Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Education

Intern program at Monster Transmission opens opportunities for local youth

RECOMMENDED READING


BROOKSVILLE — Jami White was headed down the hallway at Central High School on the way to third-period calculus when a friend stopped him.

"You need to come with me right now," White recalls the friend saying. So, clad in denim cutoffs, a camouflage flannel and cowboy boots — an ensemble inspired by Senior Week — he followed.

And it's a good thing he did.

Less than two months later, an 18-year-old fresh out of high school, White walked into the first day of a new job with Monster Transmission & Performance, a local automotive company working to connect young adults to jobs in the industry.

"A golden ticket," White calls it now.

This is the first summer the Brooksville company, a worldwide supplier of re-manufactured transmissions founded in 2003, has offered the two-month internship program. In collaboration with the Hernando County School District, which approved and organized Monster's in-school presentations, and CareerSource Pasco Hernando, an employment agency that provided the cash to support the added payroll, 11 interns ranging from age 17 to 24 were brought onboard at the start of June.

But it's not just an internship, says Jady Vargas, director of training and development at Monster, who first had the idea for the partnership. It's a real chance at a full-time job.

"Some people start working early, but some struggle," Vargas said. "Even though Monster is a transmission company, we saw a way we could work that into the community by helping youth get placed in jobs."

Although none of the interns have been guaranteed employment after the program, which ends next week, Vargas said the company's goal is to "find a way to get them all employed with Monster."

For White, a third-generation mechanic who says "university just wasn't me," that would be a dream come true.

As an ROTC student who bypassed SAT and ACT testing and scored grades lower than he would have liked, White had toyed with the idea of joining the military. But after an accident that left him with nerve damage, that option slipped away.

"A month after that, (Monster) came to my school, and I think now that it was supposed to happen that way," he said. "My goal has always been to be a build mechanic, and it seems that this is my opportunity to do that."

Information technology intern Tony Garcia, 18, called the internship "a huge jump start" that put him ahead of the game in finding a job after graduation from Nature Coast Technical High School this year.

"I wasn't sure what I was going to do or if I would be able to find a job for my skills," Garcia said. "This internship solved those problems for me."

Other intern positions range from marketing to sales, and from general mechanics to more specialized departments. Each spot pays about $9 an hour and includes worker's compensation coverage.

CareerSource youth coordinator Kelly Castro said that, along with pay, the agency provided interns with employment skills training, incentives, work clothes and more.

"We do everything we can to help students take their skills and use them to get to the next step in their career," Castro said, adding that it is "absolutely imperative" that her agency makes connections with a variety of local businesses to fit the wide array of students and skills coming out of school programs.

Monster president Achilles Thomas says that, along with valuable experience, he hopes interns gain new perspective through the unique company culture he has worked to foster. It's one that pushes for development of interpersonal skills and promotes hard work with positive reinforcement, he said.

"I always say that we are a high-performance company made of high-performance people," Thomas said. "Our company culture encourages that."

Sales intern Paul Scholz, 21, agreed, saying employees at Monster are "out to help each other." A Hudson High School graduate, he said one of the best parts of the internship is the mentoring he has received.

Thomas said charity and civic involvement have always been of highest priority to him and his family. The program, he said, is just another way for Monster to bridge a connection to the community.

"To be able to have this type of program that gets youth on their feet in the right direction ... it really brings joy to me," he said.

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com. Follow @mareevs.

   
Comments
Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco schools brought home 20 top honors from the District 11 Junior Thespian Festival, which included 22 schools from Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Manatee counties and took place at the new River Ridge FAME Academy on Nov. 17 and ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
A year after impasse, Pasco school contract talks run more smoothly

A year after impasse, Pasco school contract talks run more smoothly

LAND O’LAKES — Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco sat together several times in the weeks leading to Thanksgiving break, trading contract proposals amid (mostly) amicable conversation.They c...
Published: 11/22/17
Epilogue: Music professor Rita Osborn insisted that her students experience the arts live

Epilogue: Music professor Rita Osborn insisted that her students experience the arts live

The thousands of students who signed up for Rita Osborn’s music and humanities classes at St. Petersburg Junior College knew what they had to do to pass.They could study and memorize material for tests, but they wouldn’t earn more than a C if they di...
Updated: 11 hours ago
USF professors honored as AAAS Fellows

USF professors honored as AAAS Fellows

Six University of South Florida professors whose research efforts span biology, engineering, chemistry and business have been selected as Fellows to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the organization announced Nov. 20.Election ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
When school is out, a Pinellas camp for autistic kids offers a much-needed service

When school is out, a Pinellas camp for autistic kids offers a much-needed service

ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Wiseman’s cell phone rings at least once a week, usually after 9 p.m., with a call from a desperate parent. The voice on the line is tired, defeated. Once again, their child was excluded from an after-school program or summer ca...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

University of Central Florida suspends sorority for hazing

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A University of Central Florida sorority has been suspended after its members were accused of hazing, underage drinking and providing false information to law enforcement.The university placed Alpha Xi Delta on an interim suspens...
Published: 11/21/17
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Published: 11/19/17

Class notes

School Calendar• Nov. 27: School resumes after Thanksgiving break• Dec. 22: End of second grading quarter.• Dec. 23-Jan. 7: Winter Break.• Jan. 8: Teacher planning day. No school for students.Arts/Music/TheaterCenter for the Arts at River Ridge Middl...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Pasco’s 2018 Outstanding Senior hails from River Ridge High

Pasco’s 2018 Outstanding Senior hails from River Ridge High

River Ridge High School senior Connor Beckman has been named Pasco County’s 2018 Outstanding Senior.Commander of the school’s Air Force JROTC program, Beckman is also an Eagle Scout mentor, National Honor Society president and swim team captain.Beckm...
Published: 11/22/17
Pinellas education news: District honors support employees, Discovery Nights resume, and more

Pinellas education news: District honors support employees, Discovery Nights resume, and more

Pinellas names top support employeesFive finalists have emerged from 120 nominees to be the 2017-18 Support Employee of the Year in the Pinellas County school system. The finalists were chosen in five categories. Debra Canning, 21st Century iClass Li...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/22/17