Internship Draft Day at Lambeau Field would put to the test years of preparation for the 250-plus prospects from 20 area colleges vying not only for the 300 positions available, but also for the coveted title of No. 1 pick.
“The goal of Internship Draft Day is to get these students engaged with manufacturers particularly,” said Mark Kaiser, president and CEO of Lindquist Machine Corporation of Green Bay, speaking at the third annual event hosted by the NEW Manufacturing Alliance and the Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance on Nov. 9. “There is a significant skills gap that is affecting our ability as manufacturers to have people with the skill sets we need to grow our businesses.”
Students attending the event received “pre-draft” points for the academic performance and extracurricular activities reflected in profiles submitted to organizers before the event. At the event, the competitors earned additional points for their performance in interviews with the 47 employers on hand seeking to fill open internship, apprenticeship and full-time positions.
Kathy Koehler, human resources manager for Hobart-based EMT International and chair of the NEW Manufacturing Talent Taskforce, explained the unique format of the event this way: “The students get an opportunity to meet a lot of different companies. The companies get a lot of opportunities to meet a lot of different students. You have a much more meaningful dialogue than you would at a typical career fair.”
Why Lambeau Field? “What a great venue!” explained Koehler. “Everybody knows the Packers. Everybody knows Lambeau Field. It really just adds an element of excitement and allows us to play with the theme a little bit and make it fun.”
Attendees received draft-day jerseys and monitored their standing on screens throughout the upper level of the stadium’s atrium. After each 15-minute interview session at employer tables throughout the venue, a whistle-wielding event official clad in a black-and-white referee shirt kept both employers and students on task, signaling the end of each round.
Addressing the valuable role internships play in developing Wisconsin’s workforce, Koehler said, “The goal of the event is to find talent. We are very interested at the NEW Manufacturing Alliance to develop that talent pipeline for our manufacturers. Internships are a really important part of that talent pipeline.
“This event is a great way to expose [students] to what we do up here, to meet our people, to learn about our companies,” said Kaiser. “And then, hopefully, when they graduate, we’ll be able to hire them and give them some experience as well during that internship program.”
Ripon College student Claire Schaible is hoping to move back to Green Bay, her hometown, after graduating. She attended Internship Draft Day to explore opportunities in human resources in the finance industry. “I think I got some really good leads, and it was interesting talking to employers,” she said.
Plymouth native and UW-Platteville student Patrick Lemkuil said, “It’s a really cool event—lots of great networking. “I made a lot of really good connections. It’s really easy to have a quite short interview to get that next conversation.”
Top draft pick honors were shared by Andrew Splitt and Jeffrey Reinholtz, roommates studying mechanical engineering and business administration at UW-Platteville who finished with the same composite score. Each received a $1,000 scholarship presented by Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy.