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At Mack Molding, Interns Mean Business

Image: Pressmaster/Adobe Stock manufacturing interns
Interns are assigned to projects that are based on actual business needs, providing them with real-world experience they can show their prospective employer. Sometimes, that employer turns out to be Mack Molding.

Mack Molding had a productive summer, thanks to strong demand for the company’s full suite of contract manufacturing services and a little help from its summer interns. Mack welcomed 15 students into its 2021 program — 13 at its headquarters in Arlington, VT, and one each at its Cavendish, VT, facility and at its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mack Prototype, in Gardner, MA. Mack Molding has had an internship program for many years, but its current program was created in 2011 as a response to workforce development demands.

This year’s cohort is predominantly made up of engineering students, but it also includes nursing, finance, and business administration majors. “Due to COVID and our desire to give interns the safest environment possible, this was not the largest internship program we have ever had,” said Mack Molding President Jeff Somple. “In terms of impact, however, this group shined bright. After a year of lockdowns and remote learning, our students were excited to be on location getting truly hands-on experience.”

Each intern is assigned a project that is based on actual business needs, providing them with real-world experience they can show prospective employers. Besides the job, Mack offers its interns a host of other skill- and network-building experiences.

This includes a series of Lunch ‘n’ Learns, where senior staff members and seasoned employees make presentations of various aspects of the business, conduct facility tours, and help develop skills such as maintaining a professional social media presence. By the end of the summer, the students turn the tables, presenting the results of their projects to their peers and Mack’s senior management. Additionally, interns are paired with young professionals who serve as mentors. They also are offered memberships to a local golf club or gym, giving students a chance to be active while networking with fellow Mack team members and the community.

One of the student interns, Nicole McCarvill, a mechanical engineering major at New York’s Stony Brook University, commented: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Mack, especially experiencing how all the different departments contribute to getting finished goods out the door. It was pretty cool to see how my efforts to organize a manufacturing line had a direct impact on operations, making work easier for others and improving productivity.”

This year’s program was funded in part by the Vermont Department of Labor’s 2021 Vermont Internship Program, designed to connect Vermont’s employers with student interns from regional technical centers or post-secondary educational institutions. The program helps develop the region’s workforce by giving students a chance to build careers in the state.

“The state of Vermont shares Mack’s commitment to giving these young professionals an opportunity to see how rewarding a career and a life in southern Vermont can be,” said Somple. “As we all strive to recover from the pandemic, retaining young professionals in — and attracting them to — Vermont is critical to the industries that do business here.”

To date, Mack has hosted more than 100 interns, more than 20 of whom have taken full-time positions at the company after graduating.

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