Georgia Ports prepares college students for the future


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Internship program gives participants an inside look at logistics industry

For more than a dozen college students, the nation’s single largest container port was their summer classroom. Several departments throughout the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) received extra assistance as 15 interns from 11 different schools participated in the 12-week program.  

“Our internship program has grown tremendously popular over the years,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Lise Altman. “It’s becoming more difficult to narrow down the field from the impressive pool of candidates we receive.”

The program equips students with real-world experience that can be used as they begin their careers. The interns worked in different departments, but they all had a common goal — to learn as much as possible about their field while receiving an inside look at one of the nation’s busiest container gateways.

“We are so proud of the interns who have been part of this program over the years,” said Manager of Learning and Development Tanya Chisholm. “Each year, the GPA is impressed with students’ initiative, innovative ideas and their willingness to fully engage in the process.”

Trade Development intern Will Mathison participated in sales calls with port customers and saw how GPA gains shipping line services.

“It’s been unique because they’re not just selling a thing, they are selling a service which is really cool,” Mathison said. “The port’s service supports businesses and consumers around the globe as well as across the state of Georgia.”

The program pairs students with experienced GPA employees who oversee their daily responsibilities and guide them through a final group project. Students from different departments collaborate to illustrate a concept that could potentially improve overall operations. Projects this summer included an internal newsletter concept, an operational radio station and virtual sales tools.

Completing these projects ensure the interns not only make a measurable contribution to GPA, but that they have an accomplishment to take with them and show to potential employers.

“GPA takes great pride in providing a unique experience for our interns,” said Assistant Manager of Human Resources Tiphani Lee. “This program gives students the tools they need to succeed later in life.”

While many interns made their mark within GPA, Government Relations intern Caroline Cole made her mark on the community as well. Cole met with residents of Garden City, as well as local and state-elected officials, to find out how GPA can better serve the communities that surround its terminals.

“It’s been neat to see the positive impact the ports have on not only the people that live near them, but also on people who live far away,” Cole said.

The program aims to give students a glimpse into their chosen career paths, something for which Corporate Communications intern Sara Camuso was grateful.

“The most valuable lesson I learned was how to interact in a corporate setting, along with how the ports work in general,” Camuso said. “They are the powerhouses of moving commerce through Georgia, and it is fascinating to see it happen in person here every day. It also helps you appreciate how all your everyday goods move to store shelves.”

The fast-paced activity at Georgia’s ports offers a one-of-a-kind learning environment for internship participants, one that helps prepare them for post-graduate life. The concepts developed by interns have also left an impression long after the program concludes.

“The amazing diversity and talent of our internship program brings so much to GPA,” Altman said. “The ideas from these future leaders have been implemented throughout our organization.”

For more information on GPA’s summer internship program, visit