Lee’s Summit Business Owner Helps Fill Workforce Gap With Summer Internship Program

Stephani BordnerWhat's Happening, Workforce

Colby Jacquemin is only 17 years old, but he is already gaining valuable on-the-job training to prepare him for his future career. The Lone Jack High School and Summit Technology Academy student spent his summer interning at Creative Blow Mold Tooling in Lee’s Summit, where he learned to make molds that end up on factory lines all over the world.

“He’s definitely exceeded expectations,” said Creative Blow Mold Tooling owner Michael Bohning.  “He learns things quickly, picks things up quickly. He’s pretty focused, pretty serious about getting the work done.”

Students like Jacquemin are exactly who Bohning hoped would take advantage of the new internship opportunity. In 2018, Bohning met with the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council and education partners from the Lee’s Summit School District to discuss workforce issues. From there, Bohning formed instrumental relationships with the school district to increase student exposure to the trades.

Bohning toured the high school shop facilities and met with the instructors. He also opened the doors of his shop for students to see first-hand what a career at Creative Blow Mold Tooling would entail. When summer began, Bohning offered something many high school students do not have access to – a summer internship at his shop.

Jacquemin was one of two students who participated in the internship. He got straight to work, training to assemble molds and help with other projects. He said the training at Creative Blow Mold Tooling helped reinforce what he had been taught at STA, especially when it came to Computer Numerical Control. CNC is the system used to code machines so they will follow the correct path to drill. Even a small project can take more than a thousand lines of code.

“It gave me a better understanding of the CNC side because they had me running a CNC mill up at Summit Tech,” said Jacquemin.

For Jacquemin, trades run in the family. His grandfather worked as a carpenter and his father started his career participating in a similar program to the one his son is in. Jacquemin’s father is now an engineer with his journeyman’s license. Watching his father and grandfather was part of what attracted Jacquemin to the trades.

“I’ve been around it all my life because he brought me to work with him quite a few times when I was younger,” Jacquemin said. “It gave me more of an interest in the mechanical field.”

Bohning said Jacquemin’s career exposure before starting at Creative Blow Mold Tooling helped him develop a mechanical aptitude that quickly made him a contributing part of the team.

“He already knows how to do a lot of things,” said Bohning. “He’s gotten along great with people on the team; I think they appreciate having him here.”

Jacquemin will stay at Creative Blow Mold Tooling throughout his senior year as part of a work-study program. In that time, Bohning said he plans to continue giving Jacquemin more responsibility and expanding his skill set. Jacquemin said he hopes to gain more experience to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

“I’m hoping to strengthen my knowledge on the mold repair and maintenance side of this field because I eventually would like to become an engineer as well and it’s a good idea to get hands-on knowledge before you become an engineer,” Jacquemin said.

Jacquemin plans to avoid student debt as long as possible by being strategic about his post-high school education. After high school, he plans to take advantage of Missouri’s A+ Scholarship Program by attending Metropolitan Community College-Longview. His ultimate education goal is to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Integrated Manufacturing or Computer-Aided Drafting.

Bohning plans to expand his relationship with the Lee’s Summit School District in the upcoming school year by offering more hands-on tours and doing more outreach throughout the year. By providing opportunities for hands-on learning, Bohning hopes he can continue to shorten the learning curve and be part of creating a thriving talent pipeline in his own community.

“Every employer is battling the same thing, we’re trying to find and retain good people,” Bohning said. “As a business or an employer, I think our job is to make this be a place that they want work and treat them right and respect them and give them an opportunity to be successful. That’s what we try to do.”