On the Job With: Paul Garcia


Paul Garcia, a sophomore at Fenton High School, hurries off to his internship as soon as the final school bell of the day rings. His friends wonder where he is rushing off to.


“Are you going to McDonald’s or something?” they asked.


“No, I have to clock in at 4pm at my internship at OSG,” Garcia replied, and then ran to meet his mother in the school parking lot.


Garcia works as a Jr. Manual Operator intern at OSG. He comes in on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 8pm. He works on the manual grinding machines to acquire hands on experience. He also job- shadows OSG CNC operators.


When he is not at OSG, he is a straight- A student and a basketball player at Fenton High School.  He participates in PLTW (Project Lead The Way) program where he learns the basics of engineering principles. He is also enrolled in the accelerated classes which have more challenging content and a greater amount of homework than the traditional classes. 


“It is challenging to juggle my internship, school work and sports,” said Garcia. “After I get home from OSG around 8:15pm, I sit down at the kitchen table for dinner with my mom, work on my homework and then I finally I go to bed.”


You are probably wondering what is pushing him to do all of this. Paul has a dream, a dream  to be a mechanical engineer. He believes that this internship at OSG is a great opportunity to gain manufacturing experience before he pursues his career in engineering.'


In November 2015, Garcia attended the annual Manufacturing Expo hosted by College of DuPage. He met OSG’s HR Generalist, Paul Wilhelm, where he learned about the internship opportunity.


“I thought this was a big opportunity as soon as I heard about it,” said Garcia. “I had to take it before anyone else takes it. It is not every day that I come across this type of opportunity.”


Garcia and his parents are aware of the stigmas the society has toward manufacturing. Garcia himself used to think that manufacturing jobs were tiring and dirty. However, his negative perception was debunked when he learned how much technology OSG uses in the factory and how clean the factory floor is. His family also supports his decision to work in a factory setting.  


“My parents are very proud of me,” said Garcia. “I went through the entire hiring process by myself from contacting Mr. Wilhelm to going on my first interview.”


Garcia’s next step is to go attend college and study engineering. He is already thinking about pursuing a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Watching a student like Garcia strive for his dream makes us at OSG hopeful and excited for the future of manufacturing. We are committed to helping students acquire additional experiences and skills outside of school and prepare them for their manufacturing careers.

3 Myths about Manufacturing Jobs

1. Manufacturing jobs are low income jobs.

On average, manufacturing workers earn $77,060 yearly while other average workers earn $60,168. According to Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 20% of workers with technical certificates earn more than the workers with Bachelor’s of Arts degrees. 30% of workers with associate’s degrees make more than the workers with four-year college degrees. Even 20 years after graduation this stays true.


2. Manufacturing jobs are blue-collar and low skilled jobs, so they are only for “certain” people.

Manufacturing jobs require creativity, innovation, analytical and problem solving skills. You will be surprised to see how challenging and high tech manufacturing jobs can be especially when you get involved in R&D. According to the Manufacturing Institute, 80% of manufactures are experiencing a skills gap. Their applicants are not skilled enough to perform in production positions that require high levels of critical thinking. The majority of manufacturers help their employees pursue higher education while they work by providing financial help.


3. Manufacturing jobs are dirty jobs with oily floors and noisy machines.

Nowadays, manufacturing has also turned into a high-tech industry. Machines look very modern, and are operated with computers and touch screen key boards. Shop floors are clean and shop temperature is controlled to maintain product quality. The days of the dirty floors and miserable shop conditions are a thing of the past!


On the first Friday in October annually, MFG DAY leads the way to inspire future manufacturers. Its missions include addressing stigmas of manufacturing by encouraging current manufacturers to show what the modern manufacturing really is like. Many manufactures joined its effort and held numerous events this year to invite students from high schools or technical colleges. According to a post-event survey conducted by MFG DAY, as a result of their efforts and collaboration with manufacturers, 81% of students believe that manufacturing jobs are both interesting and rewarding, and 71% of students want to tell their friends and families about manufacturing. By motivating and educating students, we are shaping the future of manufacturing!