A Common Thread in Workforce Development Strategies

Partnership with schools is a key workforce development strategy among moldmaking industry supplier companies. Seco Tools is one example.


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This month, I have a feature I wrote that focuses on mold industry supplier companies that have workforce development programs. Our intent with this article was to work with suppliers that represent the entire moldmaking production cycle. We selected one company from each of our main technology categories: software, mold materials, hot runners/mold components, machining, cutting tool, repair/surface treatment. Because of space constraints and the sheer number of possible supplier company participants, we could not include every known entity, but we can feature more of them here in the MMT blogs.

As I worked on the feature, which is titled Supplier-Based Training Programs Fuel Mold Industry Needs, I found there was one common thread in each of their strategies: Partnership with local high schools and colleges or universities. Following is an example from a supplier company we were unable to include in our article.

Seco Tools, LLC is a provider of metal-cutting solutions for milling, turning, holemaking and toolholding based in Troy, Michigan. Seco recently announced that it has partnered with Ferris State University (FSU) in Big Rapids, Michigan, to offer local area engineering students an opportunity to participate in a multi-year internship program at Seco. According to the announcement, the program invites the top three engineering applicants to participate for an initial first year internship. Then based on their interest and performance, the students are potentially asked back for a second year. Once a student graduates from the program, Seco often presents an offer of employment at one of the company’s several U.S. locations.

The program was outlined in the announcement and goes like this: “Under the guidance of seasoned mentors, Seco interns experience a combination of classroom training and real-world business experience while earning their degree at FSU. The first-year interns take part in technical training and the development of custom tooling. They will also learn to operate machines and accompany Seco applications specialists on outside customer calls. All these facets of the program ensure students receive a comprehensive overview of all their potential areas of interest.

“During their second year, interns are often sent out-of-state to shadow an experienced sales rep and make professional sales calls for on-the-job experience. Students participating in the sales portion of the internship program are paid competitive wages during the internship and receive assistance with housing placement and living expenses. Seco also provides a company car to all second-year students.”

I’ve explored the Seco website and found that the company is truly focused on developing its future employees’ careers comprehensively and with family-centered values.

“We are very proud of our values at Seco,” said Andrew Nalian, human resource generalist and head of Seco’s internship program. “One of our values is family spirit, and we want to make sure our students are taken care of and have all the tools they need to succeed. Because Seco takes care of everything, the students’ parents don’t worry about their son or daughter moving to a new city and having to locate and pay for housing. If the intern is participating in the second-year sales program, the parents don’t need to worry about a car either, as a company car is provided.”

Seco’s internship program has been in place for several years, and feedback has been extremely positive. Most students who complete the program end up working for Seco.

“We have placed second year students all over the country,” said Nalian. “From South Carolina, to Texas and California. Most of these students will have a job offer with us before they even graduate. In today’s marketplace, that’s a huge advantage.”

As part of the partnership with FSU, Seco will exhibit at the university’s career fair on October 12. Engineering students interested in securing an internship with Seco should plan to visit the Seco booth, but inquiries may also be directed to Andrew Nalian via Email at: andrew.nalian@secotools.com.



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