IAC Successes and Planning for Future Internships

The most recent FLATE Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) meeting on Thursday, January 19 at Pinellas Technical College’s (PTEC) Clearwater campus was a huge success. The evening began with a tour showcasing the manufacturing programs offered at PTEC, including machining and welding. The tour was led by Assistant Director, Eric McClendon. In some labs, the attendees were able to see students working on projects. The students were able to show off their skills, and express their joy about the program and the ability to gain expertise. The students also stated that they realized just how much these programs will benefit their future careers.

After the tour, the main event began with a panel discussion led by Brad Jenkins, co-principal investigator of FLATE, and Ken Jones, Economic Development Manager for Hillsborough County. This panel focused on debating the pros and cons of internships. The panel provided an open forum for professionals from several different organizations to discuss what it really means to host an intern, and what benefits will come from it.

The entire panel, as well as some meeting attendees, agreed that the benefits of having an intern are supreme for both the company and the intern. On the business side of things, hosting an intern is one of the most profitable things you can do for your company. For the student, the internship offers hands-on experience that can be applied to their real life and future careers post-graduation. 

Internships and apprenticeships are usually paid, part-time positions. An additional benefit of internships is that there are many different options of shifts to work because many companies operate throughout the day, and into the night, seven days a week. The many options of hours and shifts allows the student to create a schedule that will be flexible with their lifestyle and accommodate their school schedule.

Students who are currently in internships and apprenticeships were also able to join in the discussion. They stated that the work experience they are gaining from these positions make them feel more qualified and confident as they pursue their careers. In some cases, interning gives them a step up against the competition from other students entering the field. At the end of the evening, the consensus was clear; internships have a positive impact on both the student and the company.

Furthermore, congratulations to the new IAC Chair, Peter Cirak, on successfully hosting his first meeting! Be sure to mark your calendars and join us for the next IAC meeting at the College of Central Florida on Thursday, May 18. For more information about FLATE IAC meetings, please visit our webpage by clicking here, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org.

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