DEARBORN - It’s that time of year again when Ford Motor Company opens its doors to a flurry of fresh, new faces.
Orientations are currently being held for the more than 360 interns who will spend the summer with Ford. The college students will be working in all areas of the company, and they will be located primarily in Southeastern Michigan.
While the interns earn college credit and gain valuable work experience during the time they spend at Ford, the company benefits as well, according to Tiffani Orange, U.S. Recruiting Strategy.
“The internship program is one of Ford’s primary sources of entry-level employees,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re bringing in good talent and this gives us the opportunity to see the interns at work. It’s much like a three-month interview process.”
While future employment is not guaranteed, Orange says it’s often possible.
“Generally speaking if the interns do well and there are opportunities within the skill team, then they may receive an offer of full-time employment,” she said.
Orange says Ford looks for special qualities when selecting interns.
“Obviously there are the technical skills and they need to do well on their given assignment,” she explained. “And then we also look for ‘21st century skills,’ a term we used for skills like problem-solving, team-building, understanding the global perspective and the enterprise view.”
Enthusiasm for the job is another prerequisite.
“That goes without saying,” said Orange. “They have to have a passion for the business.”
This year’s interns are definitely not short on enthusiasm.
“I’ve always been a big car person so when I heard that Ford was looking for interns I was really excited to do something that I was really passionate about,” said Ellen Cornelius, a student from Michigan State University who will be doing her internship in Ford’s Purchasing department.
Jessica Shelby, also from Michigan State University, will be doing her internship in Product Development.
“I’m going to be working on designing an application for your phone that allows you to unlock your car from your phone instead of using your key fob,” she said. “I’m really excited.”
Sam Tucker, a Mechanical Engineering student from Ohio State University, will be working with Chassis Engineering on noise control.
“It seems like I’ll be out on the test track for a good part of my internship so I’m really excited to drive the cars,” he said. “I’ve always driven a Ford. I just like what the company is doing with their cars, and I’m really intrigued with the strides that they’re taking to be a leader in the American auto industry.”
Theo Reinke, a Computer Science major from Purdue University, will be bringing his talents to Information Technology.
“They told me I’d be working on their credit suite of applications, testing and verifying that it’s working as it should,” he said. “I’m very excited. I’ve always had an interest in cars and Ford is a very prestigious company to work for.”
And Eduardo Rondon, a graduate student from the University of Florida studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, will be spending the summer with Product Development in the Body Group.
“When you look at the Big Three it just seems that Ford is a little more ethical in the fact that they didn’t take taxpayer money for a bailout. Also, the company has great leadership under Mr. Mulally. He’s completely turned Ford around,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting to be a part of that and hopefully continue with it down the line.”
Orange encourages Ford employees to be welcoming to the interns and help introduce them to Southeastern Michigan.
“That’s another reason why internships at Ford are important,” she explained. “We want to promote this area as a great place to work because the majority of interns who go on to take full-time positions with Ford will work here in Dearborn.”