High School Interns at Applied Engineering
The Yankton High School Internship Program is nearing the completion of its second semester. High school seniors have had the opportunity to work for area employers and receive credit through the new internship program.
Alex, Machining Manager at Applied Engineering, explores some of the advantages they have seen from having two interns each semester. “It’s always promising to get into the high schools and create interest in manufacturing as a whole, not to mention what we specifically do in aerospace and military defense. Many people come into this building and say, ‘Wow, I never knew this was here!’”
"To get into high schools and spread that word, and gain some interest is always nice while building the workforce of the future," Alex explains. "There’s a lot of stigma around two-year schools and trade schools, but I think being a part of this internship program helps break that stigma.”
Alex continues, “They benefit us just from the production standpoint. That’s the basics, but even the other employees support it and are happy that we’re in the high schools in the community. We want to give the interns the best chance to succeed.”
Laura is the Controller at Applied Engineering and works with their IT intern, “I see him asking a lot of questions that are valid for what he’s doing and really wanting to be more involved. He’s inquisitive about the learning, and the process, and getting engaged with the manufacturing side of it.” She says that Applied Engineering using lots of computers and advanced technologies. “Everything we do here involves computers - the machines run on computers - so the IT, even though it’s administrative, is still part of the manufacturing experience.”
The students have enjoyed the experience as well. “It has helped me determine that IT is definitely a potential career for me,” shares high-schooler, Christian, “My experience with the internship has been positive so far. It has opened my eyes to what manufacturing can offer.”
Fellow intern, Riley echoes the sentiment, “it helps you get more of an idea of what you want to do and will help you figure out what you want to do later on. My experience with the internship is very helpful to me. I also love learning how to do new things, so this was a great thing for me to do.”
Alex has a few words of advice for other employers considering whether they should take interns. “The biggest requirement is having structure, you’re not dealing with a lot of work history or experience. If you think about the interns’ everyday lives, they’re still pretty structured. Try to mimic that or play to that in their training. I would say that the structure is important to them. I really cannot put enough emphasis on who you have them training with and working with. The engagement level of that person will make or break their experience.”
Laura emphasized the importance of the internships for helping students understand manufacturing, “I think that manufacturing is not glorified enough. It is the life source of this country and this community, and I don’t think that kids think about being successful and having a career in manufacturing.” Through their internships, students are realizing that they can have fulfilling careers in manufacturing, and have an advantage as they plan their futures.