On any day at Anderson Development Company (ADC), you can walk the halls of our buildings and run into several young students who are enriching their education by applying what they have learned in school in our facility. We partner with several local schools and programs to allow students from middle school, high school and college to share in these experiences.
As part of this effort, ADC participates in many events within our local community. One program, “Payback for Education,” partners schools with local businesses to allow students to come in and learn about different careers. Another event, “Manufacturing Day,” is a program where students visit local business, but specifically within the manufacturing industry. Students visit manufacturing sites within our county to learn about the many opportunities within manufacturing. We also give tours for local science classes so that students can see how we apply what they learn in school, the types of materials we produce and the types of potential career opportunities are available to them within the chemical manufacturing industry.
Most recently, ADC participated in Junior Achievement’s Job Shadowing program (Junior Achievement of the Michigan Edge). ADC welcomed 3 high school students who have an interest in becoming chemists or engineers. Two students with an interest in chemistry shadowed two of our chemists in our research and development labs and one student with an interest in engineering shadowed a group of engineers. The students spent a half day with our employees to see what their job consists of. Our goal in participating in this program is to help the students gain a better understanding of their career choices within the chemical manufacturing industry. Our industry supports over 30,000 very stable, good paying jobs just in the state of Michigan. Our hope is they truly enjoyed their experience and that ultimately they will go on to become chemists or engineers who love their careers.
While the Job Shadowing program is only one day a year, ADC has R&D internship program as well as Engineering Co-op programs that never end! We typically host 3-4 R&D interns and 1-2 Engineering Co-ops at all times. Our interns and co-ops are given real life projects that give them the experience they need to be successful in their future employment. It must be said that not only does the student benefit, but ADC does as well. These real life projects are valuable and extremely important to our company. In some cases the students need to apply the skills they had already learned in school, but in other cases the students need to learn cutting edge commercial solutions. We appreciate the hard work and dedication they give to our company and we hope that their experiences at ADC help them to grow and develop the skills that they will need to be successful.
One question that a reader may wonder is, “Why do you do it?” It’s really pretty simple… At ADC, we care about the future of our company, our community and our world. We want to show the next generation that there are endless opportunities within Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for them to explore. 96% of all manufactured goods are touched by the business of chemistry. Often times, the idea of chemistry is very abstract to students (and many adults!). Our approach of chemistry is down to earth, simply solving our customers’ problems. We would like to share our love of using science to solve problems with the next generation! Chemistry is part of everyday life and our products are a part of many people’s lives, even though they don’t realize it!
It is also important for students to experience that there are many careers in the business of chemistry that don’t involve becoming a chemist or engineer. In fact, in order for ADC to be successful, it takes everyone working as a team. There are many other career opportunities within manufacturing that are crucial to keep us going every day. We need technicians to learn to operate processes so that they safely and efficiently produce the products that our customers need. We need mechanics who are good working with their hands who can fix things and keep our plant running. There are opportunities within sales, customer service, accounting/finance, purchasing, quality control, safety, environmental, product stewardship, human resources, shipping & receiving, personnel management and many, many more. Each of these departments are like parts to an engine; the engine doesn’t run unless each part does their job.
We hope that opening our doors to the next generation will give them a real life experience that will help them choose a career within the chemical manufacturing industry. ADC truly enjoys the time we get to spend with students who visit and work for us.