Despite having earned a college degree from an accredited college or university, many graduates lack the basic skills and real-world experience employers look for. According to a recent report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, students are ill-prepared for the job market and are particularly lacking in problem solving, decision making and the ability to prioritize tasks. The report showed the gap between what students thought they knew and what employers found to be true about students coming out of college to be especially large in the areas of innovation and creativity.
One way to help students prepare for the working world is through internships. In fact, a 2013 study from the Association of American Colleges and Universities found most employers support activities that engage students in active work, including internships. TAMKO Building Products, Inc., a leading independent manufacturer of residential and low slope roofing products, composite decking and railing, waterproofing and cements and coatings, helped students fuel innovation and gain real-world experience by hiring them as interns.
This summer, 10 college students worked as interns at TAMKO in the Joplin, Missouri-area where the company is headquartered. The interns had the chance to work in engineering, accounting, production and research and development. As interns, these students gained experience working in a fast-paced environment and actively communicating and collaborating with TAMKO team members. Along with helping students gain experience, TAMKO benefited from their fresh perspective and ideas.
The internships also enabled students to see how the knowledge they’ve gained from their school work compares to working in a fast-paced, real-world work environment.
Landon Taylor, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering student at the University of Arkansas, was one of the interns and spent the summer creating mechanical systems using design software. Taylor said the internship helped him enhance his technical and problem solving skills, and the experience he acquired will give him an advantage among his peers in the classroom and when applying for jobs.