On a Wednesday in June at Intermatic company headquarters in Spring Grove, IL, the design engineering team gathers in a conference room for a weekly product review meeting. David Nowak, a senior in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois with a specialization in product design and development, listens to the presentations, asks a few questions and offers several plausible solutions. One of three interns at Intermatic, Nowak is doing exactly what he was hired for: tackling real issues and making important contributions to the team.
Intermatic has offered college students opportunities to gain experience, develop skills and take home a pay check through seasonal summer employment for well over 20 years. At the start of the program, students worked on packaging, shipping and labeling in the warehouse. The program has transformed over the years. Today, interns are on teams in engineering, testing and marketing where they learn practical skills and gain invaluable knowledge. This type of inclusivity enriches classroom lectures and coursework, builds relationships with mentors in the workforce and among other interns, stands out on a resume, and facilitates in landing full-time employment upon graduation.
Intermatic Human Resources Administrator, Teresa Pilcher, has helped shape the company’s program that prepares college grads for career readiness. “We assign our interns to real projects and place them in a contributory position where they have the same responsibilities as a regular employee. This helps interns discover if they can handle the job and gives them a solid idea of what they will be doing when they enter the job market. Plus, they gain employable skills and increase their marketability,” explains Pilcher.