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MC Assembly is helping CareerSource Brevard (CSB) and the City of Palm Bay expand their "Juniors to Jobs" (J2J) high school work readiness program internship options. This year, the program has opened up to seniors and recent graduates allowing for older students to participate in a wider range of internships that require a student to be 18 or older.
For the first time, MC Assembly is hosting five interns from the J2J program working in the departments of human resources, finance, engineering and production.
"This program allows the students to get 'real-world' work experience," said Brian Kingston, MC Assembly's Human Resources Director. "We hope the interns decide to enter a career in manufacturing but if not, at least we are able to show them what we do and the impact manufacturing has on the world today."
"We are glad to see the City of Palm Bay open up the age limit this year so that MC Assembly could come on board as an official worksite," said Jana Bauer, Program Planning Officer for CareerSource Brevard who runs the J2J program.
Founded in 2014, the J2J program provides paid internship opportunities and career guidance to local high school students looking to jump start their careers. Kingston has participated in the program from the beginning as an HR expert panelist passing along tips and best practices in resume writing, interview techniques and overall business acumen. This year Kingston interviewed and selected the MC Assembly intern picks.
"Communication during the interview process is very important," Kingston said. "Each intern we selected communicated very well. They did not have typical "work experience” but were able to articulate what they have done in high school and how it would apply to the internship."
Meet the Interns
Sydney Smith is a senior at Palm Bay Magnet High School interning in MC Assembly’s human resources department. Her eventual career goal, to be an occupational therapist.
"I signed up for the J2J program because I have no work experience and I saw this as a way to get introduced into the work force," Smith said. "Since it's only a six-week program, I figured it would give me a nice experience and wouldn’t interfere with school."
Since starting her internship, Smith has worked in many areas of human resources learning filing, handling phone calls, working on the reception desk, creating power point presentations and assisting with open enrollment.
"My favorite part is working the reception desk because you get to interact with a lot of people," Smith said. "So far, it’s been a fun internship, I really look forward to coming here."
Smith said the experience has really developed her people skills, which will benefit her in the future.
"I found that working here has helped me become more outgoing," Smith said. "So far, this experience has taught me proper business phone etiquette, how to type and use excel, and I feel those are skills that you need almost any place that you go."
Duwaun Daley is a recent graduate of Heritage High School, focused on a career in mechanical or architectural engineering.
"I'm a math type of guy," Daley said. "I took a couple of engineering courses and I grew an interest. I like to create, build, disassemble and reassemble things."
Daley applied to the J2J program specifically interested in manufacturing and picked MC Assembly for work experience.
"I thought it was a good opportunity to learn about the manufacturing and engineering field and give me insight into what I want to do as a career," Daily said. "I hope to gain practical technical experience and learn more about technology they work with."
Since starting, Daley has learned how to test circuit boards, do time studies and has shadowed several workers. He’s enjoying the opportunity to learn the industry up close.
"I'm meeting new people and learning a lot about testing, assembly, soldering, and the whole overall process," he said. "What's really interesting is how big the company is and how many people work on individual things and all the machines here that do specific things."
The internship also lets students sample corporate workplace life as well.
"I like the culture of this company," Daley said. "The people have been very friendly and easy going. I like how they treat me with respect as a young individual trying to learn about the company and manufacturing industry. I could see myself working here one day; I like the culture and environment."
The J2J Program
Each year, the J2J program accepts around 20-30 applicants. Participating high schools include Bayside High, Palm Bay High and Heritage High. Organizers report the program is growing in popularity and application rates have increased each year.
"Students today face challenges on trying to even get their foot in the door," Bauer said. "This program is important because it gives them leverage against other entry-level jobseekers by providing a five-week, paid, hands-on internship that can be listed on their resume as true work experience."
Several local businesses have participated in the program in industries ranging from information technology, manufacturing, healthcare facility (assisted living), engineering firms to law firms.
"This is an amazing experience for students, and more important than they realize in the beginning," Bauer said. "Our organization has a very fluid relationship with employers and communicates with them about the needs of their organizations on a daily basis. Many employers want to hire candidates that bring experience to the table."
The overall goal of the program is to help high school students by offering them practical guidance in job hunting and interview skills and exposing them to real life working conditions. The students receive Foundations Training and a five-week paid internship opportunity.
"It is also important because it allows the student to 'try out' a field of interest," Bauer said. "Five weeks is a good amount of time to become exposed to an organization, learn the culture and dynamics, learn the work and determine if it’s worth pursuing further or not."
Manufacturing for the Future
Manufacturing is often publicly perceived through a time warped lens as it appeared decades ago. Kingston says what he likes most about the internship aspect of the program is the opportunity to show student interns what modern electronic manufacturing is and how they could make it a career.
"At orientation, the students could not stop asking questions about MC Assembly," Kingston said. "Once we hit the production floor their eyes opened wide and you could tell they were very impressed with the facility, process and products we make. Several times throughout the tour the students described how 'neat' the entire manufacturing process is and how “cool” it is assembling the printed circuit boards. The students had no idea this type of work existed and were very intrigued and wanted to learn more."
After spending time on the floor and seeing the process up close, the interns indeed report gaining a deeper appreciation for manufacturing as an industry.
"Manufacturing is actually much more involved than I thought," Smith said. "I just thought you throw stuff together on an assembly line, but it turns out there’s a lot more to the process to it than that."
"My perspective really changed a lot because I thought manufacturing was just a few steps, but now I see there’s a whole complex process and a lot more steps to that and you need to be very precise," Daley said. "It takes a while to get the job done right."
Kingston believes opportunities like this also help manufacturing companies build a talent pipeline for the manufacturing workers of tomorrow.
"The manufacturing workforce is aging and unless we begin to train our next generation of employees our industry as a whole is going to suffer," he said.
About MC Assembly
MC Assembly (http://www.mcati.com), based in Melbourne, Fla., with additional operations in Billerica, Mass., and Zacatecas, Mexico, is a national leader in the contract manufacturing arena with annual revenues of approximately $200 million. It provides turnkey solutions to original equipment manufacturers and focuses on assembly of medium volume, medium mix printed circuit boards assemblies (PCBAs) and box builds. MC Assembly's capabilities include surface mount and pin-through-hole interconnection technologies, PCB and box build, DFM, DFT, DFA engineering, in-circuit, functional and environmental testing, and full box-build direct order fulfillment.