Mackenzie Kelley, MHS Physics/Chemistry/Civil Engineering teacher, never worked for corporate America or even applied for work in corporate America, so when she received an email about a corporate summer internship for educators with John Deere, she was intrigued. When asked why she wanted to participate in an internship, she said, “Our job here is to prepare students for the workforce providing them with background skills to be career ready and/or college ready.” She wanted to understand how to best prepare students for work in industry – as a wage earner as well as a salaried employee.

Mackenzie received experiences across all levels of employment with John Deere – welding, tours of facilities, riveting bolts, as well as a focus on logistics and planning trainings for employees. Along with jobs, she learned about the John Deere interview process – the same ones given to those applying to be vice-president as well as hourly welders.  Mackenzie worked 40 hours a week for six weeks, earning $150 a day, and she was glad to have this opportunity.   When asked what she was bringing back to her job in education, she said she was reassured about the process she uses in her classroom for productive group work with its emphasis on teamwork and being on time – some of the soft skills valued in industry if you want to maintain employment. Industries want people who are responsible, who complete work on time, and employees who may not know how to do something but are teachable. One takeaway was that if they don’t get done what they need to do, their pay is decreased for the hourly as well as wage employees. How much they produce in a day dictates their pay, a range from $100 to $500-600 depending on the work completed. Back in her classroom, Mackenzie will focus on timeliness, responsibility, and teamwork – key take aways from her internship and skills she will emphasize in her classroom along with a strong focus on productive teamwork.

Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” We are thankful for Mackenzie’s curiosity about working in corporate America, an opportunity that has brought her back to the classroom with a stronger ability to prepare her students for the world of work.