Category Archives: Employer

Information for Employers interested in getting involved on Michigan Tech’s campus.

Co-op experiences produce graduates desired by industry

Rich Wells, Vice President of Michigan Operations for Dow Chemical, walked into a room of talented students from top Universities across the U.S.. These students were working as employees at Dow’s diverse chemical production facility in Midland, Michigan. Each student’s job is not to sweep floors but to take part in a wide variety of meaningful projects that will significantly impact the company financially, while allowing each student to develop meaningful career skills.

The first question for Rich from these student co-ops was what skills did he see entry level engineers lacking? He quickly listed off five areas. 1) Decision making – being comfortable making decisions with limited data. 2) Trusting the knowledge you have gained in school and build on it. 3) Problem-solving skills that allow you to break down complex challenges and develop an array of solutions. 4) Interpersonal skills ranging from working effectively in diverse groups to constructing a clear and concise e-mail. 5) Producing results where he notes that answering e-mails does not qualify as a result. Dow Chemical structures student co-op assignments to develop and foster these skills in young engineers.

Caleb, a chemical engineering student at Michigan Tech from Leelanau, Michigan, was assigned to the pesticide production division. His process engineering duties included working with a diverse workgroup in both age and experience. Caleb’s communication strategy followed the saying “two eyes, two ears, one mouth”, meaning we were all meant to spend more time observing & listening and less time talking. Caleb learned volumes of information from his mentor Dave and the hourly operators like Scott who had been working there for over 20 years. In the process he gained their respect, allowing him to lead by influence as he successfully completed his projects.

Holly, a third-year chemical engineering student at Michigan Tech from Essexville, Michigan, was assigned the role of process safety engineer. Her job was to ensure all chemical storage and shipping containers were labeled with appropriate hazardous material signage. If these containers were involved in an accident, a labeling mistake can cost lives along with millions of dollars in fines. Holly developed the ability to build a network of ‘expert’ resources as well as a process to accomplish the task for the diverse number of chemicals and storage units.

Andrew, a third year Mechanical Engineering student at Michigan Tech from Reece, Michigan, was tasked to assess and recommend new water pumps to be purchased for the manufacturing complex. These pumps supplied water for steam generators vital for successful operations of chemical production throughout the facility. Andrew’s recommendation must satisfy needed flow rates at an acceptable cost.

Each of these students was given work meaningful to operations of one of Dow’s largest productions facilities. These students were provided mentors, needed resources, and the support of their superiors. They brought the knowledge they gained from their educational experiences, combined it with the practical knowledge they gained from their peers, and developed multidisciplinary teams to successfully solve the challenges they were assigned.

Dow Chemical’s co-op/internship program allows students to put their acquired knowledge to work in a real world setting. Caleb, Holly, and Andrew will leave this experience having not only provided Dow with valued contributions, but also having developed the skills that Rich Wells and industry covenant in their new college recruits.

Great Career Opportunities In #Steel

Arcelor_Tour_Group_Photo_IMG_6526Huskies have a long and proud history of careers in the steel industry.  To help students learn about the opportunities available to them, ArcelorMittal partnered with Michigan Tech to transport a bus full of students from Houghton, MI to Northwest Indiana.  These students had a chance for an all-access tour of the Indiana Harbor facility along with some unique dining and sightseeing opportunities.

During the tour, students saw first-hand some of the challenges and opportunities of careers in the factory.  They learned the importance of teamwork and safe work practices.  Since the tour consisted primarily of first and second-year students, these lessons will help them in their future careers, regardless of their degree or the company they work for.

Some of the post-tour surveys revealed what the students learned:

  • “Everyone we spoke with seemed genuinely invested in the company and also what they are making”
  • “Employees were very satisfied with their jobs”
  • “It is very important for a company to be good to the people that work for them”
  • “…an opportunity to assume responsibility from day one on the job…”
  • “The company…still allows personal fulfillment”

Before the students took the tour, 50% said they probably would not have considered a career in the Steel Industry.  After the tour, 93% of the students said they would consider working for ArcelorMittal.

#MTUCareerFEST Schedule for next fall available

CareerFEST

To better help our students prepare for their future careers, we have a broad variety of programming in the weeks leading up to Career Fair to help them network, build skills, and explore career opportunities.

Industry Days

These days help students explore careers and learn about the different career opportunities for them that they may not have considered before.  The schedule includes days focused on Aerospace, Automotive, Business, Construction & Building Systems, Energy, Railroad, Robotics & Control, and Steel.  As an alumni or a recruiter, these events are an excellent way to share what you learned throughout your lifetime with today’s students.

STEMconnector searches for ways to develop talent needed by industry

Recently a group of over 300 industry and educational leaders meet in Washington D.C. to share and explore ways to fill the pipeline of human talent in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The group, called STEMconnector, is facing a growing crisis due to lack of qualified intellectual talent to meet company hiring needs. A series of industry leadership panels identified the challenges, then explored solutions that would not only improve individual lives, but support developing economies and governments across the globe.

STEM jobs, those careers focused on use of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, are growing 1.7 times faster than that of non-STEM jobs. Surya Kant, President of North America, UK and Europe for Tata Consulting Services (TCS), a worldwide contractor for information technology talent, estimated that by 2030 they will need to hire 430,000 more STEM employees, a majority of which will be in the area of computer science and engineering. They have developed a new program called Go IT which is now being rolled out in 32 major cities across the world. The program engages students and their parents by introducing them to the basics of programming and exposing them to the many well-compensated careers in this area.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2013 – 2023 there will be two jobs available for every computer science graduate in the U.S. Currently only 2.4% of college graduates earn their degree in computer science. TCS notes that 30 of 50 states do not require computer science courses in their graduation requirements, hindering efforts to get students engaged in programming early in their education.

