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Rocklin High students see careers, hear advice at H&B Manufacturing facility

Engineering Support Tech students ask educated questions, learn how to succeed in engineering field
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Fires of interest were left burning brighter for Rocklin High School engineering students after receiving a tour through the Harris & Bruno International manufacturing facility in Roseville.

“It was fun to see this crazy big machinery shop,” said RHS junior Samantha Martin, 16, who’s looking forward to a career in engineering or medicine. “Seeing the five-axis CNC machine, water jets and all the equipment was the best part of the tour.”

Senior Hugo Le Rouzo, 17, also was among the 11 RHS Engineering Support Technologies students at the Harris & Bruno facility Oct. 18. Hugo plans to pursue an engineering degree, but he’d never seen the workplace of such a career before.

“It’s good to see what you’re going to do,” he said.

RHS teacher Dan Frank said his favorite parts of the visit were when students’ eyes darted to him with a new understanding of the real-life applications of their classroom activities.

“I’m getting so many looks and so many comments from my students, like, ‘Wow, I’m starting to understand what you’re trying to do,’” Frank said. “It was so beneficial for our students to be able to talk with adults in the engineering and machining industry so that they could see themselves in these professions.”

In addition to touring the facility, meeting engineers and talking to employees about the equipment they operate, students benefited from advice from Harris & Bruno managers.

Jim Riga, director of engineering and service, explained how getting involved in campus clubs and competitions at college exposed him to companies seeking interns and to professors who often are aware of employment opportunities. An internship led to a job after he graduated. He was able to advance his career through several promotions by demonstrating his desire to contribute to the company.

“Businesses are looking for employees with a good attitude and who are happy to come to work,” Riga said. “You must have a desire to add value, demonstrate a good work ethic, believe that good enough isn’t good enough, be solution-oriented and ask, ‘What can I do to help the company be successful?’”

Ed Lee, COO/CFO, urged students to do well in school.

“Your grades tell others your ability to learn,” Lee said. “Good grades create opportunity.” He also urged students to demonstrate through their actions that they have a good attitude about work. “Don’t waste your time; do everything you can to be a valuable employee. If your contribution results in a 50 cent raise early in your career, that is equal to $1,000 per year and $30,000-40,000 over the length of your career.”

Students gained interview advice from Courtney Wickens, human resources manager.

“When you are being considered for a job, you are likely to talk with Human Resources first,” Wickens said. “Making it through to the next interview is about character and drive to be part of the team as well as your ability to do the work. Show your passion, be dynamic and communicate that you want to contribute to the company.”

Learn more about Harris & Bruno International by watching the H&B corporate movie at www.blog.harris-bruno.com/videos/harris-bruno-international-corporate-video/

The tour for Rocklin High School was supported by the Sierra College STEM Collaborative to encourage students to consider STEM careers in design, engineering and manufacturing. This is one of several tours being offered by local employers as an extension of Manufacturing Day 2012 (www.mfgday.org).

Students benefit when educators and industry collaborate, explained Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director, Center for Applied Competitive Technologies, at Sierra College.

“As a business partner, Harris & Bruno has been working with Sierra College for years,” Pepper-Kittredge said. “The company has hired our students, supported high school robotics clubs, served on advisory committees and helped educators understand businesses’ needs so they can better prepare students for employment. This tour will positively impact students’ career plans.”