Community Archives - Intertech Plastics

The Potential of Apprenticeship

Noel

CEO and Founder of Intertech Plastics, Noel Ginsburg

Millions of youth find themselves out of school and out of work, yet have an insatiable urge to find and  fulfill their potential. Conversely, there are thousands of employers struggling to fill millions of jobs. In a recent podcast done by the US Chamber of Commerce, our CEO here at Intertech, Noel Ginsburg, and the Chief Community Officer at Starbucks discuss how hiring youth is a valuable investment in your business’ future that will keep our nation happily employed.

Starting out as a college class project, Noel Ginsburg never expected his plastic mold manufacturing  company to have problems such as finding employees; yet, after 35 years in opperation, Intertech Plastics is facing that exact struggle. As the years have passed, intertech has grown to a scale where to continuing to expand would require more employees with specific skills such as making a mold. Unfortunately some of these skills are not developed without years of training. This is a struggle faced by many companies with great career opportunities and nobody to fill them. Only 25% of Americans obtain a four year degree. Now how many do you think are youth? Now, how many of those youth with four year college degrees represent our whole working population? The 25% already seems low without adding on those filters, so what about the other 75% of the population? A college degree should be a equalizer, not an inhibitor, and companies like Starbucks and Intertech are realizing their role in making that belief a reality.

Starbucks CCO, Blair Taylor

Starbucks CCO, Blair Taylor

The Podcast starts with Chief Community Officer of Starbucks, Blair Taylor, explaining his initiatives with the Starbucks 100,000 opportunities program. This program is meant to utilize community leaders from large to small businesses to stimulate career opportunities for American youth. The kick-off for this program has already shown promise for the future. “We want to make sure that we achieve the 3 wins.” Says Blair, referring to his standards of success; the people win by gaining career opportunity, society wins because it is hard at work and has a low unemployment rate and third, possibly the most important, key is to insure the business gains more than it gives. While this is the right thing to do, it is even more so the smart thing to do. Blair describes a company he helped get youth employees started at with his program and the company’s CEO reported that not only were these some of the best employees he has ever hired, but some of the most innovative. Blair finds that youth employees are immersed in a different world and have potential to bring new ideas to companies and they are also excited to build a career and feel themselves playing a role in a larger community. Youth of today want exactly what humanity has always wanted, fulfillment and purpose in their work, something to take pride in; These youth have the raw skills and “fire in their belly” that can be harnessed to take on the millions of unfulfilled careers throughout our country.

A school tour facilitated by on of our production employees

A school tour facilitated by on of our production employees

CEO of Intertech Plastics, Noel Ginsburg, is an avid advocate for youth employment and creating career opportunities for people with nontraditional paths. Noel gets an opportunity to explain how Intertech has been involved in some form of youth employment program for at least 25 of its 35 years in operation. Intertech runs internship programs in the summer that gives college students a mentor in one of our departments who they work for throughout the program and then are required to present to the management team at the end of the program so recap what they have learned and how they have grown. This summer one of the interns was a high school student from one of the public schools in Denver who would come in four times a week to work with us. He got to spend time in our quality lab learning how to use vision systems and high precision systems we use on a day to day basis. Not only has he been here over the summer, but he will be here throughout the school year continuing his program after school. This gives him a foot ahead other students because this has direct real world applications, benefits, and even cons that will provide useful experience for a lifetime. Also, Noel describes our interactive school visits hosted throughout the year to give students focusing on manufacturing an opportunity to be immersed in a real plant and learn about the different important roles at Intertech. On a community level, Noel is working to develop programs like ours in advanced manufacturing, informational technology, health care, and banking. Noel explains that he has chosen these fields to match a model set in Switzerland. Switzerland primarily uses apprenticeships to employ and train the country. This model has shown extremely positive results, Noel reports the nations unemployment at barely 2.4 percent where the US is between 12 and 14 percent.

Clearly there are huge steps being taken to combat unemployment as well as utilizing the innovation of today’s youth. By training young people who are out of school and out of work, a company can essentially build their own employee. Apprenticeships not only familiarize a person with specific skill sets but can tailor those skill sets to be directly useful in the desired field, rather than generally studying one topic for sometimes over four years. Education will always be indispensable; and thanks to people like Blair Taylor and Noel Ginsburg, there are becoming more ways of obtaining it.

To hear Podcast click above.

To hear Podcast click above.

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Find out more on the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative by clicking above.

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See the U.S. blog post about the podcast by clicking above.

