When hiring managers feel they do not have qualfied talent to choose from, and prospective employees say there is no work available or companies are not willing to take the time to train them, a very frustrating gap results. The Alcoa Foundation is seeking to bridge this gap with a $1.25 million internship program. 500 students from eight countries will be selected for the program, which is specifically designed to provide unemployed young people with sufficient experience to start a career in manufacturing.
Since its inception last October, the program has seen some success. Bellingham Technical College has placed 19 student interns in manufacturing positions in Whatcom and Skagit counties, Washington. Trident Seafood provided internships for two Electro Mechanical Technology students last June and both were hired on full-time after they graduated from BTC.
Trevor Fischer is a 23 year old BTC Electician student currently completing an internship in Ferndale at Alcoah Intalco Works. “I would say that this program is a great opportunity to try out industrial/manufacturing work, gain some experience in your field, and is also an opportunity to establish rapport with one of the best employers in the area.”
“A common misconception is that unemployed youth of today aren’t motivated to find work and that’s hardly true,” says Scott Hudson, principal manager, Social Responsibility and Community Outreach for Alcoa Foundation. “When we surveyed our partners in all of the participating countries, they shared that the youth were not only excited to be learning new skill sets but that they were skills that would lead to full-time employment immediately.”
Similarly, according to Hudson, the program enables companies, many of which are small to medium-sized manufacturers, to try out potential employees almost risk-free or almost no cost since Alcoa Foundation’s grant is funding most costs of the program.
“For many of our program participants, the fact that they have the opportunity to trainand, potentially, retain really promising interns as full-time employees is one of their biggest motivating factors to participate,” adds Hudson. “Our unique program bridges the gap and allows each participant to get what they need to be successful which translates to stronger and healthier communities in the long run.”
Alcoa, Inc. Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld stressed the importance of youth receiving work-related experience and information about post-secondary education and technical training options at the launch of the two-year program last fall.
"To educate and train young people well is fundamental for allowing them to create their own future,” says Kleinfeld. “This is critically important for the individual as much as it strengthens the communities they live in. We are proud to work with our nonprofit partners around the world in bringing these opportunities to our Alcoa locations and offer attractive options for the youth to explore careers in manufacturing and engineering."
The program has filled 200 of its 500 open slots in eight countries in less than a year and has already placed several participants in full-time positions.
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About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $460 million. Founded 60 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $570 million since 1952. In 2012, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $21 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa's thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company's signature Month of Service program, in 2012, a record 60 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,050 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 450,000 people and 2,050 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit alcoafoundation.com and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.
Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world's largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the past 125 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa(R) wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa's operating practices and the product design and engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 11 consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 61,000 people in 30 countries across the world. For more information, visit www.alcoa.com, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Alcoa and follow Alcoa on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Alcoa.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.
About Bellingham Technical College:
Bellingham Technical College is a premier technical college expanding to providing additional academic and general education transfer courses accepted as part of a bachelor’s degree. As of fall 2014, the College offers seven direct transfer degrees in areas such as business, electronics, mechanical engineering, pre-nursing, and technology. Completion of these degrees prepares BTC students to transfer with junior status to a participating college or university in Washington State.
Bellingham Technical College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and offers 37 associate degree and 51 certificate options providing professional technical education to support local and regional industry workforce needs. For more information, go to www.btc.ctc.edu.