News: College student introduced to DCMA workforce
Story by Jo Adail Stephenson
DETROIT - “I had never heard of DCMA,” Lori Jones, an Eastern Michigan University student and Air Force veteran, said, prior to accepting an internship to work at the Defense Contract Management Agency office here as part of the Workforce Recruitment Program.
As Jones nears the end of her WRP internship, the experience at DCMA Detroit has made a memorable impression.
“While I’ve been here, I’ve enjoyed working with everyone and seeing what they do,” Jones said. “I’m absolutely going to miss this place when I leave.”
The opportunity to work at DCMA Detroit came about because Jones, who is majoring in health care administration, needed to complete an internship related to the administrative field in order to graduate. WRP was offered through EMU and personnel there encouraged her to get involved with the program.
WRP is a recruitment and referral program connecting federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities through summer or permanent jobs.
Jones decided to participate in the program and posted her resume. Time passed and “Then I started getting all of these emails – ‘we saw your resume’ – ‘we want to interview you,’” she said.
Since she wanted to stay in the federal sector, she chose DCMA because “they were one of the first who reached out to me, so I started emailing them back and forth. It seemed like a good fit.”
Under WRP, she has worked 40 hours a week. Classes revolve around her job. She takes some courses online or attends an evening class after she gets off from work.
Throughout her internship at DCMA Detroit, Jones has gained valuable office experience through the various work assignments she has performed and from the help and assistance she has received from employees.
“I just love the open-door policy here. I haven’t seen that in so long,” she said. “I couldn’t even believe it because I can just knock on someone’s door and say, ‘Can I ask you a question?’ and they stop what they’re doing and help me or say ‘give me one second.’ It’s always ‘what can I do for you’ every time I’ve had a question.”
While Jones is eager to continue her college course work and plans to have her degree completed in less than a year, she views the end of her WRP internship at DCMA Detroit as bittersweet. “You get to know people and I’ve had so many people help me. I hate to leave,” she said.
For DCMA contract management offices, internships provide the opportunity to introduce college students to a microcosm of the agency’s workforce.
“It pays us dividends when they go back to their colleges and talk about their good experiences,” Duane Dembinski, DCMA Detroit deputy director, said. “It’s also important for us to contribute to their long-term success.”