Allyson Knox, Director of Education Policy & Programs at Microsoft, echoed concerns at TCS. She noted that 1 in 4 U.S. high schools offer advanced placement courses in computer science. She noted that research has found young women taking this course were 4 times more likely to complete a degree in computer science, while African-American and Hispanic students taking the course were 7 times more likely to achieve academic success in the degree.  Microsoft has created the website code.org to encourage students and their parents to explore computer programming. Filled with interactive games that increase in complexity, the site illuminates lucrative career paths in computer programming.

Dr. Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairmen and Chief Scientific Officer at Pepsico, shared the humanitarian opportunity associated with filling these talent needs. He noted that 40 percent of the food we grow is wasted. The main contributor of pollution in the world is agriculture. Dr. Khan shared that each day 1 billion people go to bed hungry.  He notes if we can cut our food waste in half, we can feed the world and not increase pollution. Yet he also highlighted that in the next 10 years 50 percent of our scientists working on this efficiency problem will be retiring.

Industry leaders created STEMconnector to help them address the looming talent shortage. They all recognize the solution does not lie in just higher education or exclusively in our K-12 school system. It is a societal challenge whose solutions lie in multiple initiatives and they are each taking individual and collaborative steps to fill the STEM pipeline. The quality of our lives in the future is directly correlated to the success of filling this STEM pipeline, as does the economic prosperity of our children.

#SigningDay #MTUGrad – Starting a new tradition!

Graduation day is less than a week away! What is the ultimate result of all that hard work? Starting a job with a new company, applying those skills in a new occupation, and earning money!

We copied the idea of a high school recruit signing for a new college or a professional athlete getting drafted.  Here are some group photos next to our statue in the middle of campus. We think this new tradition will take hold!

Thank you to our corporate partners at: 3M, Alliance Laundry Systems, ArcelorMittal, Caterpillar, The Dow Chemical Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, Gerdau, Jackson, Kimberly-Clark, Nucor, Oshkosh, Plexus, and Systems Control. Our corporate partners help prepare our students for their careers and now, it is time to get to work!

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One Hundred Years Strong

It was the sound of a whistle blowing from a surrounding factory that became the lightbulb moment leading to cooperative education as we know it today. Cooperative Education has a rich 100-plus year history, with its U.S. roots beginning at the University of Cincinnati thanks to the diligent work of Herman Schneider, an educator dedicated to engineering education. The idea came after his extensive conversations with schools along the east coast as he searched to identify what engineers were missing in their education.

Cooperative education is one model, and I would argue the most valuable, of work-integrated learning. Schneider knew that an engineering curriculum was not complete without students practicing their skills in an authentic setting. Co-ops provide just that.  As students on our campus prepare for the upcoming spring career fair, they may not know Herman Schneider, nor the actual age of cooperative education, but they are well aware that having co-op experience as evidence of their professional development will be highly valued by the recruiters.

The interesting part comes when we begin to ask why. While it is easy to argue that students are better prepared for the workplace as a result of a co-op, research has not focused on the learning that causes the student to return as a different version of themselves. Exactly what do students learn while on a co-op? And how do they learn? What factors are important in their learning?  A co-op is a collaboration between the student, the employer, and the university, so all should be committed to ensuring a quality experience – as Herman Schneider envisioned. Michigan Tech is committed to do our part, and we look forward to our co-op collaborations. If you have not previously participated in the co-op program, contact me to find out how Michigan Tech might may be a great match with your company – and the whistle blowing moments will live on.

Kirsti Arko – Assistant Director for Experiential Learning and Career Development
karko@mtu.edu

 

Recruiting Trends 2015-16 Conference

On October 20, 2015, I attended the “Recruiting Trends 2016” survey in Chicago.  This survey has grown and evolved over the years.  Dr. Phil Gardner (Michigan State University) has conducted the survey for many years and did an excellent job of explaining the data to everyone who attended.

Because I work in Career Services, I like to think none of this information was surprising to me!  However, there is always information in national data that is shocking when you broken down regionally.  Hiring in the Midwest is driven by manufacturing — specifically, the resurgence in the Automotive market.  Contrast that to areas hit hardest by low oil prices and you see the drastic disparity within a range of national averages.

Our Career Fair attendance has been at record levels for company attendance.  Michigan Tech students are highly demanded and sought after.  We hope these trends will last forever – but all things are cyclical.

This Fall, our focus was to help develop a “Career Culture” on campus.  The creation of hands-on, interactive, networking events with companies to help students feel comfortable in a job market.  Our partnership with corporate volunteers to review resumes, provide practice interviews, or just be available to listen to students created many individual connections.  The active promotion of our Learning Center to coach students through the process.

These events help students “find their fit” for the first stop on their career journey.  Whether the economy is strong or weak, an alumni that is passionate about what they do and has clear expectations about what they want to accomplish will always be a positive contributor to any company.

(The “Collegiate Employment Research Institute” (CERI) has consolidated this information into a series of short reports available on their website at: http://www.ceri.msu.edu/)