Internships are an invaluable gateway to the professional world. They offer students and recent graduates the chance to gain real-world experience, develop essential skills, and establish vital connections in their chosen fields. However, merely completing an internship is not enough; it becomes truly transformative when it incorporates career pathing. Career pathing for interns involves setting clear objectives, identifying potential career trajectories, and devising a strategic plan to achieve long-term professional success.

Introduction of a Formal Internship Program

Jordyn V. joined the Bassett Mechanical team in June 2022 as an Industrial Refrigeration Engineering Intern.

“Coming into my internship, I didn’t know anything about ammonia. Mark S, Director of Refrigeration Product Solutions at Bassett, reached out to me because I applied for the IIAR Scholarship, which helped me get a foot into the door here at Bassett. Mark informed me about the industry and showed me the manufacturing facility,” said Jordyn V.

Last year, Bassett launched a formal internship program for engineers, and Jordyn was the first intern to go through the program. The program has some key initiatives, including an action plan, a project, and a final presentation at the end.

For Jordyn’s final internship project, he did an Excel cost analysis (Adiabatic vs. evaporative condensers) and a line-sizing spreadsheet. The line sizing program is an Excel program that engineers can use to document pipe sizes for an entire plant and then print them off as a report. This is useful for documentation or if the customer wants a breakout of pipe sizes. Jordyn used this during his internship, and several other engineers have used it for other projects.

“It’s a heartwarming experience to watch our interns like Jordyn grow and bring their unique energy and ideas into our teams. As Jordyn’s supervisor, I got to be part of his journey, guiding and mentoring him as he navigated the professional world. A structured program helped us ensure Jordyn was immersed in every aspect of the industry. He was in training and meetings and on job sites learning side-by-side with our refrigeration engineers,” said Casey B., Director of Refrigeration Business Development.

Investing in this program is about securing a brighter future for our company and empowering the leaders of tomorrow. Jordyn says his internship journey prepared him for his future in engineering and at Bassett. “I went to a cheese plant in Marathon City, where I talked with other engineers about an expansion for the customer. I could do the estimating and all the groundwork for the project. This project showed me what I would be doing daily if I were to become an employee at Bassett.”

In June 2023, Jordyn joined Bassett as a full-time employee as an Industrial Refrigeration Engineer, joining our team of refrigeration experts.

Following a Career Pathing Model

This year, five new engineers started at Bassett. Two are new interns, and the others are first-year engineers. All of them came on board with a formalized plan, and Jordyn specifically is the first one to use our newly developed career pathing model.

Jordyn says, “Returning as a full-time employee, discussing my career path with my supervisor feels great. He has a formalized document created by training that’s tracking my development. Knowing what I need to learn before I can work independently reassures me that I am set up for success in the future.”

The internship committee has evolved into a career pathing committee of business development and engineering associates. Together, we have successfully mapped out the training requirements for the first-year refrigeration engineer, considering the training objectives, targets, and the on-the-job experiences that tie to the training being delivered.

“This team has taken career pathing to the next level and has helped map out the roles within the department and the training requirements attached to each role,” said Angela M., Director of Training and Organizational Development.

We are now working towards mapping out all levels within the department, so a full training plan and career path are available for new and existing engineers at Bassett.

“I enjoyed my internship at Bassett, which made me want to start my career with Bassett. I love that Bassett has a wide variety of engineering projects to do. I didn’t want to draw the same box in different ways. At Bassett, I can go on-site to figure out how everything fits together,” said Jordyn V.

The Significance of a Career Pathing Journey

Career pathing is a critical aspect of internships that significantly contributes to personal and professional growth. By empowering interns to set clear goals, enhancing their professional development, building confidence, encouraging proactive networking, fostering long-term commitment, and maximizing their internship experience, career pathing lays the groundwork for a successful and rewarding career journey.

For interns, dedicating time and effort to career pathing can be a transformative experience, propelling them toward their dream careers and helping them make informed decisions about their futures.