Internships and apprenticeships

Another great way industry operations are fighting the employee shortage is through internship programs.

These short-term employment opportunities give students a chance to experience day-to-day life in a business, says Mack.

Accuride teams with schools around its Evansville, Ind., headquarters to fill its internship program. Students entering the program are hired for a set period of time and once on staff, they are given projects and tasks consistent with full-time employees.

Mack says this gives the students a real-world experience within the operation and allows Accuride to see how the students might respond in a larger capacity. It also provides the best marketing possible, word of mouth.

“The word of mouth really gets out there,” Mack says. “We’ve been at job fairs and people come to our booth and say ‘I had you marked. I wanted to see about your company’ and that’s really great. It’s reassuring to know it is working.”

But it’s important to note word of mouth is not immediate. Recruiting takes dedication and time.

“When we first went to campuses there was very little awareness about [Alcoa],” Thomas says. “We’d see students run to Google, Microsoft. They didn’t really know us.

“But once we were able to show them you can finish school and have a really successful career and you don’t have to just work for one of those companies — once we were able to bring that to light — we started seeing that brand awareness and interest in Alcoa.”

Internship programs also can double as grooming programs for potential managers and executives, which can be enticing for companies and employees alike.

Marc Karon says he’s created an apprenticeship program at Total Truck Parts specifically for this reason.

“I think a lot of people hire seasonal employees and then put them out on the dock or stocking trucks and that doesn’t do anything for them,” says the Total Truck Parts president. “That’s the non-opportunistic side of the business.

“We will have them ride around with a salesperson, or shadow a counter employee so they see everything that’s out there.”

This meshes with another important recruiting aspect: employee training. To read about employee training, click here.

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