“People don’t remember what you say, they remember how you make them feel,” asserts Margaret Welliver, human resources manager at Shelter Systems in Westminster, Maryland. And when she says “people” she’s talking about students, in particular those she and colleague Randy Rickels have come to know at Carroll County Career & Technology Center (CCCTC). According to Jon Mersinger, head of CCCTC’s construction program, the relationship started years ago when Shelter supported their carpentry team’s efforts to attend the Skills USA national event. Now Shelter team members are regularly active in the classroom, offering real world advice and truss building activities. These activities have rewarded both sides through paid internships for two CCCTC students. Classroom visits were followed up with a plant tour, giving students the opportunity to use PPE and spend in-depth time on the production floor, with some pizza as an additional incentive.
Margaret focuses on the longer game. “It’s awesome to see these kids looking at real life scenarios. It gives them a hands on look at what the options are after graduation. Their job is to graduate high school, but if your plan is to enter the workforce, I tell them they need to see me,” says Margaret. “I might meet somebody in January and February though the school system and a year later they may come back to me. It’s about making that positive impression that this is a friendly, positive place to work.”