WIRE-Net continues to hear about the critical workforce challenges that Northeast Ohio manufacturers are experiencing and the questions they have around how to be more innovative and effective with talent management. One of the ways that WIRE-Net is assisting to bridge this gap and meet manufacturers needs is by offering internship opportunities to high-schoolers at Max S. Hayes High School and Parma Senior High.
Since its inception in 2013, the WIRE-Net youth internship program has provided a steady and sustainable pipeline of permanent employees to participating companies and provided students with real-world experience to learn skills required for jobs and careers in the manufacturing industry. As part of the program, all students who participate complete an eligibility process that focuses on attendance, academic status, as well as professional and technical skills. Throughout the process students receive continuous support and feedback from WIRE-Net, career pathway teachers, and participating companies—a critical part of the program that students said they really value, and that helps them to orient and progress successfully.
During the 2017-18 school year, 16 welding, machining, and manufacturing design students (11th and 12th grade) participated in the program. At the conclusion of the school year, eight of these students had been offered and hired for permanent employment at their internship company. For some of these students this was their first-time in a work based experience , so the resources and support the students received throughout the experience was important. We received feedback at the conclusion of the program that the students liked the chance to apply the skills they learned in the classroom to real work environments—which we could tell helped the students see their value and made them eager to learn and grow.
Here at WIRE-Net we feel internships are a win-win solution to the workforce challenge manufacturers in Northeast Ohio face. On the company side, students bring fresh perspective and new ideas, leadership opportunities for current employees, workload assistance, and a potential future permanent employee. For students, internships provide an opportunity to connect what they are learning at school in a manufacturing environment, grow their skills, get experience, and find a possible permanent place of employment.
Meet This Year’s Interns
Michael Santana, a 12th grade welding student was interested in pursuing an internship to prepare him for entering the welding industry. Voss Industries located in close proximity to Max S. Hayes High School actively seeks students for internship and permanent opportunities. With the support of WIRE-Net, Michael was offered an internship opportunity in their spot welding department during the summer after his junior year that extended through his senior year. While in his internship, he gained practical experience with learning the department, professional skills (especially time management and prioritization), and positioned himself for a career path at Voss Industries. Michael was offered a permanent position in May when he successfully completed his internship. Voss is planning to transition Michael to the welding department to train under the welding supervisor, so he can continue to pursue his passion for welding.
Ricky Vinson, a manufacturing design student, shined in his internship at General Steel Company showcasing his 3D nesting software abilities. “General Steel has good communication with their employees and their customers. They were supportive during my internship and helped me learn valuable skills,” said Ricky. Hey will continue his position at General Steel Company and plans to pursue Cuyahoga Community College in the fall.
Melin Tool Company, Inc. offered machining student, Josh Barfield, a permanent position in their milling department when he graduated in May at the completion of his internship. Josh will be working directly with one of the lead machinists who is a 2017 Max S. Hayes high school alumnus and machining student.
Thanks to generous funding from ArcelorMittal, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Lozick Foundation, and Parma City Schools WIRE-Net’s internship program is helping to develop a pipeline of talent for Northeast Ohio’s Manufacturing Companies.
Interested in learning how you can host an intern at your company? Want to offer financial support for WIRE-Net’s workforce development programs? Contact Brianna Schultz, Vice President, Workforce Development at 216-920-1967.
For 30 years WIRE-Net has been a leading force to strengthen manufacturing in Greater Cleveland. We provide leading edge expertise and resources that proactively assist manufacturers in understanding and adapting to fast changing trends technology, talent, and organizational leadership. WIRE-Net connects leaders to each other and engages them in their communities. We lead, we connect, we partner.