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Career-Ready Students Attend FEF’s College Industry Conference

Pam Lechner

Over the past five years, the College Connection column has covered what FEF students learn in the classroom and the foundry lab, what kinds of projects they design and cast, and how they interact with the community to share the importance of metalcasting.

But at some point, usually about four or five years after they enter the university or college, students leave the academic world and enter the work world. For the majority of FEF students, that is in the field of metalcasting. Making the choice of where to work, with what company, and in what specific field is an important thought process. What goes into that choice? What are some of the most important factors when considering that choice? 

We asked a 2023 graduate some of these questions. Meet Keenan Jensen. Jensen graduated from Tennessee Tech this past spring with a major in manufacturing and engineering technology. A career in the metalcasting industry wasn’t in the forefront of his mind when he enrolled; he came to Tech looking to graduate as a civil engineering major. But after he took Introduction to Metalasting, he said, “I picked up the concepts fast and it quickly became one of my favorite classes.”

Not only did Jensen immerse himself in the available metalcasting courses during his years at Tennessee Tech, he also attended the 2022 FEF College Industry Conference. At this conference, he was able to speak with several companies looking for students just like himself—students who knew what is involved in the metalcasting process; students who had experience working in a foundry setting; students who had a passion for metalcasting; and students who, when hired, would contribute to their employing company right away.

“I talked with companies at the CIC,” Jensen said. “I had a conversation with almost every company that exhibited there. I went to dinner with one company and had a wonderful time getting to know them. I ended up accepting a job offer from them as a foundry floor supervisor and started work in early July. I have greatly enjoyed my job so far. After a brief training period, I felt like I was able to make some good contributions. I have learned many new things; every day I learn how to be a better leader and supervisor. I have also learned a great deal about permanent mold casting, which is something that my company specializes in, but we didn’t spend a ton of time learning about in school.”

Jensen said location was an important consideration for accepting the position. “I was also looking for a smaller company that had a family atmosphere,” he added.

Jensen is a great example of the students who go through the metalcasting programs at our FEF network of colleges and universities. He’s not the one outlier. FEF Key Professors make it their priority to teach relevant and cutting-edge processes and concepts that prepare their students for the metalcasting industry. Most FEF students have also had multiple internship experiences by graduation so they have real-world examples to draw from when they accept their full-time position.

If your company is looking for full-time employees, interns, or co-op students, attending the CIC is your best opportunity to network with and interview over 117 young people ready to make an impact with your company. Plan now to attend the College Industry Conference in Chicago, November 16 and 17. For more information, go to fefinc.org/cic.