The Value of Mentorship: Success for Everyone
A lot of good comes out of a mentorship program for the students, the mentors and the business. I’m a huge proponent of internships and mentoring opportunities because it’s how I started my career. Often, I share with our students how during college I interned at three different organizations, including NASA, and will always value the lessons learned from these experiences.
Passion to Mentor
Prior to joining Jabil in 2012, I volunteered as an academic advisor for San Jose State University’s mechanical engineering program. I’m extremely passionate about helping students find a career and promoting the STEM field, so when I was asked to join the Jabil Scholars program at our Blue Sky facility, I was very excited about the opportunity. It’s a wonderful way to give back to the youth while also being on the cutting edge of technology. Jabil Scholars is an internship partnership with San Jose State University that provides employees an opportunity to educate and mentor the generation of tomorrow.
The Business Value of Mentorships
Jabil receives benefits from the partnership with San Jose State University, almost as much as the mentees themselves. Mentoring students helps with recruitment, provides a high return on investment and fosters technology talent. Working with these students over a long duration with real deliverables and deadlines is an ideal medium to empower future talent and leadership. This in turn creates a high return on investment because, in a way, we’re “Jabilizing” these students, who can become full-time employees and hit the ground running. By working with students on cutting-edge technology, it helps current employees get out of routine-thinking and explore new areas. Last, but definitely not least, it’s a way for Jabil to give back to the community and demonstrate our commitment to the young people of San Jose.
Increased Employee Engagement
Employees at Jabil’s Blue Sky facility really get involved, which gives all engineers an opportunity to collaborate and come together to organize a plan the interns can benefit from cross-functionally. This involvement is now a part of our culture and is integrated within our jobs to work with these students, communicate better and systematically plan a way to provide a successful learning experience. I also believe one of the keys to our team’s high retention rate is the Jabil Scholars program as it enables our engineers to be fully committed to these students and the new technologies that come from the relationships. It’s a great, unexpected result of the program.
Fundamentally, the mentorship program is for the students, the mentees. It helps provide real-world exposure to things like working with a budget, approval processes, scheduling, collaboration and time management. We also have a session at the end of the year for the students to network with Jabil employees, suppliers and customers to demonstrate all they have learned from working on their senior projects. Programs like Jabil Scholars help youth get ‘work experience’ for their resumes, and by having these opportunities, the students are well ahead of their recently graduated counterparts.
It’s fun to work on a mentorship program like this. If it were tedious or ‘just work’, then no one would want to be involved, but instead, we have all volunteered our time over the last three years to make the Jabil Scholars program what it is today.