It appears to be working.
C-Legs provides participating companies with a paid summer intern ($15-$20/hour) who performs duties in areas such as sales support, marketing, finance, operations, accounting, QA, software development, and business administration. The personnel administering this program and the participating mentors are volunteers.
Sponsoring businesses provide a one-page write up on the role that describes what they want their intern to do, where, and how and skills/competencies needed to do it. C-Legs matches its pool of interns to these role description documents. Prospective interns send a personal video, cover letter with resume, and a comprehensive LinkedIn profile to their assigned business.
Interns typically do a face-to-face interview in January. Following the interview and review of their background, the company reaches a hire/no hire decision. Interns are trained during each spring via remote webinars on a series of topics such as business communications, how to be a productive employee, and persuading a professional audience. But the program goes well beyond matching prospects to jobs and some training.
Each intern is mentored one-on-one by a business professional who donates their time in the prep period and throughout the summer while the intern is working at the sponsoring business. Once hired, the mentor will accelerate an intern’s orientation by clarifying tasks and accentuating any on-the-job training.
“Our goal is that the intern learns as much as possible on their own time before they arrive ready for work,” Mike explains. “To accomplish this, we work with the businesses to inventory potential summer projects, and help them identify materials about the company, its mission, customers, market, value proposition for the intern to consume. Many businesses also set up interns ahead of time with system access and allow them to consume company-specific training.”
Interns participate in series of evening courses during the month of July designed to address how to excel the workplace. Business leaders present on topics such as Business Ethics, Living Within your Means, Faith in the Workplace, and Faithful Citizenship. Each event is usually hosted by one of the participating companies who presents their business to 20+ interns and attracts some of these interns as future employees.
Interns also gather for a day in the spring to accomplish a humanitarian goal. Examples from past years include building a Habitat for Humanity house, feeding the poor in downtown Atlanta, and cleaning up the grounds of a Benedictine Abbey. Interns also receive a talk by a priest or religious woman and have an opportunity to attend mass prior to the work. They complete the day with a social.
And Mike points out the special part of the C-Legs program that truly sets it apart: the silent retreat.
“One of the ways in which we help form and develop the interns in our program, is to offer a silent spiritual weekend retreat in mid-December after they have finished their exams and before Christmas,” Mike explains. “These retreats are led by a Legionary priest or a Regnum Christi Consecrated Woman. The retreat involves a series of reflections, meditations, prayer, and spiritual practices that lead each student to develop a ‘Program of Life that typically contains the fruit of internal discernment in the areas that are preventing the student from leading a holier and better life.”
The Program of Life includes a series of steps for the intern to take in the coming year to orient themselves more intimately with God’s will for them. And, no, the intern does not have to be Catholic to participate.
Another distinguishing feature of these retreats is that they are silent. The student is encouraged to reflect and conduct the exercises with an interior dialogue aimed at God. Many interns consider these retreats to be the highlight of their experience with the C-Legs Summer college internship program.
A few comments from recent interns:
“At the beginning and end of each day, Christ should always come first, for He is the reason individuals are in existence. It is easy to get caught up in the trials of the day – that never-ending list simply gets in the way and Christ ends up being the last thing on that list. The C-Legs internship retreat opened my eyes to the realization that no matter how busy you get, there should always be time in your schedule to give back to Christ.” – Megan Spillane
“The C-Legs program gave me a great internship opportunity at a fantastic company, which has challenged me and instilled in me great experiences which I can develop and carry on through the rest of my business career.” Christopher Birozes
“The C-legs program has taught me how to differentiate myself from other millennials and to stay true to my core values when I enter the job market.” – Gabriel McCabe
“C-Legs effectively introduced me to the vast ocean of the professional world while still allowing me to earn money to put towards my college education. An extensive amount of preparation was required on my part to be a part of the program, but this effort was certainly worth what I got out of both the internship and the program.” – Michael Houlihan