Maintenance supervisors at Boeing seek “superstar” interns

By Jennifer Ferrero, APR
Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing

What do you do when you are offering quality positions, but no one is applying? This is a common thread in manufacturing jobs – skilled job openings are out there – but getting great candidates can be tough.

This summer, from June through September, 44 community and technical college students in Washington had a chance of a lifetime to work at aerospace giant, Boeing. The internships were paid, and students of all ages participated in the opportunity to work in the facilities department.

Boeing student interns summer 2018 learning on the job

Boeing student interns summer 2018 learning on the job

The jobs focused in a variety of areas:

  • Electrical/electrician
  • Maintenance Mechanic
  • Maintenance Electronics Technician
  • Mechatronics
  • Building and plant maintenance
  • Plumbing

Essentia Rivera, workforce specialist at Boeing spoke about the 13-week internships and said, “They can try out the company, see if it is a good fit for them – we can then ask, do they show up on time? Are they suited for the manufacturing floor, can they do the work?”

She said that outside of being dependable and following-through on work, they look for those students that really shine, “We always look for the superstars when hiring.”

Rivera said that seven of Washington’s Community and Technical Colleges supported interns entering the summer program.

The schools were:

  • Everett Community College
  • Shoreline Community College
  • Bellingham Technical College
  • Green River College
  • Renton Technical College
  • North Seattle College
  • South Seattle College

While it seems like many would jump at the chance to work at a world-class company like Boeing, Rivera said that in the past they were looking for people with seven-10 years of experience. She said that due to a lack of skilled labor coming forward for open positions, they had to change their mind-set. They had to put more skin in the game.

Boeing Internships - photo of two interns summer 2018

Boeing Internships – photo of two interns summer 2018

“We want to make sure that we bring people into the company that are able to make it a lifelong career – if they are interested in that,” said Rivera.

She added that the way to become a part of the 30% of interns that are hired, students should, “Translate their classroom knowledge to hands-on knowledge.” She concluded that Boeing internship supervisors also ask, “Did they fill their downtime, are they speaking to the right people, are they making connections (with management and others)?”

If you are ready to shine as a superstar at Boeing, enroll in your local community and technical college in one of the manufacturing programs and seek their summer internships.

High school juniors can check out manufacturing careers at Boeing through Core Plus program

By Jennifer Ferrero, APR
Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing

This summer, 13 lucky students got to check out what it’s like to stand under 211-feet of airplane wings and observe aircraft being made.

Through the Core Plus program, Boeing offered 5-week paid internships to high school seniors. The purpose of the internships is to expose students to the “manufacturing environment and manufacturing skills of the future,” said Boeing Workforce Specialist, Essentia (Tia) Rivera.

While the students won’t be riveting or working on robotic arms on the factory floor, they will job shadow those who do.
Moyaak (MoMo) Chuol, a senior at Lindberg High School got to experience Core Plus first-hand and even intern at Boeing this summer.

He said his biggest take-away from the Core Plus program was finding out what to expect after high school.

“Our teacher would constantly bring people to talk with us about what they did after high school. Some would be about colleges and how to save money, but most were about going into the workforce the day after graduation,” Chuol said.

MoMo Chuol Boeing student intern summer 2018 - Core Plus

MoMo Chuol Boeing student intern summer 2018 – Core Plus

Boeing has created a specific training for Core Plus students that allows young minds to envision what it would be like to work in aerospace manufacturing.

The two-year curriculum developed by Boeing and the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) takes students from basic manufacturing skills in year one to aerospace specific skills in year two.

The curriculum was designed for students in their junior and senior years of high school and has been implemented at over 30 high schools in Washington.

“The students are coming out of the program with these skills, so we will take them through the new hire program for basic mechanical and electrical skills – they are moving through the training faster than most new hires,” said Rivera.

The high school interns – between 16 and 18 years old are brought in during their senior year, after studying about basic manufacturing for a year, which helps them discover if aerospace manufacturing is a good pathway for them.

There are engineering pathways and some students hire on right after high school. For many students they learn entry-level skills for general mechanic and assembly work.

Rivera added, “The interns don’t produce for production, but they follow the L&I guidelines, they can touch basic tools and work on a bench.”

For a student like Chuol, he loved learning how to drill holes for riveting and a technique for safety wiring. He said, “This was a great opportunity to learn about the place I want to work at after high school.”

Regarding supervision and support at Boeing, Rivera said that the production managers turned out in droves, in support of the program. They want to be paired up with the students to lead and mentor them during the internships.