A local Caterpillar facility recently celebrated the graduation of 35 high school interns, as part of the facilities E4Life Program. Through this opportunity the students gained experience in the workplace by focusing on developing their manufacturing skills through quality and maintenance tasks.
E4Life was established to create unique developmental roles for students who may not have access to such opportunities. “E4” stands for education, employment, economic foundation, and essential skills for life. The program prepares student trainees for career opportunities by teaching essential skills as well as economic fundamentals such as budgeting, finance and health care.
Benton Gilmore, a student participant said, “I learned the skills of responsibility and dependability; and that hard work pays off.”
The intent of this program is to express the importance of growing and diversifying our skilled trade workforce, in addition to improving retention. E4Life helps develop a sustainable talent pipeline for career-ready high schoolers and college-bound students. Caterpillar has hired several students from the program and has begun pilots for replication with a STEM career focus.
“Supporting this program was one of the easiest decisions we made this year,” said Alex Perez-Sandi, Caterpillar manager. “Watching these kids flourish and grow as professionals and as people was extremely rewarding to all of us in the Mapleton facility. The connection we made with the communities these kids came from is priceless, especially when we are trying to develop a strong talent pipeline for the future.”
Colton Etter, a student participant, worked within the quality department and provided advice to other students considering the E4Life Program. He said, “If the opportunity comes up, take it, because most high school students don’t get this kind of opportunity. It’s good firsthand experience.”
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