Internships done right feed the worker pipeline

Product and component supply chain issues captured the nation’s attention in the last couple of years, but Indiana companies know there have been even longer-term issues in another supply chain: the one feeding workers into advanced manufacturing and logistics firms.

Employers know all too well that there is no single solution to these issues, but Yorktown’s Mursix would suggest that there is one tool that every employer should have in its worker-recruitment toolbox. The firm has found that bringing young people into the workplace for internships provides value well beyond the temporary additional labor – providing a reliable employee source … so long as it’s done right.

A manufacturer of components for automotive, healthcare and other industries, Mursix has in the past three decades grown from a 20-employee firm with about $3 million in revenue to a 200-employee, $40 million firm. In the course of that growth, the firm routinely has brought interns onboard.

“We look at internships as a pipeline for recruitment and potential retention,” said Mursix Co-owner and VP of Business Development Susan Carlock.

Mursix draws interns from a number of sources, bringing in both high school and post-secondary students for on-the-job experience. Over the years, some of those interns have joined the firm after internships, and some have moved on to take jobs with other advanced manufacturing firms. The company currently has three high school students working as interns.

“We feel like we’re a gateway for a handful of kids, opening their eyes to what we do but also to other jobs in the advanced manufacturing field,” Carlock said.

Isaac Smith serves as an example of what it looks like when an internship works the way one hopes it will. Initially joining Mursix as a Conexus Intern between his junior and senior years in high school, Isaac continued doing work with the firm while he earned his engineering degree at Purdue University. Now, he is a full-time Mursix design engineer.

What made the internship work, Smith says, is the fact that Mursix made sure he got to experience the various steps involved in the design and manufacture of the firm’s products. He was especially fascinated, he said, by the way various departments collaborate along the way.

“We feel it is our duty to have the interns explore what we do from A to Z,” Carlock said.

This emphasis on making sure interns get real experience and opportunities to learn all about the business is essential, Carlock said. To ensure that it can continue to find and develop employees like Isaac, Mursix has developed a very structured internship program that aims to be mutually beneficial to the firm and the intern.

Isaac says it works. With the internship experience, he was able to hit the ground running at Mursix and quickly contribute to items coming off of the production line, an experience he says is incredibly gratifying. “It’s a great atmosphere, and it’s a great feeling knowing that what I do actually matters and goes into products people use every day,” he said.