It’s every graduating high school student’s dream: paid college tuition. Tyron Casady got just that thanks to a partnership with Lee Container.
“It started when I was graduating high school,” Casady says. “Lee Container had a scholarship they wanted to give me, and when they gave me the scholarship, they also told me to call them to see about internships because I was going into robotics.”
From there, Casady and Lee Container came to an agreement. Casady would work two days a week as an intern with Lee Container while pursuing his degree at Indian Hills Community College. Lee Container would pay Casady’s tuition with the understanding that he would join the company as a full-time employee once he graduated — which he did this past May.
“He’s a great guy: smart, dependable, and reliable,” Rob Pettit, Lee Container production superintendent says.
The partnership was beneficial for both Casady and Lee Container. Casady received his degree without any debt and had job security post-graduation. Lee Container got to train a future full-time employee and received extra help while Casady interned.
“Although he was part-time, we did have an extra set of hands to help out on both the technical and the maintenance side two days a week,” Pettit says. “And we knew we were training someone for the future who was going to be a strong asset.”
Interning also benefitted Casady in his classes.
“I was able to learn some things at work that I learned before we got to them in school,” Casady explains. “That helped me get ahead in that a little bit.”
Lee Container has partnered with students like Casady in the past too. While they don’t have a formal internship program, Lee Container partners with students on a case-by-case basis and encourages those interested to reach out.
“We’re always looking for qualified students that want to get into advanced manufacturing and make a career for themselves,” Pettit says.
Pettit has had especially positive experiences working with Indian Hills Community College students like Casady.
“Can’t say enough about Indian HIlls and the caliber of students,” Pettit says. “I’ve had great experiences dealing with both the Ottumwa and Centerville campuses.”
Both Pettit and Casady recommend this type of partnership to other area businesses and students.
“It’s a good opportunity to see if you like the industry,” Casady shares. “You can get a lot of experience, and you can get interview experience just by going in and talking to the company.”
For Pettit, he sees partnerships like this as a way to remind young people in the area that companies like Lee Container provide multiple career avenues, not just manufacturing.
“It’s a great pipeline, and it’s a great way to keep young people in this area,” Pettit says. ”A lot of outside people not involved in manufacturing don’t understand all of the opportunities that come from manufacturing like purchasing, accounting, human resources, sales — there’s a lot going on.”
In addition to the partnership supporting college students, Pettit sees a benefit from these interns bringing new ideas to the company.
“We always learn something from the students,” Pettit says. “They always bring a fresh perspective and bring things back from the classroom that may be new and something we haven’t thought of. It’s always a great experience.”
If you’re interested in a student partnership with Lee Container, reach out to their office at (641) 856-6123.