TJC is only a few weeks into the spring semester, but students in the TJC Industrial Maintenance Technology program are already lining up summer internships that could lead to full-time employment.
“Between the first and second years of their two-year degree program, our students complete summer internships with area industries,” said Link Worthen, TJC IMT program coordinator and professor.
Worthen and his team recently hosted their annual employer interview day, where area industry professionals come to TJC West to meet with potential summer interns.
“Last year, a couple of employers started offering internships on the spot, and now that has become the norm,” he said.
He said the day ended with 15 of 16 students lining up internships. The 16th student went for a second interview a few days later and also received a summer placement.
“We’ve had great support from local industry partners who hire our students for these internships,” Worthen said. “These are full-time, paid positions for the entire summer, with the salary based on that particular employer’s pay scale.”
Salary ranges are between $16 and $26 per hour.
In addition to the on-the-job skills gained during the internships, students also earn three hours of course credit toward their 60-hour associate degree, and their grade depends on their job performance.
“I keep in touch with the maintenance managers throughout the summer,” Worthen said, “and at the end, I ask them what kind of grade they think the student should get.”
Sometimes, if the student has done an exceptional job over the summer, the employer will ask them to continue working while they’re attending school.
Worthen said, “That is heaven for us because that very often leads to the student getting hired upon graduation. All of our potential employers say the same thing: They want people with that two-year technical degree, which shows they have a multicraft foundation to stand on plus it shows that person has the drive and desire to make something of themselves to enter a profession.”
He added, “The thing about industrial maintenance professionals is there aren’t enough of them. All of the baby boomers are retiring, and there aren’t enough people coming up in the pipeline. That’s where we come in and help fill the gap.”
Hiland Dairy is one of several area industries who hire TJC interns each year, with many past interns going on to become full-time employees.
“When we’re doing interviews, we look for students with knowledge and problem-solving skills,” said Roger Cogburn, Hiland maintenance supervisor. “We want to give them the experience to expand on the knowledge they have gained from the TJC program.”
Cogburn continued, “This is like a two-part mix: TJC provides the knowledge, and local industry provides the experience. Mix it together, and the intern has the skills to be a successful technician. I believe the TJC industrial maintenance program is excellent, and partnering with local industry to help develop the future is brilliant.”
About the program
The TJC Industrial Maintenance Technology program prepares students for a broad range of industrial maintenance careers using industry-guided curriculum combined with practical hands-on labs.
First-year studies include hand and power tools, precision measurement, fasteners, mechanical drawings, machine components, electrical circuits and prints, mechanical power transmission, machining, piping, robotics, rigging, pneumatics and hydraulics.
During the second year, students learn pumps and compressors, PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers), electric motors and transformers, electric motor controls, and troubleshooting industrial maintenance equipment.
Students gain experience and skills in many industrial subjects so they enter industry as a multi-craft, skilled-trades professional.
They also learn to think critically and apply their knowledge to solve problems on the plant and factory floor, in addition to learning employability skills and how to successfully work in teams.
This program produces what today’s industry requires: a college educated multi-skilled professional to successfully tackle the 21st-century industrial environment.
Students also have the option of an alternate second-year emphasis in Advanced Manufacturing Technology, which encompasses computer-integrated manufacturing and automation, and Industry 4.0/IIoT (The Industrial Internet of Things), which is the collection of sensors, instruments and autonomous devices connected through the internet to industrial applications.
For more information on the program, go to TJC.edu/IMT.