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Internships develop CMSD's emerging talent (Photo Gallery)







Ashley Sanchez, who is entering her senior year at Max S. Hayes High School, functions like an artist. She transforms plain pieces of metal into works that are sought after and appreciated around the world.

For the last two months, the shop floor at Martindale Electric has served as Ashley’s studio. There, during a two-month internship that ended Friday, she used a computer numeric control, or CNC, machine to make precisely tooled circular saw blades. She also strengthened "soft skills" like communication and teamwork.

Martindale, based in Lakewood, is a member of JumpStart’s new Emerging Talent Network (ETN). As part of the larger KeyBank Business Boost & Build program -- powered by JumpStart and funded with a grant from the KeyBank Foundation -- ETN is building a talent pipeline by connecting current and graduating CMSD students with summer internships. Under The Cleveland Plan, a customized blueprint for education reform in the city, CMSD seeks to give students real-world experience that prepares them for college and career.

This year, 40 students from eight high schools landed positions with 20 companies and organizations involved in manufacturing, health care, public safety, child care and more. Next year, the number of interns will grow to 60.

JumpStart also supplies funding to pay the interns hourly wages and provide money for transportation and clothing appropriate for work.

For Martindale, the program’s goals fit with the 105-year-old company’s history of supporting education and outreach to youth.

“It could benefit us with a future employee,” President Linas Biliunas said. “But it’s also in our DNA to help people, help youth. To society, there’s a benefit.”

Martindale is owned by its 45 employees, including 25 to 30 who work on the shop floor. Co-workers did their best to make the new intern feel welcome.

“I was nervous at first,” said Ashley, who is in a CNC pathway at Max S. Hayes, one of five District schools that make up the Academies of Cleveland. “But I was treated the same as everyone else here.”

A lot of the credit for helping Ashley fit in goes to Mike Yankie, a 23-year employee who was assigned to mentor her. Biliunas knew that Yankie likes to teach, would demonstrate patience and would take his time to clearly explain the steps in the manufacturing process.

Yankie and Ashley worked back to back at their stations last week. He monitored as his protégé put saw blades into the machine, punched in the geometric parameters, ran the equipment and inspected the product to ensure it met requirements.

“She’s a very good student,” Yankie said. “She listens. She catches on. She’s very conscientious. There’s a lot involved in this process.”

Ashley is involved in a CNC pre-apprenticeship program that CMSD and WIRE-Net have developed for Max Hayes. She would also like to attend college and study engineering.

Besides Max S. Hayes, the Emerging Talent Network provided internships for students from Garrett Morgan High School, Jane Addams Business Careers Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Campus, Washington Park Environmental Studies, JFK PACT, JFK E³agle Academy and the John Marshall School of Business and Civic Leadership.

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