Building the Future Workforce with GE Johnson Internship Program
By Courtney Alexander
Each fall, GE Johnson recruits a group of bright minds for a summer internship. Interns receive competitive wages and are given housing for the summer at their assigned project location. Students join the program from schools such as Colorado State University, Purdue University, Iowa State University, and Kansas State University. Despite the pandemic, this summer GE Johnson hosted 23 interns in Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming.
The program typically kicks off with all interns spending a week at GE Johnson’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, where they receive robust training on the company’s history, culture, and values. Interns also meet and interact with the leadership team. Over the course of their internship, the interns function as project engineers in a 12-week program designed to complement their education in construction management. To ensure a well-rounded experience, they focus on four major objectives; safety, estimating and preconstruction services, project management, and best business practices.
The program focuses most importantly on the planning, organization, and implementation of GE Johnson’s safety management program. Learning how to identify hazards and communicate expectations to craft employees and project leadership is essential to ensure the safety of the interns and everyone on the jobsite. Once the safety culture is learned, they learn about the preparation that goes into a project before construction begins, the various facets of managing a project, and the best business practices that drive a successful general contractor.
Interns are also exposed to philanthropy and community endeavors to fully immerse them in the GE Johnson culture of giving back. Of all the activities the interns participate in, our annual Intern Build Project is the one they commend the most. The group of interns come together and work on a service-related building project that benefits one of the many nonprofits in the
community. Interns prepare RFP’s, coordinate with subcontractors, and build based on the need of the community, allowing them to see a project from start to finish during their summer.
One of the benefits of an internship with GE Johnson is being part of an exciting construction project. Projects like the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum and Pikes Peak Summit Complex are extraordinarily unique jobsites to get experience on for launching a career in construction.
Andrew Sung, a senior at Colorado State University, has spent his last three summers as an intern on several unique projects. This year, he worked at Switchbacks FC Stadium project in downtown Colorado Springs.
“I have learned more in my time as an intern with GE Johnson than I could fit in a few sentences. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say I have learned an immeasurable amount about the importance of collaboration, teamwork, and proper communication,” stated Andrew. He also learned the key to a successful project is collaborating with others and communicating efficiently with everyone involved. “The mistakes or slip ups I have seen or made myself generally stem from a simple miscommunication in some capacity. Being able to fit in well as part of a team and contribute in smaller aspects to the project’s overall progression is an invaluable quality that I strive to improve upon every day.”
Andrew’s supervisor and mentor, Brian Tominov, project manager, reflected on his past internship experiences and the benefits of applying what he learned in the classroom to real life. “Seeing those concepts come together for them through their eyes is exciting,” said Brian. When asked what advice he would give other mentors, he said, “I would recommend they have a solid plan with defined goals prior to the intern’s arrival and hold quick lessons learned meetings every Friday asking; What did you do to impact safety this week? What did you learn? What do you plan to learn next week?”
The intern program not only provides a robust experience for the interns but also affords several benefits to GE Johnson and its employees. It helps the company build long-term employees while allowing current staff mentorship opportunities they may not typically experience in their role. With more than 75 percent of interns accepting full-time roles with the company, this program brings immense value to our organization and the construction industry.
“We are committed to investment in the future of the construction workforce and pleased that we were able to provide internships this year to allow the students exposure to the construction industry. Our interns were appreciative of the work experience given all the challenges that COVID-19 presented. Together, we proved that the construction industry can overcome those challenges,” said President and CEO Jim Johnson.
Courtney Alexander is the communications coordinator at GE Johnson. Contact Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org