D211 Post: Schaumburg Business Leader Promotes School Partnership During Tour

Innovative Components Inc. President Mike O’Connor discusses recruiting high school students into the labor market during a tour of his company in Schaumburg Oct. 25.

            Illinois Deputy Governor Leslie Munger, President and CEO of Intersect Illinois Mark Peterson, Commerce and Economic Opportunity Assistant Deputy Director Erik Brejla and others toured Innovative Components Inc. Schaumburg facility as part of a local business tour arranged by the Schaumburg Business Association October 25.

            During opening remarks, Innovative Components President Mike O’Connor discussed the importance of reaching high school aged students.  One item O’Connor focused on was the program his company runs which recruits students from local high schools.  He also discussed the working relationship his company has had with Township High School District 211 and Township High School District 214 through programs for students with special needs.

            “We are grateful for Innovative Component’s partnership with the District in creating opportunities for all students,” said District 211 Director of Special Education Renée Erickson.  “It is through this partnership our students can experience the world of work, with the real potential for post-secondary opportunities in continued education, training and employment.”

            Following the opening remarks, the delegation, as well as representatives from Districts 211 and 214 walked through the workshop.  Inside they were greeted by a recent Schaumburg High School graduate who discussed the nature of his job with Innovative Components.  The group also observed special needs students from District 211’s Higgins Education Center packaging one of the many styles of nobs created by Innovative Components.

            Following the tour, Deputy Governor Munger spoke on how she was impressed by the partnerships between the company and school districts.  She also expressed her appreciation for seeing special needs students being given the opportunity to learn a skill and continue working.

Innovative Components Inc. President Mike O’Connor discusses his company’s operations with Illinois Deputy Governor Leslie Munger and Intersect Illinois President and CEO Mark Peterson during a tour Oct. 25.




District 211 Summer Internships Benefits Students, Community

During Summer 2016, students from District 211 had the opportunity to collaborate with local businesses that offered internships.  The collaboration was a direct result of District 211 and the community trying to help students be career ready by the time they graduate.

The internship experience promotes a seamless transition to the workforce. The soft skills, or employability skills, in addition to the specific career skills acquired during an internship experience are helpful to all students in the journey of finding a career path.  Students begin to establish professional networks, strengthen their resume, and gain practical work experience. It also can reaffirm their career interest, open their eyes to a new career path, and add to their value as an employee.

There are also benefits for internship hosts, as well. The hosts provide a fresh perspective and valuable insight, acquire a cost effective work force, provide leadership opportunities for their employees, as well as a chance to evaluate prospective employees.  One host said their business is improving its processes because they have to teach what they are doing.  This makes employees better because they have to learn to teach and rethink all the steps.

Summer 2016 hosts include:  Altronics, Arcon Architects, Bingaman – Precision Metal Spinning, Big Kaiser, District 211 Woodworking Department, Felsomat, GCAMP, Greenlee Diamond, Hydraforce, Innovative Components, Mitsubishi Materials, Owens and Associates Consulting, PM Mold, School of Rock, United Displaycraft, and Wittenstein Arena.

District 211 appreciates the time and effort it takes to host an intern and is looking for hosts for future internship sites.  The District has made the process as streamlined as possible.  Internship hosts need to have work for the intern to do as well as skills to teach the intern aside from basic employability skills.  Additionally, they need to designate a supervisor or mentor, set aside a physical space, and give an orientation of the business to the student.

For any businesses interested in being an internship host, please contact the Career Advisor at your school, or the career advisor coordinator, Jan Brottman, jbrottman@d211.org.

Haricharan Cheruvu (left) from Conant HS at Big Kaiser

Haricharan Cheruvu (left) from Conant HS at Big Kaiser

Meraj Mahmood from Schaumburg HS at Bingaman-Precision

Meraj Mahmood from Schaumburg HS at Bingaman-Precision

Sam McEnery (right) from Palatine HS at Hydraforce

Sam McEnery (right) from Palatine HS at Hydraforce

Allison Nakazawa (right) from Fremd HS at Owens Consulting

Allison Nakazawa (right) from Fremd HS at Owens Consulting

Lizbeth Alvarez Mendoza (right) from Palatine HS at Mitsubishi

Lizbeth Alvarez Mendoza (right) from Palatine HS at Mitsubishi




SHS Senior Earns Apprenticeship, Free Tuition After Taking Dual-Credit Manufacturing Course

Jonathan is posing with a personalized Innovative Components shirt presented to him from Mike O’Connor, president of Innovative Components, and wears a Harper College hat presented to him by Dr. Mary Beth Ottinger, Dean of Career and Technical Programs at Harper College.

Jonathan (center) is posing with a personalized Innovative Components shirt presented to him from Mike O’Connor, president of Innovative Components, and wears a Harper College hat presented to him by Dr. Mary Beth Ottinger, dean of Career and Technical Programs at Harper College.

More District 211 students are recognizing the benefits of taking dual-credit courses, which allow students to earn college credit and gain technical skills while still in high school.

As of the 2015 – 2016 school year, District 211 offers more than 50 dual-credit courses through three different local colleges. Courses include Certified Nursing Assistant, Project Lead the Way, Manufacturing, and more.

Through dual-credit, students are essentially taking a first-year college course that can transfer to a college after they graduate. This can save money for a student’s first year of college or technical training while preparing them for the coursework they will encounter once they begin their studies.

Students are also using the skills they learn in dual-credit courses to gain employment in their desired field while still in school. Schaumburg High School Senior Jonathan Ramirez recently earned an apprenticeship with a local company in Schaumburg, Innovative Components.

“I feel like Manufacturing is the field where I need to be,” Jonathan said. “I want to do something big within manufacturing and this opportunity will help me do that. Manufacturing at Schaumburg gave me a good idea of what the job is like because we do hands-on work. I really fell in love with it and it’s good experience.”

Jonathan will work at Innovative Components after graduation. While he works there, the company will pay for him to earn his associate degree at Harper College while keeping him on the job. Mike O’Connor, president of Innovative Components, said programs like SHS’ Manufacturing and the company’s apprenticeship allow students to get involved with their field early, as well as earn credits while they learn. He also said employees are encouraged to continue education after they have finished their associate degree.

Students that follow a path similar to Jonathan can earn dual-credit during school, while also learning technical skills and certifications for a career after graduation.