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Non-profit looks to puts high school students on track for careers in manufacturing and logistics industries

Hiring Hoosiers
Posted: 5:30 AM, Jan 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-25 23:28:21-05
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Hiring Hoosiers is a new initiative from RTV6 that works to connect Hoosiers to employment opportunities, career development resources, training programs and educational paths. In our Hiring Hoosiers reports we are taking a closer look at barriers to employment and things that get in the way of people getting the jobs they need to support themselves and their families. For more information, visit HiringHoosiers.com.

INDIANAPOLIS — High school students considering a career in manufacturing and logistics have an opportunity to get a first-hand look at jobs in these industries.

Conexus Indiana is a non-profit focused on connecting high school students with Indiana’s advance manufacturing and logistics industries. In six, 40-hour work weeks over the summer, high school students can complete a paid internship through any of more than 150 manufacturing and logistics companies across the state.

In a male-dominated industry, 19-year-old Maya Sears, of Avon, is working to stand out.

“I worked at Allison Transmission and I was in the quality & liability lab there so I worked a lot with warranty parts,” Sears, who is now a freshman mechanical engineering student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, said.

Sears got the job in 2017 through a paid internship with Conexus Indiana.

“Conexus puts you in touch with the people you need to know,” Sears said. “They give the companies your resume and then the companies can reach out to you.”

LEARN MORE | Conexus Indiana

The program is available to Indiana high school students over the age of 16.

“You got to hit it hard,” Sears said. “Being at Allison put me in a good position for that because it was just the real world, it wasn't like I was at an internship honestly. It was like I was an employee there, I didn't go get coffee, I was helping put parts into transmissions and that kind of thing.”

In the last five years, Conexus has placed more than 870 students into workforce experience all before entering college.

“Without exposure to these industries students are not going to opt into it as a career field,” Tracey Everett, director of talent programs at Conexus Indiana. “Our industries are desperate for talent and being able to build a pipeline of students coming out of high school and going into the industries is critically important."

Everett started the Conexus intern program to connect Hoosier manufacturing and engineering companies with future full-time employees.

“They are learning both technical skills and soft skills in a work environment,” Everett said. “One of the biggest things that students can learn, because often this can be their first job, is how to be an employee, and how to go to work, and how to work hard. And then they are also coupling that with skills that they can potentially use in their future career.”

Conexus interns are provided a free two-day seminar to learn employment skills as well. These are skills that Sears said taught her valuable skills to take with her to not only use in college, but also to soar in her career goals.

“I know how to display myself and how to put myself out there for someone to want to hire me and want to take my resume and want to consider me,” she said. “The next summer I am looking at working at either the CIA or the NSA, and that's where I am really looking at right now. Maybe Boeing or NASA.”

Each internship is paid starting at $9/hour, with six 40-hour weeks. Applications for the 2019 summer program are due by Jan. 31.

To apply students must:

• Be at least 16 years old
• Be a current sophomore, junior or senior
• Have an attendance rate of 95 percent or better fall semester
• Have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better
• Be enrolled in or have recently completed relevant coursework
• Be referred by an educator

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