Summer associates at American Home Shield answer phones and assist with purchasing orders; working at the Carroll facility are (clockwise, from left) Sara Sparks, Spencer Morabito, Noelle Troutman, Derrie Ridgley, Hannah Rowedder and Paige Schlichte.
Summer associates at American Home Shield answer phones and assist with purchasing orders; working at the Carroll facility are (clockwise, from left) Sara Sparks, Spencer Morabito, Noelle Troutman, Derrie Ridgley, Hannah Rowedder and Paige Schlichte.

June 29, 2017

American Home Shield, one of Carroll’s largest employers, is enhancing the college internship process by offering not only resume-building experience, but an income to students.

Beginning in 2016, American Home Shield began a “summer associates” program where students (or really anyone) looking for a steady job can work either in-house or remotely for AHS to earn leadership skills while working towards their degree or holding down a second job.

This summer, AHS has seven individuals working as summer associates. Two have come back to help in the office with phone support, while the remaining five are working remotely.

“It is a way that we can be flexible with them,” said Amy Platt, human resources manager at AHS.” If you think about it, a lot of times as people go off to college or go on to school, or if they’re teachers, they have a lease. This gives them the opportunity to stay there where they have a lease, but they can still have a job with us.”

Haley Stork, a senior majoring in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State University, was a good candidate for this job. For the past three years, she has been with AHS, where she began working with the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment team. She began this position during the midst of a sweltering summer season. She was originally supposed to be part of the AHS team for the summer, but stuck around and now “floats” for the company, helping with appliances and parts orders in addition to HVAC equipment.

Stork has many friends who spent their summers working temporarily for AHS and recommended the job to her while she was home from school. When she first began to work for AHS, the summer temp-HBA (home based agents) program did not exist, but the second summer, AHS took a chance, and sent Stork and other students back to school with work laptops, to not only keep them up-to-date on their work skills, but to also continue benefitting the company. AHS merged the summer associate program and HBA position to create the job that Stork has now.

By remaining a hard-working employee at AHS, Stork has gained leadership experience. Last summer, she was able to be the point of contact for the summer associates program because of her years of experience with the company, giving her another resume builder.  

“I haven’t heard of another company willing to work with college students to benefit their department the way (purchasing supervisors) Karla Brown, Karen Derner and (purchasing manager) Justin Yetmar have,” Stork said.

“It’s not always easy. There are challenges, constantly changing schedules, making communication between us and our supervisors very important. But even though the AHS HBA college program is only a few years old, it continues to evolve with new batches of summer temps each year. I’m proud to be a part of the team since it started.”

Associates for the AHS laptop program create their own work schedules, and as long as they work the hours they say they will, they keep their laptops and remain part of the AHS company indefinitely.

For AHS, they hope to expose the summer associates to the various parts of their business, so they know their are many options in the AHS workforce after they finish their degree. AHS believes it is a win-win for both the company and the students who not only aid AHS with flexible and odd hours, but also preserve their skills while growing their resumes.

Stork credits AHS with many of her professional work accomplishments such as interpersonal and communication skills, and finding a balance in her life through time management. AHS officials believe that this program is just getting started and will continue to see students like Stork gain experience while earning a living and benefiting AHS as it continues to expand.