Over the past few years, Mack Molding has developed a summer internship program that is unique when compared to average internship programs. Between 10 and 15 students with various backgrounds of study are hired to work in different departments at Mack Molding’s headquarters in Arlington, VT. So what’s unique? Each intern is assigned a specific project to complete by the end of the summer, which they then present to the other interns and Mack senior management. On completion, the students leave with a tangible project in hand that they completed from start to finish, and can show to prospective employers.
For many of the interns, Mack’s distinctive internship program is what made them decide to stay in Vermont for the summer instead of obtaining internships near their colleges or in other cities. “With the intern program, we try to expose Vermont’s brightest to careers right here at home that are fun, exciting and part of a growing industry,” says Jeff Somple, president of Mack Molding’s Northern Operations. “We’re building a lot of interesting products across several markets…we’re trying to get that word out to the future generation of workers, and it’s succeeding. We’ve had 11 interns from colleges all over the country each of the last two summers, and three have now come back to Mack as full-time employees, all in different disciplines.”
In addition to completing the assigned projects, the interns also take part in “Lunch ‘n Learn” sessions, in which senior staff members present various aspects of the business, including tours of headquarters and other Mack plants.
While many might assume that only students studying engineering and related fields would be considered respectable candidates for the internship program, the opposite is true. This summer’s interns include students majoring in architecture, occupational health and safety, foreign languages, and biology, among others. “This internship is the best job I’ve ever had. I am learning more than I can say and I genuinely enjoy the people I work with,” says Brittanie Bradley, a junior studying architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Trevor Derby, a junior at Clarkson University studying electrical engineering, says, “So far, this internship has been very beneficial. I am gaining experience in a wide range of areas and I think the program is a great idea.”
Overall, the interns are more than pleased with the program. “My favorite part is that they give you an actual project that you’re responsible for completing and then presenting to staff,” says Kristen Somple, a student at Harvard. “The advantages of this type of program are evident. The program itself is very well-structured and every intern truly gains something.”
– Rebecca Marie Murphy is a Communications Intern from The University of Vermont