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Internships Benefit Both Students & Companies

Pam Lechner

Jeopardy answer: the position of a student (or trainee) who works in an organization in order to gain work experience. And the question is…what is an internship?
What exactly is an internship? What is the benefit to a student? Is there a benefit for the company?  

For FEF students, an internship is one of the highlights of their education. When participating in an internship, students are able to put into practice theories they have learned in the classroom and the foundry lab. It’s an opportunity to see how those exercises translate into a real-world business environment.

Being an intern at a company also allows the student to interact with professionals who are in their chosen industry while providing the opportunity to “try out” different aspects of the industry.

Companies also experience a wide variety of benefits. Hiring an FEF intern brings in an individual who already has an understanding of your business, your processes, and your goals. FEF students are able to take on that project that you’ve been wanting to complete but haven’t had the staff to do so. FEF students also have a desire and enthusiasm to contribute to the company’s success while elevating their metalcasting skills.

This past summer, four students representing four different FEF schools not only created friendships, they learned more about the metalcasting industry and made significant contributions at Waupaca Foundry in Wisconsin.

David Foltz, Pittsburg Stave University, said he took the internship “to test my skills and knowledge about metalcasting ... and learn more about the processes that go into producing cast products.” 

When asked what his best experience was during his internship, Clay Barlow (Purdue University), said “I can’t narrow it down.” But a couple of the highlights he mentioned were: “leading coworkers for the first time on a project and learning some do’s and don’ts of real-world leadership the hard way” and “attending company events, shooting the breeze with the other metallurgists, and feeling like more than an intern—a  real part of the foundry.”

According to Dr. Russ Rosmait, FEF Key Professor at Pittsburg State, one of the important reasons for internships is they “allow students to experience the metalcasting industry firsthand and help to shape their impression of our industry.”

Each summer, Rosmait takes the opportunity to visit several interns at their place of employment. While onsite, he speaks with the intern’s company supervisors to see how the internship is going and to understand what abilities and skills a student needs in order to make a contribution to that company while serving as an intern.

It’s not too early to start planning for your next intern now. If your company doesn’t have an internship program, now’s the time to start putting that in place. Contact FEF for information to get started—nick@fefinc.org.