Joann Castanon – Recent Intern at Intertech Plastics

Joann Castanon with Intertech Team at High Tech Early College Joann presenting about his internship with Intertech Plastics: From Left: Randy Zwingler (Senior Designer), Derek Baldwin (Web & Marketing), Trino Castanon (Joann’s Father), Joann Castanon (Intern), Darrel Lawrence (Human Resources)

 

Joann Castanon, a student at High Tech Early College, recently graduated from one of our internship programs. High Tech Early College is a unique school “centered on a process of applied rigorous learning and intense connections with industry professionals in Business, Information Technology and Design fields,” who Intertech Plastics is proud to partner with.

At Intertech Plastics we take pride in supporting our community and getting youth involved in manufacturing and business in general. Joann’s experience at Intertech was rewarding for both Joann and Intertech Plastics; He contributed in a lot of areas and received first-hand experience with Manufacturing, IT and Design. He also attended upper-level management meetings, all of which is invaluable to one who is in the midst of planning a future.

On behalf of the team at Intertech Plastics, “Thanks for joining us Joann, we hope to see you again!”

A part of the Dream

Recently we celebrated the end of the summer with our two current “dreamers,” our summer interns from the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation, or CIHAD.  Both Kayden Garcia and Marissa Medina became members of CIHAD in 2004 when they were both third graders at Smedley and Fairview Elementary Schools, respectively.   Kayden is a member of the The McLoraine Class, led by Program Director Erin Larrabee, and Marissa is a member of the McHugh class, led by Program Director Peter Noel.  They both returned to Intertech Plastics this year for their second time.

This endeavor supports CIHAD’s philosophy of long-term commitment, as it closes in on the completion of a ten-year long commitment of 55 students, two of whom are Kayden and Marissa.  Their summer internships at Intertech supported the branded product division Twist Body Brands, and the fulfillment of its products involving custom pad printing and product assembly.  Each was required to set goals for the summer term, as well as report on their successes and lessons learned.

For Kayden, his main goal of the summer was to embrace his affinity of graphic design, and further hone his art skills.  By working with Head Designer Randy Zwingler, and pad printing supervisor Eric Delgado, Kayden was able to create a Twist & Pout ball of his own design, creating a lasting memory of his experience, and a lasting impression in the Twist Body Brand organization.  In his own words, Kayden was able to find his “inner artist,” and now carries his custom printed lip balm with him proudly, as he returns to complete his senior year of high school.   Kayden claims we was “was way more focused” this year compared to last, an increase in maturity with which his supervisors at Intertech would concur, and we look forward to seeing big things from Kayden in the future.

kayden

Kayden has always been an exceptional and talented young man; unique in his own right and full of grand hopes for his future. The guidance and mentorship Kayden has received from his supervisors Oscar Olivas and Matt Leiphart during his internship at Intertech Plastics has allowed him to formulate a concrete plan for his post-secondary studies. Oscar and Matt spent a great deal of time this summer working with Kayden on goal-setting and skill development. As a result, Kayden has grown tremendously in terms of his professionalism, and has been able to successfully transfer the skills he learned working at Intertech to both his schooling and his personal interactions.   The highlight of Kayden’s summer was undoubtedly getting to create his own design for a lip balm case. He lights up any time he can proudly display his lip balm, and will happily recant the story about the design process. The high-level skills he learned by using advanced software have given him tremendous confidence to pursue his dreams. This would not have been possible without the guidance and support of his supervisors at Intertech.

Erin Larrabee, Program Director.

For Marissa, she continues to work at Twist Body Brands, and has committed to completing her GED by the end of the year.   Oscar Olivas, Marissa’s Supervisor at Intertech and former CIHAD Dreamer, is holding her to that, saying “this is a significant opportunity, and a chance for Marissa to really make something of herself.  We’ve invested a lot in Marissa, and it’s important to us, her family, and most importantly herself, that she completes her education.”

This summer Marissa worked on learning pad printing, learning how to set up as well as operate jobs.  Also her second year here, her level of professionalism and maturity is significantly improved, as she develops into an integral role at Intertech Plastics.   She also met with the executive management team and presented improvement opportunities for the internship program moving forward, with good suggestions, demonstrating improved confidence and initiative, skills we know will benefit her throughout her life and career.

marissaThe Work IS Success summer internship program has been successful beyond our wildest dreams, due in large part to companies taking a vested interest in not only the program but also the person.  In no instance is that truer than the relationship that Marissa has with the Intertech Plastics family.  Oscar Olivas and the rest of the staff have invested their energies into making sure Marissa is successful both at work and in school.  The progress that Marissa is showing towards earning her GED is directly linked to the confidence, drive and work ethic that she has developed while at Intertech.  Marissa has reached one goal, which was to earn a job, and she is making steady progress towards her goal of earning a GED.  Well done Marissa and thank you, Intertech Plastics!

