From staff reports
---- — Joby Renbarger has been tweaking a database, which engineers use to document issues. Sofia Stout is coaching executives on public speaking for an upcoming audit.
Both IUK seniors-to-be are among 11 students working paid internships at Chrysler Group LLC this summer, as part of an ongoing partnership between Indiana University Kokomo and the auto manufacturer.
It is the first large-scale internship program between the company and the campus, according to IUK spokeswoman Danielle Rush.
The students are using their skills to provide leadership training, prepare executives for an upcoming audit presentation, develop project tracking programs and communication workshops, and create recruiting videos, among other projects.
Renbarger called the internship “a giant step to completing my future goals,” including earning a Master of Business Administration degree after he graduates.
“The goal is to bring us all in to complete projects,” said Renbarger, who is getting ready to start practice with the IUK Cougars basketball team. “I wanted this internship because I have heard many great things about Chrysler, and I know this can be the starting point to my future.”
Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke proposed the internship program to Brad Clark, Chrysler Group’s general manager of the transmission and casting division, Rush said.
“Our students are receiving invaluable training, while providing a real benefit to Chrysler,” Sciame-Giesecke said. “This is a positive program for all involved, and I am proud to offer this opportunity to our students
through our partnership.”
Lori Hoback, manufacturing planning specialist, said Chrysler focused on its needs in leadership, communication, employee training, and computer skills, when choosing the first interns.
Stout, a public relations major, is helping to prepare executives for their upcoming World Class Manufacturing audit presentations.
Chrysler is shooting for a bronze rating, and there’s pressure riding on the presentations. Other companies will look at the rating, Stout said, and feel more comfortable doing business with a company which shows dedication to process improvement.
“I love my job,” she said. “Public speaking is not an easy thing to do. If I can help these executives feel more comfortable and prepared while standing behind the podium, that is enough satisfaction for me. Helping others, and especially helping people communicate to reach a team goal, is what drives me to work hard and to do well.”
Rush said the internships will last for varying amounts of time, according to Chrysler’s needs, and said plans are in the works to continue the program next year.