The Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance and its local chapter, CAMA South, is a membership-driven manufacturing group focused on supporting and growing manufacturing in southern Colorado. Within CAMA South’s organization is a workforce committee chartered to work with educators, manufacturers and community partners that include individuals and organizations with influence, to prepare the current and next generation of students and young adults for careers in manufacturing.
A cooperative effort between local manufacturers and Pikes Peak Community College this summer (with a financial contribution from CAMA South) was a successful first step in making the above a reality in the form of a summer internship program.
Our organization, along with other local manufacturers, took advantage of the program orchestrated by PPCC. After receiving resumés and doing face-to-face interviews at PPCC, we selected an individual who we thought was an ideal candidate. We, and the other manufacturers participating in the intern project, hosted plant tours for all student participants so they could get a feel for their upcoming internships.
This brings me to our specific intern and his five weeks working in our facility. The high school senior-to-be began his internship by shadowing our manufacturing engineers as they used Solid Works and other programs to design projects to be built. To get an appreciation of what it takes to take a drawing and make it into a finished product, the real work began. Initially our intern, having had previous welding experience, was assigned to assist our welder with an important customer’s project. This proved to be a success for all when our head welder said he could not have completed the project on time if it wasn’t for the help he received from the intern. He de-burred hundreds of parts that came off our laser cutter; built a base for a de-burring tumbler; and worked on other projects assigned to him by our plant manager.
In the end we were sorry to see him leave and will miss his willingness to handle all that was assigned to him. We trust he will take what he learned to the next level and begin a career in manufacturing.
Ken Krassy is director of business development at IP Automation Inc., on the board of directors of CAMA South and chairman of its workforce committee.