Internships are Key

Most students realize that an internship offers an invaluable learning experience because it is a chance to apply classroom theories in real-world settings, but for some students, an internship can also ensure job security beyond graduation.

For students studying in skilled trades and/or management through NMU’s School of Technology and Applied Sciences, summer is typically the time to get a foot in the door with the right internship.    

This summer, construction management students Caleb Hayes and Alan Hinds found the Van Antwerp residence hall renovation to be an important opportunity. Hayes and Hinds were involved with this project in the classroom as well as on site, and they have gained a more thorough understanding of their field through this combination.   

“We came up with estimates [for Van Antwerp] in my Estimating class,” said Hayes. Hayes admits the numbers need tweaking. “Once I was on the job, I saw how far off some of the estimates were,” but he said it was a chance to see how plans can sometimes shift between the desk and the jobsite. 

Hayes has worked a desk job for NMU’s Office of Engineering and Planning since fall 2006 and interned as a student project manager for them this summer. Although he is far from graduation, Hayes knows that this experience “will definitely help” him to succeed when he enters the workforce.

Hinds agreed that classes such as Legal Aspects, Estimating, and Scheduling and Planning (in which they created a working schedule for the Van Antwerp renovations) allowed him to feel “able to go out and work.”

This was Hinds’ second summer interning on a residence hall renovation project with general contractor, Gundlach Champion, and with only one semester of college left, he can already feel secure; they have offered him a job upon graduation.

“Getting internships can be competitive,” Hinds said, “but they’re worth it.”

Hayes and Hinds know that coupling classroom knowledge with summer internships has equipped them with the necessary tools for promising futures in construction management.