Peter Noel, Program Director

 

To learn more about the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation, please visit http://www.cihadf.org/

Keeping up with Noel

I’ve had an enjoyable time this year keeping up with Noel Ginsburg, and his endeavors not only at Intertech Plastics but within the local community.   On May 30th we attended another CAMA event together, this one called a “Business to Business Lounge.”  The event was in downtown Denver at the Colorado Business Bank, and like the last CAMA event business leaders engaged in a series of brief round table introductions, each explaining what they did, how they could help each other, and exchanging business cards.   I’ve actually got an appointment this afternoon at our plant from a contact I made there, a potential symbiotic relationship with another area injection molder and contract manufacturer, one that could work out well for both of us.  It’s a real treat to be a part of the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, and to support a growing organization that is making a positive impact to our manufacturing sector and economy.  It’s also enjoyable to see Noel speak in public.

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Additionally, Noel was featured in another publication last week, this time a one-on-one interview in Area Development.  The interview highlights some of the aspects of reshoring, and how OEM’s who are bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. are impacting our business.  Here is a link to the article
http://www.areadevelopment.com/Plastics/Q2-2013/Noel-Ginsberg-Intertech-supplies-reshoring-oems-2733228.shtml

But even sweeter than the social events and media coverage is the reality of what’s happening in our plant every day.   We are manufacturing in the U.S., we are growing our business, and we’re creating jobs.   And that’s something our employees, customers, and community can be very proud of.

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Molding a Better World

People often ask me what our tagline “molding a better world” means.   Good question. The answer is it means something a little different to everyone, understanding first that not a grandiose claim of superiority, rather it’s much more personal than that.  There are three primary outlooks relative to molding a better world; passion for products, global trends, and personal development, and a part of each is true inside each employee at Intertech Plastics.

The first is the passion that our employees share with our customers, about the products they produce.   These injection molded products enhance lifestyles, they’re the products we buy and use, so to be a part of the production side is even more special.  It’s about adding value, and as we add value to our clients with custom molded, assembled, printed, and distributed products, we are also adding value to our own lives.

The second aspect of molding a better world is reflective of the current global economy, and the trend we’re seeing with products being “reshored” from Pacific Rim vendors.   Many US-based OEM’s are now realizing their products are better served by molding them in the United States, a reversal of the opinion from as recent as 10 years ago.  Faster response times, confidentiality of intellectual property, and competitive pricing are among the reasons we’re seeing more molded programs return to the US, and how our domestic manufacturing improvements are molding a better world.

The final thought of this relative to personal development, and the contributions that Intertech Plastics has made and continues to make, both in its employees and community.  Examples include the United Way, the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation, and School to Career Initiative, all ways Intertech Plastics has engaged with local communities to foster both economic and professional development.  Internally the commitment to employee development remains a very high priority, and the result is an engaged, committed, empowered staff excited to go to work.   There is a long list of individuals who all have one thing in common- their lives have been enriched because of Intertech Plastics.   And I’m happy to say I’m one of them.

 

Made in Colorado

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It was a real treat yesterday to be a part of the April 16th Made In Colorado event, hosted by ColoradoBiz Magazine.  It was even sweeter to see Intertech Plastics be recognized as “top 25” award finalist for its outstanding contributions in our community, something we’re very proud of here.

But even better was the discussions I had with several other business leaders, and the shared excitement and enthusiasm for Colorado manufacturing.   The round table sessions that CAMA facilitated were very well received, and some great contacts were made by everyone present. It’s great to see we’re not alone in our endeavors to not only re-shore programs from Asia, but at the same time work to build sustainable jobs here in Colorado.   And to be a part of this is not only inspiring, but truly special.

Perhaps the highlight of the day for me was seeing Denver Mayor Michael Hancock speak.  It was the first time I’d heard him, but must confess his presence at the podium is something I’d like to experience again and again.  His review of his JumpStart 2012 and JumpStart 2013 initiatives, his commitment towards DIA as a global commerce hub, and how this “aerotropolis” will lead to so much local development and growth for both current and future generations, was truly invigorating.

And the icing on the cake was being able to shake his hand afterwards, say thank you, and get a nice “keep up the good work” in return.   Well you bet I will, Mr. Mayor, and that’s a promise.  -tim

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