Students are stepping out of the classroom and into local manufacturing facilities to gain valuable hands-on training thanks to a partnership with Caterpillar and Lafayette Quality Products. Students in McCutcheon High School's Engineering Design and Development (EDD) class work alongside manufacturing engineers to find ways to make production more efficient and safe. Teacher Justin Resler says students have an opportunity to see if their interests are reinforced and grow in these career fields.
"With this high school internship and on-site experience, students can also make themselves more appealing to future employers looking to hire for college-level internships," says Resler. "We have multiple former students who have used their EDD class internship experience as a springboard to college internships, college employment and post-college careers. Caterpillar currently employs multiple students who first started out in the EDD internship as seniors at McCutcheon High School."
"I learned that the job is a lot of safety and how to improve the workplace, as well as getting ideas out and putting them in use," says senior Ruben Morales. He plans to pursue electrical trades and says his experience at Caterpillar showed him what direction he wanted to go.
The experience also reinforced senior Braydon Tilley's desire to pursue a career in technology. "Going out onto the production line, collecting data from the machine, then analyzing the data collected was quite the learning experience," Braydon says. "I will attend Vincennes University through an internship program, called the AIM program. AIM stands for "Advanced Internship in Manufacturing," and consists of a work-study program with Lafayette manufacturers.
This is the first year for the TSC to partner with Lafayette Quality Projects. Senior Sean Kuntz designed printing fixtures for an automated stamping machine. "I discovered my career here" says Sean. "This internship is a great opportunity for students interested in precision machining and manufacturing."Caterpillar, Assembly engineering Manager Brian Sanders says this final class in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) series gives students an opportunity to experience manufacturing processes and techniques and gives them a chance to discover new passions and talents. "Caterpillar has been participating in PLTW for 10 years and the manufacturing engineers look forward to it each year."