Internship Program Overview


As a follow-up to work accomplished by AOBA’s Engineering Talent Task Force – and as an initial project of the Educational Foundation – AOBA designed an an internship program to help our members identify and hire entry-level engineering employees.  We  kicked off the internship program in June of 2018 and completed the inaugural pilot program in August with 7 interns graduating (pictured above).

Congrats to our intern grads and sincere thanks to  Intern Sponsors: Akridge,  Blake Real Estate,  Brandywine Realty Trust,  COPT,  JBG SMITH,  MRP Real Estate Services Group,  Stream Realty Partners,  Tishman Speyer Properties. These companies provided expert, hands on training for the eight-week program.

On August 10, 2018, a program review was capped off with a brief ceremony and photo opp.  At press time, one hard-working intern, DC resident Cesar Urrutia-Quintanilla, has already accepted a position as a Maintenance Mechanic with Akridge. The AEF expects to place several other interns into industry positions within the next few months.

To follow up on this innovative pilot project, the Foundation will host a strategic planning meeting with Intern Sponsors in September. This discussion will focus on lessons learned, and various ways to enhance recruiting and selection protocols for 2019.

We plan to expand the program over the next few years.

Moving forward, the internship program will be even more successful through the coordination and collaboration of three primary groups:

Photo1Internship Sponsors

AOBA’s member companies are encouraged to participate in the program as “Sponsors.”  Sponsors will support the program by agreeing to host one or more interns for each internship period.

For the first year of the internship program, a limited number of Sponsors were selected from AOBA’s member companies who expressed an interest in participating.

As the program expands over time, we will increase the number of Sponsors that can participate.

In addition to the salary paid by the Sponsor to each intern, AOBA will charge a small fee (estimated at $1,400 per intern per year) to cover AOBA’s cost associated with the Internship Program.

Between the direct payroll costs paid to the intern and AOBA’s administrative costs, we estimate the internship will cost member firm:

  • Internship Fee to AOBA EF – $1,400
  • Payroll Cost to Interns ($15 per hour x 40 hours per week x 8 weeks) = $4,800
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), uniforms, etc. = $200

In total, Sponsors should expect the internship program to cost them $6,400 in direct costs.  Depending upon each firm’s human resources processes and internal overhead allocation, the Sponsor might also incur minimal expenses above and beyond the direct costs of the internship programs.

Internship Partners

Central to the internship initiative, we will identify a reliable pipeline of highly qualified candidates who are interested a career in the building trades.  For the first year of the program, we have intentionally limited the number of training programs that will work with us to develop a pipeline of candidates.  We will call these entities “Partners.”  Initially, we are working to establish a partnership with the following training programs as a way of introducing highly qualified internship candidates to the program:

  • Montgomery College
  • National Association of Power Engineers Educational Foundation (NAPEEF)
  • Prince George’s Community College

Depending upon the availability of these initial Partners, we may pursue other partnership opportunities, including:

  • AccessGreen | Green Pathway DC Program
  • Edison Academy (Edison High School in Alexandria)
  • Virginia Internship Apprenticeship Program
  • High schools (particularly vocational high schools) in the Washington, DC metro area
    • Edison High School – Montgomery County, Maryland


Although the scope might be expanded over time, in the first year, AOBA specifically targeted for the internship program high school and college students who are considering a career in the trades (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, maintenance, construction, etc.).  The ultimate goal is for these interns to pursue employment as building engineers in the near future – ideally with the Sponsor company that supported their internship.

For Summer 2018, Interns were selected to participate in the internship program following a competitive selection process.  Interns needed to provide basic demographic, academic, and work information through an online application “form.”  Based upon those initial submissions, candidates were evaluated by a selection committee, and (depending upon the number and quality of submissions) a select number of candidates were offered the opportunity to interview with a group made up of Sponsors and AOBA Education Foundation board members.  A group of Sponsors and AOBA Education Foundation board members then met to review each candidate’s file and to match up Sponsors and Interns.

Depending upon the Sponsor’s unique human resources practices, Interns were expected to pass a background check and/or a drug screen.  We communicated the additional screening requirements to the Interns as part of the application process.

