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You’re Hired! Interns Build Cars and Careers at FCA US

June 20, 2014

An intern at the Company's WCM Academy wears a human motion capture suit to demonstrate the movements required to build a child’s bike. Analysis of the data will help improve ergonomics and workplace organization for the operator on the line.

An intern at the Company’s WCM Academy wears a human motion capture suit to demonstrate the movements required to build a child’s bike. Analysis of the data will help improve ergonomics and workplace organization for the operator on the line.

Although most college students may be accustomed to drinking coffee for late night study sessions, knowing how to brew a cup of joe shouldn’t be an internship requirement unless applying to work as a barista.

At FCA US, interns don’t fetch coffee—they build cars and careers.

This summer, FCA US welcomed 490 interns from 123 universities and 27 states, which is the largest number of interns the program has had in its 19 years.

Whether it’s analyzing industry trends, developing concept vehicles or wiring circuit boards, FCA US interns in all areas of the company get hands-on experience they can expand on in their future careers.

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Interns hear about the Anthropomorphic Test Device Lab (dummy lab) during the impact-test tour at an intern ride and drive event at the Chelsea (Mich.) Proving Grounds.

“The learning curve is exponential,” Oumta Youkhana, an Interior Lighting Development intern from Wayne State University in Detroit, said. “Everything that I do is exactly what I would be doing if I were to be a full time engineer here at Chrysler.”

Not only are FCA US interns making history within the company, but many are eager to be a part of the revitalization of Detroit.

“I see the impact that Chrysler has made in Detroit and its surrounding areas, and I want to play a part in restoring our city,” Youkhana said. “Working at Chrysler feels like I am a part of history in the making, and the best is yet to come.”

Mitten opportunities

Each year the Company’s University Relations team gives interns the opportunity to network and realize all that Michigan has to offer.

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A group of summer interns building a balloon-powered car at Intern Immersion Day, an event that familiarizes interns with the company and allows them to network among themselves.

“For some of the incoming interns, this is their first time in Michigan,” Denise Debouvre, FCA US University Relations Manager, said. “We do a lot to inform and help the interns understand that Michigan is a great place to live and work.”

The Company’s participation in the After 5 Intern Program is one of those experiences. The program brings together young talent from various companies in Metro Detroit with unique events and activities that showcase what the city has to offer.

“I’m excited for a day in the city of Detroit,” Jon Ribnick, a Purchasing Finance intern from Indiana University, said. “I have never been there before, making that day a fantastic opportunity.”

Motown dreamin’

Alejandro Diaz, a Chrysler Institute of Engineering intern from Florida International University, said he wanted to get his “hands dirty” in the automotive scene but the opportunity to do so in Miami was nearly impossible.

“Well, I love cars,” Diaz said. “Miami, Florida, is a big city, like New York, L.A., Chicago, Detroit, but basically nonexistent in the automotive industry. Being a U.S. citizen and working for the Big 3 is always the dream.”

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This year’s summer intern program is the largest it’s ever been and features 502 interns from 27 states and 127 different universities.

Thousands of students applied for internships through the Chrysler Careers website, with recruiting efforts focused on 24 core colleges and universities in order to build relationships with school faculty, staff and students.

“(In the past) we had challenges trying to get people to come here to Michigan,” Debouvre said. “Now we have people so excited in long lines at a career booth, an info session or a Chrysler day on campus.”