Students learn on jobsite
Pre-engineering students placed in local internships
Some lessons can only be learned on a manufacturing jobsite floor.
So a new MAGNET program at Lorain High School is offering internships to pre-engineering students with industries that would like to grow their own high tech talent.
“We are really excited about this,” said Rich Moreck, career technical education director at the school.
Most of the 600 career tech students log workplace experience before graduating, Moreck said. But pre-engineering students did not have that opportunity, said Bill Bogan, pre-engineering teacher at Lorain High.
The men cited Nordson Corp., Parker Hannifin Corp., and Eaton Corp. as companies interested in providing opportunities for high school students.
So Lorain Schools turned to Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network of Ohio, from Cleveland.
And Dr. Terrence S. Robinson, vice president of economic inclusion and early college early career pathways for MAGNET, was assigned to the district.
New this year is a twoyear internship, and so far Lorain is the only school in Lorain County involved with MAGNET, Bogan said.
Robinson said local industry leaders sit on the board at MAGNET, and the internships are an adaptation of European apprenticeship programs. The point is to help young people learn about careers in manufacturing, he said.
He also works with students in Wickliffe and three schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
The program starts with career exploration for freshmen and sophomores, with the internship beginning in the junior year, Robinson said.
“It’s a two-year immersion into what it’s like to work in a manufacturing setting,” Robinson said, adding the lessons include how to conduct oneself around other co-workers and work as a team.
MAGNET agreed to partner with Lorain High School for this pilot program because the infrastructure was built into the new school, Robinson said.
The school has had conversations with MAGNET for about five years, Bogan said, including field trips, visits by manufacturers, and six-week courses during the summer.
“But we were looking for something more,” he said. “We did all the things leading up to it, now it’s time to get into the internship. We selected kids to make sure the program was going to be a success. Currently we have 14 students doing this. Of those 14, eight have been placed, with two more possibly placed (this week). We’re working with (Robinson) now on those last four placements. Our goal is to get every kid into internships by the first of October.”
The first student was placed three weeks ago at Nordson, Bogan said. But priming them for the position happened in the summer with a solid works training in 3-D modeling course taught by Bogan.
The youth already are College Credit Plus students, and Bogan is an adjunct professor at Lorain County Community College, so they earned college credit for the course as well, he said.
“That is the primary reason wewanted to work with Lorain High School,” Robinson said. “That impressed us as MAGNET, because a lot of school districts aren’t able to pivot like that. And Lorain County Community College is the college partner for this.”
In order to be selected for an internship, the high school students are sitting down for interviews with the top human resources and engineering manag-
ers at the corporations, Bogan said.
“Think of that pressure,” he said.
Another collaboration with First Student and a $20,000 grant from Nordson Foundation provided bus transportation to and from the companies two days a week, Moreck said.
One day a week MAGNET will bring in a wraparound, support intern specialist to talk to the kids and find out how things are going at the job site, at school and at home, Bogan said.
Other necessary details include signing the students up for bank accounts because most companies require direct deposit. The students work four hours a day, two days a week with wages in the area of $10 an hour.
“I have to give credit to the companies,” he said. “They’re dealing with the kids. Also, these companies have strong unions. Kids are coming in under age 18.”
There’s an understanding the internships will benefit the companies and unions in the long run, Bogan said, because they will have future employees.
The internships are strenuous, because the students already are studying computers in manufacturing and technical problem solving, Bogan said.
“These kids have full loads now,” he said. “They’re already in College
Credit Plus. I also have to give credit to the band director, the football coach, and the soccer coach. This opportunity takes precedence. These kids will catch up.”
The students also receive industry recognized credentials and work keys, Robinson said.
And because most of the companies include credit reimbursement, the students from Lorain could end up with college degrees paid for by the workplace, he said.
In the engineering field, a college education could easily cost $100,000, Bogan said, which could mean college loans.
“We have provided a nontraditional path to that same thing,” he said.
A goal is to place 15 to 20 students in the program each year, Bogan said, so the district is looking for other companies willing to serve as host sites.
Later the district may expand internships to other career technical programs, such as welding.
“What (Robinson) and MAGNET bring to us is a template that will work for every other program,” Moreck said. “Not that we’re not placing students now, but we could place
And it’s aligned with Ohio education standards and alternative pathways for graduation, Robinson said.
“What’s in the best interest of students?” he said. “This is just a model, and manufacturing is more used to the apprenticeship model. This for manufacturing is a throwback, but it’s also new. This can apply for information technology, healthcare, and the construction trades. It can be a model across multiple industries.”
For other districts considering similar opportunities, the program costs $50,000 to $75,000, with transportation costing up to $20,000, Robinson said.
“Every county we’re in, we’re partnering with those community colleges,” he said. “We don’t want any student to go into a profession with a glass ceiling.”
Superintendents interested in providing internships for their students can send an email to Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have a great team of partners,” Robinson said. “This is a jewel. It’s not just a JVS. It’s a comprehensive high school with the career tech. It’s awesome.”