The Internship Program

The Internship Program will operate in a cohort format – initially only in the summer.  Over time, depending upon a number of factors (including the availability of Sponsors, Interns, and funding), the program might be expanded to offer internships during other times of the year.  In addition, the program can also be expanded by increasing the number of Interns in each cohort or by running multiple cohorts (with staggered start dates) throughout the summer.

The 2018 internship program will operate for eight consecutive weeks – starting in mid-June and ending in mid-August.

The Sponsor and Intern are free to negotiate their own work schedule that meets the company’s business needs and matches the Intern’s availability.  Many Sponsors will choose to offer a standard 8-hour work day, Monday through Friday.  However, Sponsors might consider offering Interns the opportunity to work a flexible schedule (for example, four 10-hour days (Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday) to allow them to have three-day weekends).  Interns will be expected to notify their Sponsor (ideally during the application process) of any pre-existing vacation plans or scheduling conflicts that might interfere with the internship.

The timeline for the first year is summarized below (all dates for 2019 will be finalized in the spring of 2019):

March 31, 2018

Applications due on or before this date

April 5, 2018

Selection Committee reviews applications and identifies candidates who are eligible for interviews

April 9, 2018 – 13, 2018

AOBA Foundation notifies candidates of their status and schedules interviews with candidates who are selected for interviews

April 17, 2018

Interview Sessions #1

April 19, 2018

Interview Sessions #2

April 23, 2018

Interview Sessions #3 (if needed)

April 24, 2018

Matching Day – match Interns with Sponsors and assign locations

April 25 –  27, 2018

AOBA Foundation notifies candidates of outcomes

April 30, 2018

Conditional announcements sent to Interns and Sponsors.  Feedback to Partners about intern selection process.

April 30, 2018 – May 11, 2018

Secondary screening in accordance with each Sponsor’s HR process (interviews, background check, drug screen, etc.) – two weeks

May 14, 2018

Official announcements sent to Interns and Sponsors.  Feedback to Partners about intern selection process.

May 14, 2018

Begin weekly communique to Interns and Sponsors.

June 18, 2018

Internship program kick off – full day program at AOBA HQ

June 25, 2018

Weekly evaluations of Interns (by Sponsors) and Sponsors (by Interns) due for prior week

June 27, 2018

Training Session #1 – full day program at location TBD

July 2, 2018

Weekly evaluations of Interns (by Sponsors) and Sponsors (by Interns) due for prior week

July 9, 2018

Weekly evaluations of Interns (by Sponsors) and Sponsors (by Interns) due for prior week

July 11, 2018

Training Session #2 – full day program at location TBD

July 16, 2018

Weekly evaluations of Interns (by Sponsors) and Sponsors (by Interns) due for prior week

July 23, 2018

Weekly evaluations of Interns (by Sponsors) and Sponsors (by Interns) due for prior week

July 25, 2018

Training Session #3 – full day program at location TBD

July 25, 2018

Networking event – fun event at location TBD

July 30, 2018

Weekly evaluations of Interns (by Sponsors) and Sponsors (by Interns) due for prior week

August 6, 2018

Weekly evaluations of Interns (by Sponsors) and Sponsors (by Interns) due for prior week

August 10, 2018

Internship program conclusion and “graduation” – half-day program at AOBA HQ
Final evaluations of Interns (by Sponsors) and Sponsors (by Interns) due for prior week


Interns will be paid a flat rate of $15 per hour for the duration of the internship.  Interns will be aware that, depending upon the Sponsor’s business needs, he/she might have the option to (or be required to) work overtime.

The Sponsor will determine the uniform the intern is expected to wear during the internship program.  In addition, the Sponsor is expected to provide this uniform at no cost to the Intern.  The AOBA Educational Foundation intends to include an Internship Program polo shirt for Sponsors, Partners, and Interns.  This polo shirt will be the “uniform of the day” during the cohort-based programs (detailed below).

As a service to our Sponsors, AOBA will also gather information from Interns about when they expect to be seeking employment in the building engineering field, and we will maintain communication with each Intern – with the ultimate goal of connecting Interns who complete the program with potential employers.  In the interest of fairness – and as consideration for their support of the internship program – Sponsors will have the first opportunity to hire the Intern(s) who worked for that company.

