Practical experience can go a long way, a lesson Madison-Plains students learned with hands-on work through the school’s Eagle Internship Program.
Five Madison-Plains students have been working at Madison County businesses as part of their classwork through the new program, revealed this January.
Ten seniors and juniors applied to take part in the program and were then interviewed by the participating companies. The companies’ evaluations of their work and behavior determine the final grade. It’s worth two high school credits.
Madison-Plains students Mandi Collins, Madison Hamm and Jacob Dill are all working at Madison Health on 210 N. Main St. in London, while Brady Baker and Jaycee Raines found positions that fit their career goals at Keihin Thermal America, off of 10500 O’Day-Harrison Road in Mount Sterling.
Raines and Baker, both 18, said they really enjoyed getting direct experience working at the manufacturing plant.
“It’s nice to get a half day of class plus the direct experience working here,” said Baker. “Every day you can learn about a subject from a book and it’s all hypothetical. But here, you’re actually applying what you know and learn hands-on.”
Baker said he was drawn to the program because he wanted a practical summer job, not just minimum wage at fast food.
Raines emulated that thought.
“I’ve done that a few summers,” he said. “It’s much nicer to have a career experience I can bring with me to college or even the following summers too.”
Both of them said they plan on continuing to work with the company over the summer until their first semester of college begins in the autumn. They also said they wouldn’t mind coming back other summers too.
“I mean, this could turn into a full-fledged job out of college,” said Baker. “That’s an awesome opportunity.”
The Keihin management said they were happy with the work the two young men have achieved since they joined.
“They represent their school well and have set the standards high,” said Mike Oyer, human resources manager at Keihin. “We’re hoping they’ve set the stage for lots of new applicants next year.”
Oyer said his goal is to expand the horizons of graduating students in Madison County to local manufacturing. He feels there are great jobs at his company and knows there’s highly capable people ready to join. His goal with the internships is to potentially groom new employees for the company.
“We treat them like we do any other member of the staff. We pay them the standard starting wage,” he said.
“We let them set their own hours because we know they have school,” added Kevin Robinson, director of production and engineering. “I’m a local boy; I go to chamber events and all that. I really want people, especially kids, to know there’s a great career near home.”
Dr. Matt Unger, the high school’s principal said previously that he hopes to expand the program in the future as well.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.