Mack just ‘graduated’ another successful class of 14 college interns, who have now swapped employee badges for textbooks to resume their studies.
The class of 2013 included Brittanie Bradley, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY; Brett Bushee, Vermont Technical College, Randolph, VT; Britney Coley, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY; Alexander Cooley, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY; Hilary Fox, Elmira College, Elmira, NY; Brendan Gleason, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Alex Goyette, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY; Dustin Harrington, Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Albany, NY; Joseph Keefe, Elon University, Elon, NC; Shay Mattison, Castleton State College, Castleton, VT; Libby Nunnikhoven, Bentley University, Waltham, MA; Adam Podolec, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY; Asa Rogers, University of Vermont, Burlington; and Kristen Somple, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Their majors ranged from engineering, biology and physics to architecture, nursing and pharmacology.
As in the past, each intern returned to school with a completed project in hand to add to resumes and discuss with potential employers. Examples include validating software systems, creating a visual tool for sales revenue vs. forecast comparisons, and supporting implementation of specific manufacturing tasks for a key customer. Students were trained to use software and other equipment necessary to complete their projects. Additionally, Mack hosted several ‘Lunch & Learns’ that included visits to other Mack facilities, skill-building sessions, and student presentations on completed projects.
“It’s a win-win program on many levels,” says Jeff Somple, president, Mack’s Northern Operations. “Students have the opportunity to participate in valid summer internships while living at home. They learn about technical and engineering opportunities right here in the Northeast. And we develop a pipeline of future talent.”
Now that the college program is firmly established, Mack is extending its reach into area high schools. During October, some 90 students will visit Mack for ‘Made in Vermont’ days, a manufacturing careers workshop designed to showcase modern manufacturing and some of the products made here. They will learn about Mack’s menu of services by touring the f’real frozen beverage blender line, where virtually all services are rendered.
VMEC (Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center) officials, Dan Shea and Ken Walker, will then take them through a hands-on product-building exercise so they can better understand some of the complexities involved in full-scale manufacturing.
The Human Resources department will tie it all together with a session on the skills needed in manufacturing, whether pursuing a college-oriented engineering track or a post-high school technical track, and relative career paths at Mack.
“We hope this initial effort will open the door to other projects with area schools,” says Somple. “We will have a sign-up board in case any students want to return for some one-on-one or small group sessions in specific departments. Hopefully, this will pave the way for prospective college interns and, possibly, future employees.”