Regency Centers develops thriving shopping centers but they also help today’s students grow into tomorrow’s industry leaders through internship programs.
By building strategic partnerships with accredited universities, Regency delivers real-world experience to students in their final years of academia. With its philanthropic roots, the internship programs provide an alternate approach to connecting to communities while integrating Regency’s corporate culture.
Paving the way is Regency’s legal department’s partnership with Jacksonville’s Florida Coastal School of Law. For the last three years, the Externship Program selects one student per semester to support Regency’s litigation, leasing, records retention and General Counsel functions.
“We began participating in the Externship Program in 2011 and have been a consistent supporter of law school externships since then,” said Barbara Johnston, Regency’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Through our program, law students get to experience the workings of an in-house law department at a major public company.”
Externs assist attorneys and paralegals with research and analysis relating to shopping center development and operations, litigation resolution and compliance. They may also participate in team meetings, functions, webinars and property tours.
“This practical experience vastly differs from the academic training they’re receiving in school and will help them become better practitioners upon graduation. Because of our five-year involvement in the program, Regency now enjoys an excellent reputation with the law school and among law school students, which results in a top applicant pool each semester,” Barbara explains.
In its inaugural year, the IT Career Experience Practicum was designed to offer an extensive 18-week program to six University of North Florida (UNF) students, exploring a broad range of IT duties.
The program consists of three six-week rotations where students learn about business systems, application development/analytics platform and technology systems. Assignments provide students a hands-on approach in a professional setting with internal IT staff members’ guidance.
2016 IT Practicum Interns (left to right): Michael Katzmayr, John Bachusz, Frank Hassell and Khue Nguyen
“I work with a group of IT leaders in the Jacksonville area,” explained Dale Johnston, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer for Regency. “Many struggle to fill job vacancies for skilled technology positions and other STEM fields. Jacksonville is fortunate to have universities that produce talented individuals, however, there is an experience gap in filling many of the open positions," Dale continued.
Upon completion of the internship programs, students receive approved college credits. The programs also help students decide career paths with the corporate knowledge gained.
"We believe working at Regency allows students to see their future career potential and tailor their remaining education, all while gaining critical work experience,” explained Dale.
Regency’s training programs are becoming benchmarks for companies outside of the commercial real estate industry. In February, the IT Career Experience Practicum was highlighted at UNF’s CCEC (College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction) Employer Showcase, where 110 employers attended to recruit graduating students and any alumni interested in full-time jobs and internships.
"We've created an important awareness of our company in the community," Dale told the Jacksonville Business Journal, adding that Regency is a relatively small company. "We've been identified as a community member by doing this."