Photo by Diana Conard. Pictured left to right are machining student Wendy Hansen, instructor Doug Cabe and machining student Jacob Messer. Hansen and Messer are completing internships at ConMet in Canton where they will be able to apply what they learn in class.

There’s nothing more valuable to a student than applying what they learn in the classroom to a real life job setting. For two Haywood Community College computer-integrated machining students, they are earning wages while completing an internship at ConMet. Wendy Hansen and Tuscola High School senior Jacob Messer, are getting their foot in the door at the local Canton plant while learning along the way.

ConMet supplies injection molded, structural foam, gas counter pressure and highly decorative plastic products in a wide range of press sizes from 250-Ton to 4,000-Ton machines. The Canton facility produces products primarily for the heavy truck industry.

“This is the first time we’ve had this opportunity with ConMet and it is great for our students,” HCC computer-integrated machining instructor Doug Cabe says. “We teach these students what they need to get started. Everything they are learning now, they will put into use at ConMet.”

Messer is taking classes at HCC through the Career and College Promise Program. Through the program, he is able to earn college credit tuition free. In addition to machining, he is also taking automotive classes. After graduation, Messer will continue at HCC to earn an associate degree in machining.

“What I’ve learned at HCC will give me a head start,” Messer explains. “Through this internship, I will get my foot in the door.”

For Hansen, she started her time at HCC earning a High School Equivalency diploma and was encouraged by the staff to continue her education. “If I go to college, my son will have a better chance to go too,” she explains. “I’ve loved every class I’ve had.”

Hansen explains that the machining program is enjoyable to her because she likes making things with her hands. She is hopeful that the ConMet internship will be the start of a good career. “This internship fits perfect with my home life, mom life and school life.”

“We are very excited to have established this level of partnership with HCC,” Everett Lynch and Lina Krisciokaityte from ConMet HR team explain. “The college has been extremely supportive throughout the whole process. We hope that the students will have a great learning experience at ConMet.”

Currently, more than 20 local companies hire students from HCC’s machining program. “We’re proud of our students,” Cabe says. “They are doing well and starting jobs in a field that promises a great career.”

Registration for fall semester is underway now. For more information about computer-integrated machining or registration, visit haywood.edu or email hcc-advising@haywood.edu.