Students get foot in door with summer jobs with area industrial companies

Internships enrich education

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Kenai Peninsula College's 2002 spring semester has come to a close and another group of happy graduates have flown from the KPC nest.

Their time at KPC has enriched their knowledge and given them life skills that will be valuable to them forever. They serve as wonderful examples to fellow students who continue to persevere in their college careers. Some of those students are very excited about what they will be doing this summer.

Kenai Peninsula College has been working with the oil and gas industry to establish internships for KPC students. This program was developed by industry as a way to give students, who are also potential employees, an overview of the jobs they may apply for at graduation.

It also gives the students a unique opportunity to demonstrate their skills and strengths to the individuals who may someday be their bosses.

Although an internship is not a guarantee of employment, the program gives interns an advantage. Because they are considered temporary employees, they are able to participate in all the normal training and certification programs offered full-time employees.

The program is designed so that the interns rotate through both drilling operations and oil and gas sections of the processing system.

The Alaska process industry has been very supportive of the internship program. They see the value of having employees with a strong fundamental educational foundation that includes math and communication skills.

The intern's general knowledge of the process industry enables them to know the right questions to ask and their learning curve is much quicker.

Last summer, Kenai Peninsula College had seven student interns hired by British Petroleum. Of those seven interns, two have since become full-time employees of the company. This year KPC has fared even better in terms of securing internships for students. Of eight available openings with BP, five internships were awarded to KPC students.

Phillips Alaska has seven internships this year, with five received by KPC process technology students. Unocal has only one opening in the program this summer and KPC's Brian Baker, a second-year process tech student, has accepted that position.

According to Dave Spann, Kenai Peninsula College's engineering and petroleum technology professor, the four-month long internship program is a win-win proposition for everyone involved. The students get an opportunity to put into practice all they have learned in the classroom.

According to KPC student and Phillips Alaska 2002 intern, B.J. Hollenbeck, the opportunity will give her real world experience to apply the theoretical knowledge she has been accumulating. She admits to some pre-intern anxieties in regards to her first work experience in a new industry.

However, the excitement of the new opportunity outweighs her anxiousness. B.J. looks forward to applying her education to her chosen career.

For more information on the internship program, call Dave Spann at 262-0365 or Student Services at 262-0330.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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