In a recent study completed by the Manufacturing Institute, over 80% of manufacturing companies’ stated that they could not find skilled employees to fill their production jobs. The best solution for this problem included an internship certification system to help individuals earn college credit while learning basic skills for their future jobs. This program gives students a better chance at immediate employment after graduation, due to on the job training for entry level positions.
At EPIC Systems, Inc., we have the same philosophy as the Manufacturing Institute. EPIC believes that it is important for companies to present opportunities for students to gain experience before entering the workforce. If you believe applicants should have experience before they apply, you must provide a means to earn it. That is why EPIC hires college interns for the summer. College students have joined EPIC this summer to work alongside experienced engineers on design/ build projects.
Obtaining an internship while you are in school can establish relationships with an employer, and gain real world knowledge that will put you above your peers. “Getting to know the people you are working for, and taking advantage of the knowledge of the more experienced employees during an internship, helped me to land my first job at Loren Cook Company”, says Nichols, whose internship was at the same company. “Most CAD jobs require 2-5 years of experience. How can you get that before you have a job? Through my internship, I was able to get on-the-job training before I had to interview for the full-time position”
“An internship is basically a ‘try before you buy’ scenario for a company” Schott says. It works for both the company and the intern. From a company’s perspective it is a cost effective alternative for the company. “Interns can take smaller jobs that our senior engineers otherwise would have taken, this way I have my senior engineers working on bigger jobs,” explains Schott.”
EPIC believes that internships hold the key to better candidates for manufacturing and technical engineering jobs. American manufacturing cannot move forward unless we address the current skills gap between college graduates and skilled positions. The internships and co-ops offered need to increase in both quantity and quality. Positions where students have the same responsibilities they would have in a full-time position are of the most value.
“When we have interns at EPIC, we give them as much responsibility as possible, with guidance from experienced project managers. An internship should be valuable for both the intern and the company. If the internship is successful, we want to be able to hire that intern as a full-time employee when they complete their degree” Schott said.