This summer YKK AP America Inc. hosted 5 interns at their Dublin manufacturing plant through the Summer Youth Works program. This initiative came together in partnership with the City of Dublin, Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and the Heart of Georgia College and Career Academy.
The program’s objectives include increasing internship, apprenticeship and mentorship opportunities for students in and around the City of Dublin. The program runs for eight weeks, from June through July, and provides gainful opportunities for local youth, connecting them with potential employers, and providing positive role models and structured activities.
Sheila Powell, organizational excellence business partner at YKK AP America Inc., was one of the company’s mentors this summer. She joined the program to contribute to the development of youths in the community. She describes her experience working with the program this year as a learning experience for her and the students. “I gained additional management skills and conflict resolution experience. For me, it highlighted areas of my career that I am developing,” she adds. Sheila believes being a mentor is important because it allows professionals to share their skills and experience to enlighten students. The ultimate goal is to “hopefully help them build a future for themselves and the people they will someday affect.” Her advice to employees that might want to become mentors in the future is to “always be ready to guide, encourage and correct the student.”
Shirley Herman, door and frame scheduler at YKK AP America Inc., was also a mentor who supported the students this summer. Shirley shares that her experience, although challenging at times, was a rewarding one. “I often wondered if the student was listening and learning from the experience. However, it was also rewarding to see the students presentations at the end of the program. I was impressed by how much they learned during their time in the program,” she adds. Shirley shares that as a mentor, you are a direct representative of YKK. Therefore, it’s important to be a positive influence on the students and share good work ethics with them. She encourages her colleagues to participate in this type of programs and “view this program as an opportunity to learn valuable skills that can be used in future jobs while making new friends.”
Congratulations to all the interns who completed the program and thank you to all the mentors who dedicated their time to support them.