Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Students Benefit From School/business Partnership

Grand Prairie—Grand Prairie ISD’s John A Dubiski Career High School partners with the HOLT CAT company to provide some students with a paid internship program.

“As a community, we are compelled to create a positive environment that supports and provides resources to those who want to join the skilled labor force,” Peter J. Holt, CEO and general manager of HOLT CAT, said. “Career and technical education (CTE) programs expose students to the trades and the multitude of career opportunities available across industries. HOLT is a proud partner of several high schools and trade schools throughout Texas.

“Businesses and the community benefit from CTE programs by bridging the skills gap, filling the needs of the local labor market, improving the economic mobility of the emerging workforce and strengthening the competitiveness of the regional economy.”

“We have seen these types of programs work in other locations, and we wanted to offer that same opportunity to students at Dubiski,”Beki Hutchison, senior vice president for human resources at HOLT CAT, said. “HOLT formed a partnership with John A. Dubiski Career High School in Grand Prairie in 2012. Since the inception of the program, many of our interns have successfully transitioned into a full-time career with HOLT.

“Junior and senior high school students are offered paid internships and world-class training by pairing them with seasoned technicians to learn about repairing and maintaining heavy equipment and engines. The interns graduate from Dubiski with the basic skills in the heavy equipment industry required to join the workforce as entry-level technicians.

“We offer our interns a variety of opportunities.The program is designed to provide technical skills and career development for high school students and beyond. Students come in to these programs to learn about safety, service, Cat quality, parts and preventative maintenance from the ground up.

“In San Antonio and Irving, HOLT’s program also includes other internship opportunities in marketing, finance, and information technology,” Hutchison said. “All interns in the program are paid as part-time HOLT employees.

“Our goal is to continuously grow the program by partnering with additional schools and increasing the number of students participating. Technical education and training is fundamental to HOLT’s future success and the success of our workforce. We will continue to invest in the development of our employees, education and workforce programs because we recognize the need for top talent.”

As a student, Ethan Watterson, was involved in the internship program, which started in the fall of 2016 and lasted about nine months.

“I originally went into what’s the parks department [in Grand Prairie],” Watterson said. “I was like a warehouse clerk. During the winter, I would go into the IT department and help them fix some of the physical problems they had with the laptops and things.

“The program was one of the main ones they had back at my high school, Dubiski Career High School,” Watterson said. “It was one of the real big advertised ones. I think [the program] normally would pull in like fifteen to twenty kids a year to be interns throughout the whole facility in Irving.

“Working within the warehouse allowed me to really pick my schedule. I was able to go to school in the afternoon pretty reliably. Even if I needed to take a day off for classes that were only available in the morning, they were totally okay with it. It definitely allowed me to have a healthy work and school balance.”