Making a Plan
Internships and apprenticeships offer a career taste test.
Turning “No” into “Yes”
Alyssa Ten Eyck graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in communications in 2008. She was diligent in applying for positions and networking to find job opportunities. She applied for an internal communications position with aviation company Embraer in Fort Lauderdale, knowing she was not fully qualified for the job.
“I had the education background for the role, but despite my lack of work experience, I decided to go for it anyway,” Alyssa says.
Alyssa made it through a very extensive interview process. Embraer liked her — she was a good fit — but not for that job. She accepted the rejection well and made it known she was interested in other opportunities with the company.
“I really liked it there while I was interviewing,” says Alyssa. “I appreciated the time they invested in choosing the right candidate, even if it wasn’t me.”
Embraer later had a need for more help and thought of Alyssa. It was an internship — less prestigious than the job she originally applied for — but it did come with a paycheck. The real payoff was in the experience she gained. Alyssa worked hard, assimilated quickly, and when a permanent position as an internal communications specialist opened up, she got the offer.
APPRENTICESHIPS: LEARN AND EARN
If you like working with your hands and seeing the results of your labor, you may want to consider a field in a skilled trade such as manufacturing, construction, drafting, culinary arts and a variety of other industry sectors.
Skilled workers, especially in manufacturing, are in demand. Today’s manufacturing jobs are most often performed in state-of-the-art, innovative facilities. But highly specialized equipment requires highly specialized employees to operate the equipment. An apprenticeship is a great way to learn those skills while earning a paycheck.
An apprenticeship is similar to on-the-job training in that you are hired as an employee and receive a base salary. Your employment comes with an education/training program that requires you to meet performance levels or pass test requirements to move to the next level. Training is usually provided by craftsmen who are the best at their trades.
At the end of your apprenticeship, you should earn national certifications along with the higher pay scale they command. Most companies that invest in apprentices expect that you will stay as a long-term employee. Programs vary by positions and can last anywhere from 18 months to six years.
Check with trade organizations (homebuilders, manufacturers, etc.) or contact the One-Stop Career Center in your area to find out what’s available.
Visit the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship at www.doleta.gov/oa.