Internships Deliver a Fresh Perspective and Insights to Manufacturing Companies
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Should you invest time and effort hiring interns? While you may be sold on the value of helping a promising college student gain real world experience – and hopefully getting some work done along the way, there is a much more profound reason to consider an internship program at your company.

Interns inject new ideas and perspectives into established workflows. They also prompt companies to reassess and enrich their corporate culture. The symbiotic relationship between interns and companies fosters an environment of growth, innovation, and diversity.

Two OMEP clients, Streimer and Summit Truck Body, illustrate just how impactful interns can be.

Streimer Gains Efficiencies with Intern George Riera

George Riera, a Portland State University student and general go-getter, is a testament to the impact of a well-structured internship. Although he had finished his junior year of college and had much of the experience needed for the job, he lacked confidence. 

Tasked with designing a fixture to lift machinery, George navigated the entire design process under the guidance and mentorship of Streimer’s manufacturing engineering team. The result was a successful product that can be deployed in the field to help deliver on jobs throughout the area.

Here are a few key takeaways: 

  • The Streimer team maximized their benefits with a project that was well-defined with deliverables, metrics, and a budget.  
  • George learned that slower is sometimes faster. He came into the internship having a brief description of the project and had spent a great deal of time coming up with big ideas. He dove in full speed ahead. He learned that he needed to slow down and get more information and talk to others before coming up with concepts. He learned how to prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and create schedules.
  • He also learned the importance of tolerancing. He jokingly said he started by ‘measuring once and swearing twice.’ His mistakes on measurements created rework, waste, and cost to the company, and this was a big learning to double check measurements and his work before it’s manufactured.

The project was multifaceted and he was able to pull from his knowledge as well as learn on the job. He said it was fun to bring together the education and hands-on learning. He gained confidence in his abilities. 

After the internship, OMEP was asked to help Streimer create an Internship Guide to use as they bring in more interns in other parts of the company. They see this is a great opportunity to introduce students to manufacturing and give them industry work experience.  

Summit Truck Body Freshens Up their Social with Intern Maria Prestidge

University of Oregon student Maria Prestidge’s tenure at Summit was marked by her significant contributions to their marketing. 

Maria Prestidge worked on marketing videos and collateral for Summit’s website and socials, and came up with content that was fresher and more attention-getting with the younger audience they were targeting.  As a result, they gained more and different applicants in their job pool. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Maria added to the diversity of the company. She was young, college educated, and demographically different from the type of person they typically hire. This was a decidedly significant benefit to Summit.
  • As was Streimer, Summit Truck Body was prepared. Their goal was to make the internship a good learning experience so they spent some time setting expectations, thinking about ways to give the intern exposure to interesting projects, and incorporated them into the culture rapidly.
  • The end result was they got the best work and engagement from Maria, and after the initial internship, Summit hired Maria part-time until she returned to the University of Oregon this Fall.

OMEP Can Help you Set the Stage for Interns and Employees that Will Pay Dividends for Years

The benefits go far beyond what the interns bring to the table. The preparation and specification of employees roles and responsibilities is exactly what we advocate that companies do to get engaged workers who understand their contributions. 

  • Creative Contributions: Interns bring fresh ideas that resonate with diverse audiences.
  • Enhanced Company Culture: The presence of interns encourages companies to reassess and improve their corporate culture, making it more inclusive and dynamic. It’s easy to say you’re going to revamp your culture. But when you’re entrusted with a young person and want to give them a good experience, it creates more urgency.
  • Mentorship and Growth: The interns benefited from the mentorship they received. The experience also contributed to the personal and professional growth of their mentors and teams.
  • Long-Term Impact: The experiences and relationships formed during the internships have lasting effects, both for the interns’ career prospects and the companies’ approach to talent and diversity.

Interns like George and Maria augment our capacity and challenge us to think differently. Both companies came away with a broadened idea of the type of people who may be a good fit for their company culture, as well as contributing fresh ideas and perspectives. 

Interested in learning more about the benefits of creating an internship program? 

Request your no-cost assessment today.

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  • Tami Trout

    Tami Trout has more than 20 years of experience managing people and projects, developing and facilitating training programs, hiring talent, optimizing business processes and operations, and creating and executing strategic employee communications. Although she has consulted with clients in a variety of sectors, including health care, environmental engineering, professional sports, government, and non-profits, her primary clients have been family-owned and closely-held manufacturers. She works with companies to maximize organizational success and profitability by developing effective human resources systems, workforce hiring and development, and performance management.

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  • Justin Gradek

    As OMEP's Senior Consultant, Justin Gradek is responsible for helping manufacturers make technology work for their businesses. Whether navigating the modern threats of cybersecurity with clients, implementing ERP systems, or assisting with industrial automation upgrades, Justin applies the lean philosophy of waste reduction to increase capacity on his projects. With a background in lean manufacturing, Justin has experience analyzing systems and business processes within many types of organizations. He brings his analysis skillset to all client work, drawing on his dual master's degrees in economics and international relations. Before accepting the position at OMEP, Justin was a Process Improvement Engineer at Moventas Inc., a Portland-based manufacturer of Wind Turbine Gearboxes, as well as a Project Lead at Ikerd Consulting. Additionally, Justin spent several years in Washington D.C. as a policy analyst.

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