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Internship Program with Local Employer Leads to Full-Time Career

Paid internship program for SBVC welding students provides pathway to full-time employment with California Steel Industries, Inc. Informational sessions for spring and summer term applicants will be held on December 3.

Jimmie De Marco, 26, is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a current SBVC student. Earlier this year, he was one of a select few who was chosen to participate in an internship program that has led to full-time employment at California Steel Industries, Inc. (CSI).

“I really didn’t have any experience at all. I knew a little bit about cars and that was about it,” said De Marco.

Determined to make the most of the opportunity, Jimmie passed the assessment test to qualify for the internship, studied hard, and put his knowledge to use with on-the-job-training. The internship was paid, with benefits, which have now carried over to his full-time employment status.

Based in Fontana, California Steel Industries, Inc. is the leading producer of flat rolled steel and API grade pipe steel products in Western North America with $1.4 billion in annual revenue. As a premier Inland Empire employer with 956 employees, CSI is set to grow nearly 50% in the next 5 to 7 years. Due to growth and retirements, CSI expanded its internal development of Mechanical Maintenance craft employees who install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair technologically advanced manufacturing equipment.

“It is getting more difficult every year to find the highly-skilled craft employees we need to keep our technologically-advanced mills running. For this reason, we developed an internal training program and partnered with SBVC through the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire to produce mechanics with the expertise required to meet our need,” said Rick Pettit, Human Resources Specialist in Technical Training & Recruiting at CSI. “While this program has been very successful, it has not been able to meet the demand due to growth and the increasing number of retirements. For that reason, California Steel decided to reach out to SBVC students in the hopes of finding interns with the aptitude and drive to forge a career as an Industrial Maintenance Mechanic.”

In the summer of 2013, the groundbreaking partnership between SBVC and CSI was launched with 12 students. The paid internship (with a salary of $21.45/hour) included full medical benefits. Students spent three days a week learning their trade in an SBVC classroom and two days each week applying what they learned at the actual steel mill.

De Marco had nothing but positive things to say about his experiences at SBVC and CSI—including his transition from an intern into a full-time employee.

“This is the kind of job I love. This is a career,” said De Marco with a tone of satisfaction.

Pettit’s viewpoint on the program corroborated De Marco’s experiences.

“We have to take care of our employees, they’re the backbone of our company,” Pettit said.

Pettit was thoroughly satisfied with the results of the internship and said that there would definitely be another internship hosted by CSI at SBVC in the next year--and every other year after that.

“I think [the internship] was really successful”, stated Achala Chatterjee, SBVC’s Dean of Applied Technology, Transportation and Culinary Arts and coordinator of the CSI Internship Program. “SBVC interns’ average score on the job knowledge test given by CSI was an 80 (61 was a passing score). Without the dedication of SBVC’s faculty, the internship could not have been as much of a success as it was.”

CSI will begin recruitment for another round of internship-to-employment with SBVC when they host informational sessions on campus at 4 p.m. on October 29 and December 3rd in Technical Room 101 (T-101).

For information regarding future internship opportunities, contact the Applied Technology, Transportation and Culinary Arts Division Office at 909.384.8904.