Brandon Gibson knew early on in high school that he had interest in subjects like maintenance, electrical work and welding.
Gibson studied all three at the Golden Isles College and Career Academy, but he did not know how he would pursue his interests in a career until his senior year, when representatives from King & Prince Seafood met with a group of students at the school to share internship opportunities available at the company.
Gibson, with the guidance of school staff, pursued and later received the opportunity to work as an intern at King & Prince Seafood directly out of high school.
“My teacher told me about it, and he said it would probably be a good fit for me,” Gibson said.
Soon after his graduation in May from Brunswick High School, Gibson joined King & Prince Seafood as an intern with the company’s maintenance team at the Brunswick plant. He works closely with the maintenance technicians as they troubleshoot and repair equipment.
The internship will run for 12 weeks. It began with a week of orientation and then a week spent with the production workers, so Gibson could see those operations firsthand.
“He did a lot of training in his first week with us, with orientation and getting used to it,” said Bill Dion, maintenance manager at King & Prince Seafood. “Then we put him in production for the week after that, so that he could learn how the equipment operates and how production operates, which would give him a better insight into how to troubleshoot and repair equipment.”
Gibson will spend the remainder of his internship working with the maintenance team. If he’s interested in pursuing job opportunities at King & Prince Seafood, then the company may bring him on as an apprentice at the end of his internship.
“Our goal is to help people with interest and aptitude like Brandon see a lot of different things,” said Tom Norton, vice president of human resources for King & Prince Seafood. “And they’re not going to know exactly what they want to do right away, but the more they see, the better.”
In an apprenticeship, Gibson would be able to take classes at Coastal Pines Technical College while working for King & Prince Seafood.
“So he’s going to continue to learn and to work at the same time, which is a lot to do but that’s the ideal way to learn, because you’re applying what you’re hearing in the classroom,” Norton said.
Gibson received OSHA-10 training and certification in workplace safety while at the Career Academy. He said the classes at GICCA prepared him for this internship.
“It was really good,” he said. “They also have the work ethic too, so if you were late somedays, they take off points, I guess like here too.”
Through the company’s partnership with GICCA, King & Prince Seafood offers internship opportunities in industrial maintenance and skilled trades careers.
King & Prince Seafood is among many companies struggling right now to recruit young talent, due in part to the lack of awareness about career opportunities in the industrial maintenance field. Internship programs like this make students aware of what those jobs look like, Dion said.
“We need maintenance people, and it’s very hard to find seasoned people right now,” he said. “… So what we’re trying to do is draft these kids in high school to want to come to industrial maintenance.”
Norton has worked to spread that message to students and parents in Glynn County.
“Our need is now, but obviously it takes people a while to learn the craft,” he said. “The biggest challenge for us is to make sure that the students in the schools and the parents and the counselors and the teachers all know there are great jobs in this field, great careers in this community.”
Other companies interested in learning more about partnering with GICCA for internship programs are encouraged to contact Susan Faulk, work-based learning coordinator for Glynn County Schools, at email@example.com.