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Making A Difference: Investing In the Next-Generation

What better way to influence the next generation workforce than through paid internships! From its founding, RCI has had as a core value to invest in future generations, and we have seen our interns go on to do some remarkable work in their chosen fields.

Recently, RCI was pleased to bring on board Joe Noble as a senior consultant, after his retirement from Biersdorff. The company he had given decades to has experienced many name changes over the years, but Joe remained a loyal asset to the company in the areas of Continuous Improvement and Workforce Development.

During his time at the company, Joe utilized RCI interns on many occasions. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Joe about his experiences with interns and here's what he had to say:

"Schering Plough (three names ago) first used a RCI intern in 2006. The intern was a recent college graduate and was helping us implement a Lean Laboratory project. The goal of the project was to introduce Lean Methodology in an Analytical Testing Laboratory. We had a great experience with this particular intern. During the project he was a boots-on-the ground asset, doing all things required to install a working 5S program. He worked closely with the Chemists and Analysts to determine their needs and translated them into functional solutions. This work laid the groundwork for a truly transformational change in the laboratory. The project won the Company Award for best Lean Project, was the basis for an article in an Analytical Laboratory publication, and the intern was eventually hired and is now the Director of Quality for the site."

Joe had several other stories about utilizing RCI interns, but at the end of our conversation, I asked him what stood out to him throughout his experience, specifically on what made them successful. He said:

"The RCI lead assigned to the interns had regular communication with the stakeholders, this included project updates but also challenging the interns to develop a plan for the next period of time. The RCI lead would then hold the interns accountable for their progress. There were also regular brainstorming sessions to ensure all perspectives were considered before the implementation of an idea. Finally, work ethic and personal accountability were constantly in the forefront to ensure success and customer satisfaction."

A few things stand out: communication, planning, work ethic, and accountability. These are all the things that lead to both a successful project and a quality workforce. If you are having trouble finding employees with these characteristics or you don't currently have a strong relationship with local high schools, colleges, and universities, I would encourage to come up with a plan to invest in the next generation. It will not only make a difference in your company, it will make a difference in your community and the lives of the future workforce.


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