Internships provide on-the-job experience
South Harrison Community School Corp. students with minds for manufacturing or engineering have the opportunity to get on-the-job experience with local employers through the corporation’s summer internship program.
Jeremy Ledford, program coordinator and advanced manufacturing and logistics teacher at South Central Junior-Senior High School, said the internships are a great way for students to experience manufacturing jobs and find out what they might like to do for their careers.
Offered through a partnership with Conexus Indiana, a nonprofit that helps forge collaborations with manufacturing and logistics companies, the program started in 2017 with two interns and two employers.
Now, it has grown to facilitate nine interns from Corydon Central and South Central high schools this year working with Fred Smith Store Fixtures, Jasper Engines, Howard Packaging, Lucas Oil Products, Inc. and Diverse Woodworking.
‘We are always looking for more companies to partner with, but the five companies we work with are phenomenal,’ Ledford said.
The internships are full time and last for six weeks, though Ledford said students can follow that up with employment through the school year if the company offers it.
Preston Hedden is one of the students who will continue working with his internship provider through this semester. He interned with Jasper Engines at their plant in Carefree during the summer and now participates in a work-based learning program there while finishing his last year of high school.
‘I was put on a two-week rotation schedule (in the summer),’ Hedden said, meaning he got a taste of many of the plant’s various departments, including gauging, incoming inspection, gas engines, transmissions and quality control.
He said his favorite position was the latter, as he enjoyed touring the plant with quality captains and conducting reviews.
‘It was a lot of fun solving the problems that people called in with,’ Hedden said.
He said the internship provided a fun learning and networking opportunity for him.
‘It was a great experience, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in manufacturing or engineering,’ he said.
Ledford said the hiring process is competitive because students from other area schools can vie for the same jobs. Conexus mandates that internship providers pay at least $9 an hour, but Ledford said some students have been paid above that rate.
Conexus requires interns to be 16 or older, and they must meet attendance and GPA requirements.
Another requirement for prospective interns is that they must be enrolled or have taken a career and technical education class with either Ledford or Ben Spencer, industrial arts teacher at Corydon Central.
‘These companies could go through any other schools, but they choose to work with kids here in the community,’ Ledford said.
Dr. Mark Eastridge, superintendent of South Harrison Community School Corp., said he is proud of the corporation’s students who are exploring different careers. He also said he’s happy the employers are treating them just like other employees and not just sticking them with grunt work.
‘I was so impressed by the things they had the kids doing,’ Eastridge said.
Students and employers can read more about Conexus Indiana’s internship opportunities online at https://www.conexusindiana.com/talent-initiatives/conexus-interns/.