Bassett Mechanical has been participating in co-op student programs for 20 years. Throughout those years, the program has brought many hard-working, inspiring young people through our doors helping to launch many of them into exciting career paths in the trades.
Recent co-op student, Maddy, shares her journey through our co-op program and how it has helped her to identify the next steps toward the career of her dreams.
Hi! I’m Maddalyn. Everyone calls me Maddy. I have had a great summer going camping, visiting different areas and tourist attractions, and of course, taking my dog with me everywhere. I started with the co-op program at Bassett the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I am now an apprentice and have worked with Bassett since the beginning of my co-op.
My very first year I was placed in the tool room. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the perfect place to start. Of course, I was ready to jump right in but first I had to learn the basics like how to clean the areas, put back the tools, and how to identify the names and applications of each tool. Once I knew more about the operations of the tool room area I was able to help clean up gang boxes and prep and organize orders for the field.
My second summer I moved to the fitter area. One of my favorite projects while working there was getting to organize the tool boards. Our Lean manufacturing facility is organized by task, so it is important to make sure that the boards are in the right locations and supply the right tools needed for each job. I worked with many people in each area to ensure our board updates would be exactly what they needed to get their jobs done efficiently.
I am now a Steamfitter Construction Apprentice, so I have transitioned to a new opportunity- field operations. Working on job sites is exciting and there are a lot of dynamics and things to think about. In the field, I get to work with a lot of different people from Bassett and use the tools in a more hands-on environment. I have really enjoyed it so far and I feel like I’m learning something new every day.
Looking back I realize that starting in the tool room was the best way for me to get exposure and build a base knowledge for this industry. Everyone was incredibly helpful and not afraid to guide me along the way or teach me an easier, safer, or more efficient way to do a task. I asked many silly questions at the beginning and everyone was always more than willing to help me and share their experiences.
Today, I feel like I’m at an advantage because I learned not only the uses for each tool but also the nicknames and other terms they can be called, which has really helped me on the job site in the real-world application. By learning things that prepared me for working on-site in the beginning, I can perform efficiently onsite without having to ask too many questions. I already know how the job gets done and what tools and prep materials are needed. I’ve been taught the best way to use the tools for safety and I can work right alongside everyone on the job site.
When I first started the program I didn’t know exactly what career I wanted to pursue. At first, I thought I wanted to go to the fitter side, but being exposed to so many different sides of the business in the tool room I was able to get a better idea of what would be a good fit for me. This helped to guide my decision…otherwise I’d still be trying to figure it out! The real-world application and experience helped guide me so much more quickly than if I would have waited until I graduated. This co-op experience through Bassett gave me the hands-on learning that I needed to further my knowledge and skills in a field I wouldn’t have gotten much exposure to otherwise. It was a great opportunity to be able to get school credit for the things I was learning- while getting paid at the same time!
My guidance counselors at school were very supportive, and everyone at Bassett really contributed to making each day a positive experience. Everybody here knows my name and took the time to get to know me. The people here genuinely care about each other. I’m really glad to have had this incredibly rewarding co-op opportunity. It’s nice being able to work with people who really care about you and your future.
Bassett is excited to continue to offer these successful programs to students interested in learning more about the trades. “We do it because of people like Maddy and Juan who are passionate young people excited to learn about the careers we have to offer. Many of our current foremen running large projects came to us through a co-op experience. We are happy to have a part in helping to set these students up for a successful career.”- Patty Van Ryzin, Vice President of Human Resources at Bassett.