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[Source: INEDA, 11.2016 | Keywords: Human Resources, Recruiting]

A few years ago, Bruce Logan and Nick Sinn of Logan Contractors Supply, Inc., decided that the industrial equipment industry needed to do more to appeal to future employees entering the marketplace. So, they developed an internship program geared toward high school juniors and seniors interested in learning more about the distributor side of the business. 

“There is a need within our industry to promote what a great working environment we offer,” said Sinn. “With all of the new technology coming out, mechanics and technicians are becoming harder to find, so we decided to target that group first.”

Their first two interns were students from Saydel High School in Des Moines, Iowa. The school already had a school-to-work program in place, which made implementing the program much easier. “We developed our internship program in conjunction with their program,” said Sinn.

The 24-week paid internship offered flexible hours based on the student’s availability and interest (10 to 20 hours per week). “Things went really well,” said Sinn, who added that both students have now gone on to college, one for mechanical engineering and the other for business management. “I would love to see them both come back to the dealership full-time following graduation.”

According to Sinn, employee response to the program was tremendous. “Working with these young adults really gave our employees a sense of worth. They enjoyed helping the interns develop on-the-job skills and sharing personal stories with them about how much they’ve grown with our company and why it’s great to work in this industry.”

Currently, Logan Contractors Supply is working with other Des Moines metro schools to develop similar partnerships. “We recognize that good things take time to develop and are working to create more programs within our business and the industry in general,” said Sinn. This includes expanding the internship program to other areas of the dealership, such as sales or management.

“With Baby Boomers moving on, Gen Xers moving up and Millennials entering the workforce, it’s more important than ever for our business and industry to be on the cutting edge,” said Sinn. “Our internships help these young people learn more about the industrial equipment industry and potentially direct them toward a career path at a distributor like us.”

He added that it can prove challenging to change perceptions. “Everyone thinks of technology as a sleek industry, especially when you think of companies like Apple. However, our industry is full of cutting-edge technology as well. So, it’s important that we continue working hard to create awareness of the countless opportunities available in our industry.”

Sinn looks forward to watching their internship program evolve. “Down the road, we’d like to see at least five individuals who went through our internship program back to work at Logan Contractors Supply after college. However, even if they don’t come back to work for us, I’m proud that we were able to help them grow and better understand this industry.”

He concluded, “Our goal is to create an awareness of all sides of the industrial equipment industry, from the distributor, to the contractor, manufacturer and more. The industrial equipment industry plays a large role in the infrastructure in this country and maintaining the American dream. At Logan Contractors, we want to do our part to keep that dream alive.”