Phoenix Mecano Student Interns Share Experiences

Today’s job market can be a difficult hill to climb. CNBC reports that almost 70% of those looking for a job feel they’re having a harder time gaining employment and, “High inflation and the threat of a potential downturn are casting a dark shadow over the labor market.” However, if you’re looking for a job, it’s not all doom and gloom.

One way those entering the workforce can increase their chances of being considered for a job is by participating in an internship where they can learn new skills and make connections with others in their industry. Recently Frederick students Michael Gerlock and Kaly Chichiraky shared their experiences of working as interns at Phoenix Mecano and the process of landing the roles. Michael worked in the warehouse shipping orders and Kaly worked in engineering services focusing on quality assurance projects. During their internships, they both discovered some of the practical applications of working in their respective fields.

They both attended logistics certification classes at Frederick Community College. Frederick County Workforce Services, a program designed to connect students with job opportunities and support their professional development, facilitated their internship as part of the certification process. During the interview, Kaly and Michael highlighted Workforce Frederick’s supportive environment, which included communication portals, advice sessions, and evaluations throughout the internship.

Michael first learned about FCWS through recommendations from friends and family who had used the program for job searches. Kaly, on the other hand, was introduced to FCWS when she moved to Frederick a year ago. She told us the organization has been extremely beneficial in helping her work towards building a career in the United States.

Reflecting on their time as interns Michael and Kaly expressed how much they appreciate the mentorship and guidance they’ve received from both Phoenix Mecano and FCWS. They both faced difficulties, with Michael initially struggling to familiarize himself with the warehouse operations and Kaly facing communication barriers as English isn’t her first language. However, thanks to the support they received they were both able to overcome those challenges and successfully complete their internships.

Michael told us, “The internship made me realize how much I like [logistics] and how much it inspires me.”

Meanwhile, Kaly has been given the opportunity to continue working at Phoenix Mecano for an additional three months. She explained, “My big dream is to come back to my field [and] the internship made a difference in my life…I really enjoy[ed] this experience because I feel close to my previous experience in manufacturing.”

Michael and Kaly’s internship experience shows how strong partnerships between businesses and educational programs can benefit students. The collaboration between FCWS, Frederick Community College, and Phoenix Mecano provided them with mentorship, hands-on experience, and opportunities for professional growth. Both students are confident Workforce Frederick will help them reach their career goals. Michael wants to continue his career in logistics, while Kaly is determined to return to her passion for manufacturing and production.

phoenix Mecano intern Michael Gerlock

These types of internships highlight how students can be successful in the workforce. Latrice Lewis (Senior Business Development Specialist, MBA, CPRW, GCDF, CBEP, CWDP)  from Frederick County Workforce Services explained a transitional work experience allows a local business to host a program participant for temporary part-time employment. Local businesses serve as worksites for participants, while Frederick County Workforce Services covers their pay. During this experience, the local business provides supervision and mentorship to a participant. In turn, the participant gains relevant work experience and confidence from connecting with the workforce.

Partnering with local businesses allows developing talent to prove themselves and supports local businesses simultaneously. It gives students an opportunity to understand the jobs available locally, keeping talent within the community. Additionally, it enables local businesses to interact with the next generation of team members, creating a positive loop of worker development and retention.

The students benefit from this workforce services program by receiving immediate on-the-job skills training with pay, utilizing recently gained classroom knowledge. This helps solidify newly acquired skills, leading to a shorter learning curve to acclimate to the position. Many times, the transitional work experience can culminate in a permanent job offer as the employer has had the opportunity to observe the student in action without the immediate commitment of a direct hire.

If you have any questions on how you can apply to be an intern and bolster your career, reach out to Phoenix Mecano or Workforce Services!

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