Bishop-Wisecarver will launch its first-ever paid internship program this summer for mechanical and mechatronic engineer students in support of local science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives. The San Francisco Bay Area-based company that specializes in linear and curvilinear motion technologies just started accepting applications for the three-month program this month. Pamela Kan, president of Bishop-Wisecarver, said the internships fit in with her family practice of supporting STEM education. "Bishop-Wisecarver has always been involved in school and STEM programs, starting with my father and now with me," Kan said. "I recently wrote on my blog about the lack of skilled workers for manufacturing and strongly feel that businesses can no longer count on our school system to produce the type of employees we need for advanced manufacturing."
Internships give students a better idea of what to expect in their future careers and prepares them with practical skill sets, she continued. "Manufacturers have to take an active role in creating internship and apprenticeship programs that give students a view of all opportunities that exist in manufacturing and help them prepare with hands-on experiences that make them a valuable part of a manufacturing team," Kan said.
More companies should offer those opportunities, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, especially given the decline of a skilled domestic labor force. "It's great to see manufacturers such as Bishop-Wisecarver create opportunities for students to gain the training and skills necessary for careers in manufacturing," said association President and CEO Jay Timmons. "Advanced education and training is essential to the competitiveness of manufacturers. The need for manufacturing internship opportunities is greater now than ever before."
Two engineers from Bishop-Wisecarver recently spoke at a mechanical engineering class at the University of California, Berkeley, where they collected the first set of internship applications. Ali Jabbari, vice president of engineering, said internships are an invaluable part of learning about engineering and manufacturing. Jabbari earned an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and a doctorate from University of California, Berkeley - both in mechanical engineering. After a stint teaching engineering at UC Berkeley, he continued his career in research engineering, then practical engineering, working on next-generation lithography machines for Nikon Research Corporation then electromagnetic transducers for Tymphany Corporation. His expertise lies in motion control, dynamic systems and automation.
"Participating in an internship program will also give engineering students a venue to put their classroom education into practice," Jabbari said. "Guided by this belief, we have put in place a program that offers local engineering students internship opportunities in mechanical and mechatronics engineering."
Senior Project Engineer Ariel Oriel said his early-career internship at a medical equipment manufacturer gave him a leg up over his peers. "Internships not only provide the opportunities for the students to put into practice the knowledge gained in the classroom, but also provide valuable insight to the nature of a real working environment," Oriel said. "It exposes students to the intricacies of the dynamic relationships among working peers, which in many ways are vastly different from their academic peers. This exposure would help shape the intern to effectively interact with others in various departments that would ultimately prove beneficial throughout their career."