I often tell the story of sitting in a FIERF board meeting and hearing presidents and CEOs of influential forging companies say that the reason they chose a career in the forging industry was because of an internship. Thank goodness for those internships! If not for the opportunity to work inside a forge or steel plant during college, those leaders would likely be using their talents elsewhere instead of in the forging industry.
So, as Kyle Rackers puts it in the sidebar, “Help a student, yourself and the industry … hire an intern!” A thoughtfully designed program can bring value to your organization by providing ROI (Return on Intern). Interns offer the assistance necessary to complete projects that full-time staff is not able to fit into their already busy schedules; they help identify high-caliber candidates for future openings; and they bring new and fresh perspectives into your organization.
One of the most common mistakes made by companies searching for summer interns is waiting too late to start the process. Many of the students we are connected to through Finkl Scholarships or FIERF Magnet Schools will have accepted offers for summer internships by March.
After determining the type of student that will best fit your organization, contact FIERF for information on Finkl Scholarship and Magnet School students interested in internships. The Forging Career Center, local professors or university placement offices with whom you work can advertise openings for the summer. Magnet School professors are an excellent resource and may know students from your area who are looking for summer positions.
Among the tips outlined in “How to Organize a Successful Internship Program,” which is available on www.forging.org, are the following:
• Determine what projects you will assign the intern and at what rate you will pay them
• Provide a mentor
• Treat the intern as an employee. Be explicit when it comes to safety issues, work schedules, lunch breaks, computer use and day-to-day details. This is often the first time students have worked in an industrial facility, so these issues need to be stated rather than assuming the student already knows them.
• Provide guidance and supervision
• Set up periodic meetings to give them mini performance reviews and establish expectations
• Have interns report their project activity to company staff managers and provide feedback
If you have an internship program in place, please share your experiences. If you’re interested in learning more about starting a program or where to find interested students, contact the Foundation Office at 216-781-6260.
The Intern Experience
Here are some helpful comments from Kyle Rackers of Scot Forge Co.
“The benefits of an internship are not always as apparent as getting a new worker bee for the summer. Each intern learns about your company and spreads the word to their peers. They become a reference for future business and technical questions. When the right match comes along, the internship acts as a working interview, making sure both parties are going to be happy working together in the future. Internships are a must for any industry. They help perpetuate education of manufacturing, build relationships and support a hungry college student for a summer. I am happy to see the internship program here at Scot Forge thriving. Help a student, yourself and the industry. Hire an intern!”