Laser Precision Internship Program: More Than Just a Summer Job

Laser Precision Internship Program: More Than Just a Summer Job

Many students working their way through the education system have no idea of the career opportunities that exist in the field of manufacturing. At Laser Precision, we take a proactive approach to changing this situation. We do this by developing programs designed to build awareness and provide practical on-the-job training for candidates at the high school to college level. (See “How We Work to Fill the Skills Gap”). 

Laser Precision’s summer internship program is designed to provide college students with an entry level understanding of the entire fabrication process. They receive professional work experience in the following departments: press brake, robotic welding, CNC machining, quality control and engineering. All students spend time in each of these departments on rotation, two weeks in each.

Meet the students who joined us for this summer’s program:

Sean: Texas A&M University, currently a sophomore

Ryan: University of Wisconsin-Madison, currently a freshman

Alex: Florida Institute of Technology, currently a junior

We sat down with the interns to get their impressions on working in a manufacturing environment for the first time and everything they have experienced so far.

Q: What areas of manufacturing are you interested in?

Sean: I’m studying electrical engineering, which is not very hands-on. Learning the mechanical and hardware side of things has given me a different perspective. For example, working with press brakes, seeing all the different tools and instrumentation, including gauging, is fun.

Ryan: Both of my parents are accountants and my  brother is a software engineer, so I don’t really have a background in manufacturing. I met Kim Wimer, (Laser Precision’s Human Resources Manager) at a job fair and watched some videos on the company’s operations. I saw the potential to learn a lot over the summer.

Alex: I run the 3D print lab at school, from sending parts to printers to seeing them through thru quality control. It was surprising to me how similar Laser Precision’s operations are to what we do at school, just on a larger scale. The institute is considered an aerospace school, so I was already very familiar with part requirements and close tolerances.

Q: What are your career plans?

Sean: I’m open-minded and excited about the future. I would like to do something where I can see the visible impact my contributions have on others. It could be anything from power plant work to nanotechnology.

Ryan: I want to design things, so I’m leaning towards mechanical engineering. This summer I’ve been able to see the entire manufacturing process from start to finish and work directly with operators who know their machines better than most engineers. This will be a huge advantage in the future.

Alex: My goal is to have a job that helps advance humanity. The two fastest ways to do that is aerospace (go to different planets) or medicine (improving the quality of life). Since I work in a 3D print lab, I already have medical experience, printing things like syringes, IV bag tube parts and individualized prosthetics.

Q: Which department do you like the best, so far?

Sean: I enjoy the challenges in CNC machining, working with all kinds of different equipment one after the other. It’s totally hands-on and I appreciate the fact that I have been given the trust to run jobs more or less on my own.

Ryan: Engineering is my top choice because I know it’s a skill that I must have. My next class this fall is a geometric tolerances class. So right now, I’m getting paid to learn.

Alex: My favorite was quality control. I enjoyed the fast-paced moments where you’ve got a queue of parts that must be shipped within hours. This rotation made me feel closer to the customer, making sure that everything goes out on time and meets Laser Precision’s high standards.

Q: Was the work environment what you expected?

Sean: I’ve never been in a shop like this before. I didn’t realize this aspect of commerce or business. The scale of the whole facility was larger than what I expected. I liked the variety.

Ryan: I was a bit overwhelmed when I walked out to the production floor, but now I can tell you where anything is in the shop. I loved seeing a singular part go through the process from start to finish. My name is on that print I worked on!

Alex: I was hesitant about the department rotation. Is two weeks enough time? But being able to learn enough to trace the part numbers thru the entire manufacturing process was great.

Q: How have you fit in with your co-workers?

Sean: The feeling of community here is amazing. Everyone is approachable and happy to give you all the help you need. You can tell in each department that they’re family.

Ryan: I love the people you meet in every department. You have fun and it makes the experience worthwhile. Yes, you’re being supervised when you work, but you can become friends while you learn.

Alex: It’s a very good environment. Each person is willing to put trust in you. On the press brake, I was shown how to run parts in just two hours. Then I just ran the rest of the job by myself.

Get in on the action

Besides our traditional summer internships, we also offer part time/junior college mixes and high school student programs. We also have great opportunities for people already in the workplace and looking for a change. Call us and see what kind of experience we can build around you.