Business, Education and Interns

Our latest endeavor was inspired by our partners at Shiels Obletz Johnsen (SOJ) who introduced us to De La Salle North Catholic High School. Given that our company is one that loves education, skill building, and STEM subjects, NWESI president Tom was thrilled when SOJ Managing Director/Partner Francesca Gambetti brought De La Salle North’s Corporate Work Study Program to his attention.

How it Started

Late last year, NWESI embarked on this new partnership with the hopes of engaging students’ interest in STEM and building stronger relationships with our local schools. De La Salle is a private high school that opened in 2001 to the North Portland communities who wanted an affordable, quality, faith-based education available to their kids. Since then, De La Salle has worked with area businesses to give students experience with different careers, networking, and offset the costs of tuition.

Although NWESI has had interns before, this is our first foray into a partnership of this type. Our plan was to talk to our assigned student and listen to what interests and goals they wanted to pursue while working at our firm. Just as importantly, we wanted to find out how the student could help us. NWESI doesn’t believe in “leftover busy-work internships”, we’re interested in hearing their perspectives and questions about current projects. Having them work on real projects of value enables them to learn relevant new skills. We’ve found that investing in these high-caliber students with this type of work encourages them to explore and reach their potential!

How it’s Going

Representatives from each department at NWESI had assignment ideas that could give the student an introduction to careers in an engineering company. Because NWESI is a small business that has a lot of collaboration between departments, we decided this should be a shared responsibility as well.

Luckily for us, we were assigned De La Salle student Evelyn who is interested in learning about the technical, administrative, and business development aspects of how companies work. To get her up to speed and challenge her right out of the chute one of our Sr. Commissioning Authorities, Vince, has developed a framework for her to help plot and learn to analyze data on his current project with the Port of Portland. Although virtual assignments are cumbersome, Evelyn is doing great so far, and we’re excited to work with her and De La Salle through the conclusion of this season’s program.

Check back with us in a few months to see how this partnership wrapped up and hear from Evelyn about her experiences!

First published January 2021.