Specialty Equipment Market Association
Find your future in the automotive aftermarket
Career Windows Internship Program
SEMA’s Career Windows program is not your typical internship. Through its unique structure of department visits, students gain a big-picture view of the automotive industry and exposure to the variety of career options within a particular company. While not a traditional job training program, companies have the opportunity to invest in the next generation of automotive industry leaders by offering a tailored work experience for one, two or three weeks at a time.
Guidelines & Policies
As a Career Windows host, your role is to provide the structure, goals and experience for the student. As you guide the process, you ensure that the goals and expectations of both the student and your own team are met. SEMA has put together a few resources to help your company launch its own successful Career Windows program. Here are a few tips to get you started.
The following guidelines are intended to provide a framework for your program.
Create a job description that outlines the expectations and objectives of the program.
- The description provides a framework for students to learn about your company and affirms the value of the work they will do. Having specific projects for students to complete in each department is an excellent way for them to develop career-related competencies while contributing to your organization.
Connect the experience to learning.
- The program should foster professional development with an opportunity for students to practice career-related skills that are transferable across organizations. Important components include exploration of organizational structure, engaging with a variety of professionals and receiving insight into critical job skills.
Designate a supervisor/professional mentor for your student.
- Effective supervision is the foundation for a successful program. Setting clear expectations, engaging in regular follow-up and providing feedback are essential components of a great experience for both student and host. Due to the educational nature of internships, employers provide a greater level of supervision to interns than to employees.
Would you like to host a Career Windows program?
Guidelines & Policies
Throughout your time with an organization, you will be coached by a variety of team members, helping you better understand the positions that make up a company. While not every department and job function will be up your alley, it’s important to have an understanding of how each part works together to further the mission of the company. It’s up to you to make the most of your experience, but the following guidelines are the basic expectations for student participants.
The following guidelines can serve as a set of expectations for you during your internship.
Read and follow the policies of the employer manual or handbook.
- Follow the employer dress code and the mentor's expectations for professionalism.
Be on time and dependable.
- Stay beyond the stated work day if requested. Students should attend every day unless they are ill or have an emergency. Provide adequate advance notice of any time off, in keeping with the employer's policies.
Take the initiative.
- Ask questions, seek out resources and invite feedback. If you are confused or want to know why your mentor does something a certain way, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Use this time to explore your own strengths and opportunities for growth.
Meet Project Deadlines.
- Communicate concerns and challenges as they occur.
- Plans, projects and programs may change. Embrace change and be prepared to assist where needed.
“Career Windows opened my eyes!”
"This internship is different from a classic internship, and because it is, there are unique positives. To start, this internship rarely gets boring. Many of my friends tell me that they stuff envelopes for eight hours a day, five days a week and maybe learn something for 30 minutes. During this internship, most of my time was learning. When I did do smaller, more tedious tasks, I was aware of the purpose and I felt like I was really benefiting the team." - Ian Moon
“It was three weeks long, but I felt like I gained 10 weeks worth of experience!”
"...this internship gives great exposure to so many different areas of a company that you don't need to know what you want to do in order to do this - and many students in their first or second year don't know. In addition, this internship program was well structured and organized so that it provided lots of meeting with heads to gain a sense of the bigger picture and days with the employees to understand what it takes to achieve the bigger picture. Finally, this internship allows you to have a balanced summer. It was three weeks long, but I felt like I gained 10 weeks worth of experience. Now, I have time to do other things in the summer that I wanted to do. " - Ian Moon