As of October 2015, Catalyst Connection had secured internship opportunities for 60 interns with 18 manufacturing companies across 6 counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania. This program has been extremely impactful on the region, for the young people involved, as well as for Catalyst Connection’s manufacturing clients in the region. As a result of the program, manufacturers engaged new entry-level talent to meet their short term or long term hiring needs while at the same time, individuals earned the opportunity to get a foot in the door to a manufacturing company, enhance technical and workplace skills, and create a pathway to future employment. Many of the companies that Catalyst Connections worked with mentioned that they would likely make offers to their interns for full-time employment or in an extended part-time capacity.
Provided below is a breakdown of the success of each company that participated in the Global Internship Program for Unemployed Youth through Catalyst Connection.
Advanced Acoustic Concepts
Advanced Acoustic Concepts is a small defense manufacturer in a very economically depressed rural county in Pennsylvania. The company makes high end electronic components and has developed a tremendous feeder system of talent from the local satellite campus of Penn State University that is located right next door and acts as the community college for that county. Eight participants interned with Advanced Acoustic Concepts through the program.
One participant interned with Auma Actuators through the program, a small manufacturing company just south of Pittsburgh. The intern funding from the Legacy Alcoa Foundation helped convince the company to bring on an intern for the summer.
Bioptechs provided one intern with the opportunity to gain entry level experience in electronic assembly. The intern hired was identified through the Pittsburgh Job Corp Center and was taking general studies at the Butler County Community College.
Cleaveland/Price manufactures components for the electrical power industry. One female engineering student participated in a co-op experience with the company as part of the program. Female engineers are limited in numbers so fostering this young woman’s career was of tremendous benefit both to the company and the intern.
Cygnus Manufacturing Company
CMC is a contract manufacturing company that specializes in CNC machining. Machinists are one of the most in-demand and hardest positions to fill in this region. Through the internship program, CMC was able to bring on five interns that were enrolled in the machining program at the local vo-tech school. This provided a pathway for these young people to enter into a machining apprenticeship program for those that demonstrated they were good fit for the organization.
A small, rural manufacturer of duct works, Ductmate was in need of an intern for short-term project assistance. One female participant interned with Ductmate through projects related to LEAN manufacturing in their organization. The company would not have hired an intern without the funding support from the program.
Hamill is a defense contractor specializing in the manufacture of metal components, largely through CNC machining. Their biggest challenge is finding talent, especially machinists. The company leveraged their strong connections with a student robotics competition (also heavily supported by Catalyst Connection) to attract vo-tech students as interns that would feed into their apprenticeship program. Five participants interned with Hamill as part of the program for this critical area of need.
Johnson Mathey had never previously hired interns and this funding provided them with an opportunity to do so. Three interns assisted with specific short-term projects at the company. Intern candidates came through the regional youth outreach programs for unemployed youth coordinated by the Westmoreland Fayette WIB, one of Catalyst Connection’s partners in this initiative.
L&S Machine manufactures components for the nuclear industry. As a small manufacturer, in a remote county, and not on a bus route, it is challenging for L&S to find talent. L&S co-presented with Catalyst Connection at the local community college to over 40 students about career opportunities in manufacturing and specifically opportunities at L&S. They interviewed two candidates from that presentation and hired one who was majoring in Mechatronics as an intern as part of the program.
MECCO Marking and Traceability
MECCO is a company that had hired college interns through past Catalyst Connection programs and saw great value in hiring that talent to supplement their workforce. As part of the Global Internship Program the company was able to expand their internship program to include a younger student who was attending a high school near the company. The company saw this as a way to attract talent to their organization earlier while providing a young student with an opportunity to see potential career and educational pathways that could lead to a job in manufacturing.
One of the most active local community champions for careers in manufacturing, Oberg Industries still struggles to find talent for their remote manufacturing facility. Two intern candidates participated in the program, both of whom came from the local vo-tech program and learned about the program through their school's career counselor.
PBM Valve previously not hired interns but was willing to try it out due to the funding provided by the program. An intern was identified and hired through the youth outreach services of the Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Investment Board. Unfortunately, the candidate ended her internship experience early however after to moving to Texas.
Penn United Technologies
Penn United Technologies is a precision manufacturer servicing a variety of industries. The company struggles greatly in finding talent for their rural manufacturing operations. With an acute need for highly skilled machinists, the company has created their own on-site training facility as well as a robust apprenticeship program. With the help of the Global Internship Program, the company more than doubled the number of intern hires that will then feed into their apprenticeship program. 18 interns participated in an internship through the program with a high probability of at least half of these individuals being hired full-time.
Sloan Brothers manufactures lubrication systems for industrial uses. They are in a small town north of Pittsburgh with no community college near their facility nor proximity to any bus routes. One unemployed youth was placed in an internship with Sloan Brothers by Catalyst Connection through the Pittsburgh Job Corps. Unfortunately, this candidate was unable to regularly get to work due to a lack of transportation. Two other interns participated in internships with Sloan Brothers, one coming from a community college in a bordering county and the other from the local Penn State satellite campus.
A small contract manufacturing company, TMG has only hired interns in the past when Catalyst Connection was able to provide funding support through various grants. As a small company, the ability to find talent without a major cost investment made internships a great option. The company hired two interns through the program, including a student from the community college and another from a satellite campus of Penn State who was a freshman in the engineering program and was considering dropping out.
TRACO, a subsidiary of Alcoa Inc., manufactures windows. One participant interned with the accounting department assisting with a backlog of work. TRACO was so pleased with the intern's work ethic that they offered him an extended part-time job opportunity following his internship.
Universal Electric Corporation
Universal Electric is an electronics manufacturing company. When approached about the Global Internship Program, the company saw it as a great way to bring in new talent to hopefully fulfill anticipated hiring needs in advance of completion of their then-in-progress factory expansion. Five participants interned with Universal Electric Corporation, a mix of local high school students and college students all of whom were female.
Wojanis is a small manufacturing company located in a remote industrial complex. Lack of public transportation options made it challenging to get non-traditional intern candidates to this location despite their close proximity to the city of Pittsburgh. One participant interned with Wojanis. This intern had also worked with them the previous summer which allowed for a more productive experience for both the company and intern while also continuing to foster their pathway to a career in manufacturing.