This year’s Northeast Metro manufacturing and automotive industry partners included: Buerkle Automotive Group, Cummins, Fairway Collision Center, Herold Precision Metals, LasX Industries, Mold Craft, Renstrom Dental Studio, SCHWING America, Superior Machine, Teamvantage, The Specialty Manufacturing Company and Walser Automotive Group. Students were closely supervised and mentored in a wide variety of automotive and manufacturing tasks when they were interning with industry partners. Additionally, all students met with Career Pathways instructors for employability skills training, and manufacturing students completed an OSHA 10 training course.
“Our GenZ interns learned how dental crowns are made through a customized manufacturing process,” said Randi James, office manager for Renstrom Dental Studio. “Each crown is unique to each individual, and they were able to see how we manufactured with a combination of technology, science and artistry.”
Students had a chance to learn what it would be like to be a dental technician. “It’s difficult to find technicians entering our industry, and the GenZ program allows us to get in front of students entering the workforce and possibly spark some interest in a future career path,” James said.
“GenZ is important to Mold Craft and the community because it helps students and parents make a positive connection between a viable career and manufacturing,” said Justin McPhee, vice president of engineering at Mold Craft. “Manufacturing is very high tech, pays well with benefits and the post-secondary education at community and technical colleges is affordable with students often graduating with no debt, as they’ve been working in the field as they go to school.”
“Buerkle Automotive’s participation in GenZ Connections provided a unique opportunity for us to collaborate with leaders from the local high school, members of the VHEDC Workforce Committee, industry partners within our own automotive industry, as well as industry partners from the local manufacturing community of businesses,” said Linda McDonough-Rees, human resources manager for Buerkle Automotive Group.
“Like many industries, the automotive industry is undergoing a large demand for new workers,” she added. “The automotive service technician career specifically is projected to need over 13,300 new technicians to meet the market demand between 2016 – 2026.”