KOKOMO, Ind. —When Matt Kaiser was thinking about careers in IT, manufacturing wasn’t an area he considered.
As an intern with Stellantis, at the Kokomo Transmission Plant, it’s now at the top of his list.
“It’s kind of cool to fall in love with this work. Every day I find something new, and my co-workers are teaching me so much,” Kaiser said. “I also like the possibilities for growth within the company, and potential to work anywhere in the world, because it is a global company.”
Mike Jozwiak, senior professional and ICT powertrain lead, said both Kaiser and the company benefit from the internship.
“It’s hard to find local talent,” he said. “This is a good way to bring in young people who have good skills, and a new way of looking at things. They can network with us, we can network with them, and we can bring them on board as employees if there are opportunities available."
Jozwiak said Kaiser is working on a high-value project, building a website for employees to troubleshoot their own technology problems, allowing the IT team to focus on larger issues.
“If someone wants to be well-rounded in their IT experience, this is a good place to be,” he said. “Matt is benefiting because it’s opening his eyes to IT in a manner you don’t really realize. You don’t sit at your desk all day; you don’t put on headphones and just answer calls all day. You interact with the people as you help them solve their problems.”
It’s important work, Kaiser said, because employees rely on technology to function and for production to continue.
“We have days there’s just the general, ‘I can’t log into my computer,’ and days where we ran out to an electrician who was having trouble connecting to a machine, and I was able to get him connected,” he said, adding there has been plenty of support along the way. “I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t want to help.”
While most of Kaiser’s work has been in Kokomo, he and about 230 interns throughout the company also visited Stellantis’ Auburn Hills Complex in Auburn Hills, Michigan. They toured the technology center and met with executive leadership, who encouraged them to reach out to anyone within the company with questions.
In addition, he has participated in lunches with leadership, and met people including Stellantis chief design officer Ralph Gilles, who styled the 2005 Chrysler 300 that was North American Car of the Year, and Daria Colvett, chief information officer.
Kaiser is interested in coming back to work full time after he graduates and said having the experience and people who know him within the company will make him stand out from other candidates.
Jozwiak said that’s one of the reasons Stellantis offers internships.
“When they come in, they learn this is not an opportunity you can get anywhere else,” he said. “We definitely prefer they come back here to work with us.”
Tracy Springer, director of the career and accessibility center, said while IU Kokomo has had interns at Stellantis for several years, Kaiser is the first in IT.
She called the relationship and collaboration the campus has with the company “vital to the community,” and noted that many past participants began careers there after graduating.
“The internship they provide is a high-class experience that provides the students with valuable hands-on opportunities,” she said. “They not only gain important employability skills; they also can network and build relationships with upper management.”
Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.