Murphy USA’s Wayne Hashimoto is hoping to keep local talent in El Dorado with a paid Technology Services Summer Internship Program for local undergraduate students that he has been building at the company.
Hashimoto, who is part of the HR Information Systems team and Technology Services department of MUSA, originally started the internship program in 2018 as a way to pay it forward and show appreciation to the company that gave him a shot, he said.
“One of the things that I’ve noticed is we have a lot of great talent locally,” Hashimoto said. “I don’t think people realize how much of that talent is there. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great young people in the local area, and I thought to myself, ‘I don’t understand why we can’t do more for them.’”
Up until recently, Census data showed that after graduating from college, young adults that grew up in more rural settings tended to start their post-grad life in cities or metropolitan areas. But according to recent reporting from BusinessInsider, the rising costs of living, stagnant wages and salaries, along with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in cities, has caused a lot more of these young adults to begin fleeing from cities and relocating back to more rural areas.
This latest research could prove golden for Hashimoto and MUSA given that they want to entice local college grads to stay. It is also helpful that MUSA is a Fortune 500 company, something a lot of other rural towns don’t have.
“Our intent is to sell the interns the company brand and show them who we really are,” Hashimoto said. “A lot of people hear about us on the outside from rumblings or second-hand knowledge.”
To help sell MUSA to potential local interns, Hashimoto has decided to employ a strategy he experienced when he was an intern starting out at Walmart.
“Walmart culture was really difficult to explain unless you actually lived it,” he said. “So my approach is the same. Find good local talent with family ties in the area who are looking to do something to further their professional life and add value to their professional career by selling them our company brand.”
Since 2018, when the program started out with just one intern, Hashimoto has been able to grow it in size so the company will have close to 10 interns across different departments within. Some of those areas include business analysis, programming, development, infrastructure systems, data support, business architecture and cyber security.
Traditionally, interns at large companies have been known for doing coffee runs, making copies and doing other miscellaneous tasks for higher ups; however, Hashimoto emphasized the importance of not treating MUSA interns in this manner and instead viewing them as a true extension of the company.
“We do not allow our interns to make copies, run for coffee, pick up lunch or pick up laundry; they actually have true jobs and tasks they have to complete,” Hashimoto said. “In fact, at the end of the internship, they have a capstone presentation where they get to talk to our leadership and provide honest feedback on their experience and what they think we can improve on as a company. These students work really hard, and I know I would take it as an insult on my intelligence if someone made me do those menial tasks when I was an intern. So I’m really serious about that not being the experience of our interns here.”
To help build connections with local talent and students, Hashimoto has been relationship-building with local schools, colleges and universities.
“I attend a lot of career days at schools,” he said. “ I’ve attended career days at SAU (Southern Arkansas University) and LA Tech (Louisiana Tech University). I’m on the advisory committee at SouthArk. I also communicate with the people at El Dorado Promise. Eventually, we will expand even further.”
Kristen Gage, who is the Talent Acquisition Manager at MUSA, talked about the importance of Hashimoto’s efforts and having a program like this at the company.
“This program is such a testament to all the hard work he has been putting in,” Gage said. “It is also a testament to how important it is to develop local talent and keep our talent here. Historically, MUSA has not had an internship program, and there is a lot of local talent we haven’t been tapping into. So this program allows us to do that, while providing these students with valuable experience and creating a pipeline of students that could potentially come on full time with us after they graduate.”
“We want them to come with a good work ethic, we’re going to select the ones with a good work ethic. We don’t care about experience because we don’t expect interns to have experience other than life experience. We’re going to look at what classes they’ve been taking and how they present themselves,” Wayne Hashimoto concluded.
MUSA is currently accepting intern applications for this summer. For more information or to apply, visit jobs.murphyusa.com.