Photo: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Each year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina works with colleges and universities throughout the state to locate students interested in applying for a summer internship. Included in that process are the state’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

David Lavoy, the company’s Director of Inclusion and Diversity, said the goal is to build a workforce “reflective of the communities in which we work and live and serve.”

At least once each year – and sometimes twice – BCBSNC recruiters visit HBCU campuses in search of young talent.

“We’ve been at Shaw, North Carolina A&T, Winston-Salem State, Fayetteville State,” he said. “We try to touch every HBCU in North Carolina. We’ve been down in Charlotte at Johnson C. Smith University.”

Here’s a Q&A for students who might want to apply:

Q. How many internships are awarded?

That varies. Different business areas submit a request for internships. Some years we’ve had 15. Other years we’ve had 17. We’ve had as many as 22. So that really depends on how many business units have made a request to have an intern.

Q. Are you looking for students who are majoring in specific fields?

We try to accommodate different majors and areas of interest. We have students that come to intern in our information technology division, data and analytics, corporate communications, sales and marketing, human resources, strategy and innovation, business operations. Those are some of the areas where students have been able in the past to come and work with us for the 10-week program.

Q. What qualifications are needed?

We give priority to North Carolina students or students who have ties to our state. Obviously we’re a North Carolina company, so N.C. students take priority. We also require a minimum earned GPA of 3.0. Also, in order to be a participant in the program, you need to be a rising senior working towards a bachelor’s degree. Also, for the duration of the program, which is from May to July, students should be able to work 40 hours a week. Also, obviously, students must be legally authorized to work in the United States and not require any type of sponsorship visa.

Q. Are these paid internships?

Yes, the internships are fully paid.

Q. When is the application period, and what is the process?

It opens up in January and closes in February. I encourage students to go to our website — that’s — and on the top-right navigation bar they’ll see a link to the internship program, and they can access the application from there. I also encourage them to register for our talent community so they can get updates as soon as the application is open.

Q. What is the talent community?

We send a newsletter out to individuals who register on our website and we highlight different jobs. Students also can set preferences, so if they want to be notified as soon as the internship application is open, the system will send them a notification about that so that they can quickly go in and apply.

Q. Can you describe the selection process?

Once a student submits the application, it goes to a recruiter who then verifies that the students meet the minimum requirement of the program. And then that’s passed on to a talent advisor who does further resume review and then we figure out where the students are best matched based on their area of interest and major. And then from that, if selected, we do a phone screen and then from the phone screen, the last and final stage is to come on-site for an in-person interview.

Q. In addition to work, there is a community-outreach component to the internships. How does that work?

We have a community relations team that does a fantastic job establishing relationships with different community organizations that represent diverse populations in the state. During the internship, the interns get to participate in community service projects, and those can be something as simple as packing food for weekend backpacks for students who are facing food insecurities or going out to a local community garden and do some prep work and water fruits and vegetables in the garden. Or maybe it is building a Habitat for Humanity playhouse or an actual house. We have different service projects that the students can be involved in throughout the internship. And those are organized by the team that manages the internships.

Q. Is that community-outreach work mandatory?

It is strongly encouraged. We want students to have a wholesome experience while they’re interning with us, and community outreach and community service is such an integral part to our cultural DNA at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Obviously, students can choose to opt out of those, but that rarely ever happens.

Q. There’s also a professional development component.

Yes, our employees or interns can search through a catalog of offerings and do so by area of interest. If you’re looking for help with communications or strategic planning or building your brand, there’s a wide variety of topics that can be accessed through some of our learning tools. Within human resources, we have a learning and development arm, and we have access to a lot of different tools and resources for employees or our interns. Those are things like white papers, web-based training, skills-based training. We also have instructor-led training. So we cover a wide variety of different topics through those learning solutions.

Q. Do you hire any of the students once the internship is over?

We have hired several students who have come through our internship program. Also, we have students who, after graduation, have applied for our rotational development program, and they have been hired into that program. That’s a two-year program where students complete an eight-month rotation in different business units. At the end, they have a better idea of where they would like to be in the organization, and we place them, whenever possible, because the job is not a guarantee.