In addition to the on-the-job training, interns will also participate in a series of cohort-based programs (approximately every other week) – each at a location to be determined.  The programs include:

  • Introduction
    • Welcome
    • Ice breaker activities
    • Program overview
      • Dress code, uniform, etc.
    • Lunch with Sponsors and Partners
    • Overview of commercial real estate industry and the Washington, DC market
    • Instruction on basic workplace expectations (how to be successful during the internship, business etiquette, professionalism, customer service, etc.)
    • Safety overview
    • How I got here – engineering success stories
  • Training Session 1
    • Team building activities
    • Proactive and reactive Maintenance
    • Business Success Strategies
    • Practical scenarios – What would you do?
    • Property tour
    • How I got here – engineering success stories
  • Training Session 2
    • Team building activities
    • Emergency Preparedness
    • Energy management/ conservation (BOMA BEEP and BRT overview)
    • Practical scenarios – What would you do?
    • Property tour
    • How I got here – engineering success stories
  • Training Session 3
    • Team building activities
    • Sustainability Programs
    • Practical scenarios – What would you do?
    • Property tour
    • How I got here – engineering success stories
    • Fun activity (scavenger hunt, bowling, etc.)
  • Final Program
    • How I got here – engineering success stories
    • Property Tour
    • Internship program feedback
    • Lunch with Sponsors and Partners
    • Graduation & Wrap Up


A comprehensive evaluation program is an important part of our Internship Program.

As detailed above, Interns will be provided with cohort-based training in basic workplace behavior and etiquette.  In addition, interns will also participate in whatever onboarding training that is required by the Sponsor that hires them.

It will be clearly communicated to Interns that failing to comply with the Sponsor’s policies and procedures and/or the Internship Program’s rules could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  If possible, the AOBA Educational Foundation will create a “waiting list” of candidates once all of the Internship Program’s slots have been filled.  Depending upon the timing of a termination, it might be an option to open a spot for one of the “wait listed” candidates.

Sponsors will be expected to track attendance and report attendance statistics at each on-site training session.

Throughout the Internship Program, we will also formally request feedback from Sponsors and Interns at roughly two-week intervals (to be returned just prior to the cohort-based training sessions) to allow for any concerns to be addressed as early as possible.

At the completion of the Internship Program, all constituencies will participate in a 360° feedback program that is designed to give reliable, accurate feedback to evaluate performance over the internship period.

More specifics on the Evaluation Process

  • The Intern will receive a performance evaluation from his/her Sponsor that will measure his/her performance against a list of standard expectations. We will use a common performance evaluation form, and a copy of the form will be shared with the intern and AOBA Educational Foundation on the last day of the program.
  • The Partners, Sponsors, and Interns will complete a formal survey to evaluate the success of the Internship Program. This feedback will be in a STOP (what do we need to STOP doing), START (what are we not doing that we need to START doing), and CONTINUE (what are we doing well and should continue doing).  It is likely this feedback will be gathered through a Survey Monkey-type survey, and the results will be shared with the AOBA Educational Foundation board of directors shortly after the results are tallied.
  • The AOBA Educational Foundation will also review the findings with each Partner and Sponsor – most likely in one-on-one meetings after the results are tallied.


To ensure the success – and eventual expansion – of the internship program, AOBA is prepared to provide a variety of resources to support the interns and the member companies, including:

  • An Internship Manual that will serve as a resource for both the member company (to help set up and manage the internship program) and for the intern (to provide information to support the intern’s learning and development).
  • An Internship Selection Criteria Matrix – to be used as a means of consistently evaluating internship candidates during the selection process
  • Intern evaluation forms (interim and final) that will allow interns to be consistently evaluated by Sponsors
  • Internship program feedback forms (interim and final) to allow us to evaluate the Internship Program from the perspective of our Partners, Sponsors, and Interns

Questions About Our Internship Program or Engineering Careers?  We Can Help! 

Contact Marie L. Tibor,