Morris Hospital, Aux Sable Liquid Products and Grainger announced Monday they have hired 12 new employees— all recent high school graduates or current students.
Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, the Grundy Economic Development Council and these three companies have kicked off their first year for a summer internship program. The students were recognized Monday morning at the hospital.
“We hear all the time, where are our future leaders going to come from? They’re right in front of you,” said Superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg of Coal City Unit 1 School District, who chaired the education component of the program initiative.
The goal of the program is to help keep graduates of Grundy schools in the Grundy workforce. Local students have the talent, and many go to college to sharpen those talents but then move to different communities rather than returning to their hometown.
With the new high school internship program, the hope is to expose the students to the options they have in Grundy.
Initial discussions began several years ago, said Bugg, when past Coal City board member Mark Jiskra, who was an employee of Exelon, introduced a program there to train students to be radiology technicians.
“What Mark Jiskra realized is there was an aging workforce at Exelon, and if they were going to find the best and brightest students, they needed to reach out to the schools,” he said.
Through the GEDC retention tours with local industry, they were also hearing other companies concerned with employees aging out of their companies and needing strong candidates to fill these positions.
Connecting the industrial and education communities was key to getting the wheels spinning on this program, said Rezin, who spearheaded the idea of a summer internship program.
“You are taking the brightest, most intellectually interested in what is going on out there, and we are looking forward to seeing their futures,” she said.
From Morris, Coal City, Minooka and Gardner-South Wilmington high schools, 35 students applied for the internships, said Lance Copes, director of the Grundy Area Vocational Center. Students wrote cover letters, presented a resume, interviewed with the company, and competed against each other for the positions.
Aux Sable has taken on four of the 12 interns, Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers seven and Grainger one.
Bill McAdam, President and CEO of Aux Sable and chairman of the industry component of the program, said the continuation of it is a priority for Aux Sable.
“We are giving them something to put on their resume and we are giving them something to be proud of,” he said.
McAdam said he would spread the word of the program to his fellow industry leaders so that it can continue to grow. He said he hopes that next year they will be hiring more interns at five to 10 different companies.
At Aux Sable, internships were offered in the information technology, accounting, engineering and legal departments. At Grainger one was given in the maintenance department. And at Morris hospital in the health information, information technology, public relations, human resources, wellness, risk management and immediate care departments.
Ashlyn Hanson is going into her senior year at Coal City High School and is interning in the hospital health information department this summer.
“I want to be a physical therapist or a pediatrics doctor and thought doing this internship could help me to learn all the terminology,” she said.
Maggie Roth, a Morris Community High School graduate, is interning in the engineering department of Aux Sable. This marks her third week with the company.
The internship is helping Roth to determine if she wants to get an engineering degree.
“It’s not only helpful with the experience, but at explaining the different roles in the company and the options in engineering,” she said.
THE WINNERS ARE:
The following are summer internship program recipients for 2013:
• James Briscoe, Aux Sable information technology
• Daniel Ruettiger, Aux Sable accounting
• Maggie Roth, Aux Sable engineering
• Samantha Schultz, Aux Sable legal
• Zach Feeney, Grainger maintenance utility
• Ashlyn Hanson, Morris Hospital health information
• Harmony Alford, Morris Hospital information technology
• Erinne Smith, Morris Hospital public relations
• Sylvia Salinas, Morris Hospital human resources
• Jessica Shellhom, Morris Hospital wellness
• Austin Bolker, Morris Hospital risk management
• Rachel Neuhalfen, Morris Hospital Immediate Care