(Fargo, North Dakota. —November 23, 2011) Energy, advanced manufacturing, information technology, value-added agriculture and tourism have been identified as North Dakota’s targeted industries by the Department of Commerce. Through Operation Intern, a higher education program started in 2007, students throughout the state are being given valuable insight and employment opportunities in these five targeted industries. Spectrum Aeromed, a Fargo based medical device manufacturing company, has partnered with North Dakota State University (NDSU) to create a symbiotic opportunity for students and employees since 2008.

This year Spectrum Aeromed provided five interns a chance to learn hands-on skills in both manufacturing and administration. NDSU students Lucas Budzien, James Fraser and Marco Fenu, industrial manufacturing engineering students; Anna Ahlfs, a public relations and advertising student; and Amanda Moen, an accounting student, are among the interns.

“I wanted to work for a smaller company, where I would feel comfortable asking questions and learning more about my field,” said Moen. “I realized that I would have the opportunity to be involved in a company that is unique in its field and rapidly growing, and that this internship would give me the confidence in my abilities as an accountant to find the right career after I graduate.”

Bob Daily is the production manager at Spectrum Aeromed. He supervises all manufacturing and has three interns from NDSU. They work on the production floor and learn how to read blueprints, operate a vertical mill, lathe, basic hand tools, and teamwork.

“Today’s global economy is constantly changing and becoming more competitive,” said Daily. “In order for America to achieve its goals for competing with other countries, education and work experience are critical. Internship programs support that goal. Interns are offered the opportunity to experience the workforce at the same time obtaining their educational goals.”

Budzien works with Daily in the manufacturing division.

“Spectrum Aeromed has many different areas that I am interested in,” said Budzien “I am able to work and learn all the different aspects of manufacturing and operations of today’s top companies. It feels great to be able to work for one of America’s fastest-growing companies. Spectrum Aeromed teaches you what aspects of business you’re interested in.”

Part of the program is also designed to expose North Dakota students to opportunities within the state for employment and various careers within each industry.

“I had no idea how many opportunities North Dakota had. From researching different internship, co-ops and talking to other engineers, I now know that there are countless great opportunities in North Dakota,” said Budzien.

“I’ve gone from thinking the only type of accounting field that I would want to work in was auditing to realizing how much I enjoy cost accounting. This internship has definitely broadened my options for choosing a career after college,” added Moen.

United States students gain experience working with international clients and international students gain local experience at Spectrum Aeromed.

“I was very interested in the type of business that Spectrum Aeromed was in,” said Ahlfs. “Where else in Fargo, ND can you work for a company that has the small family business feel and still helps customers from all over the world. This internship made me realize what I want to look for in a company when I’m looking for a full-time job.”

Marco Fenu is from Iglesias, Italy. “I have learned a lot about the manufacturing process and the assembly line,” said Fenu. “I learn something new everyday. I realize that a person is never done learning, no matter what age. 
 I think it is an honor to be able to work with Spectrum Aeromed and I’m glad I am able to be a part of it.”
The internship program has also been beneficial to Spectrum Aeromed. “All of the interns we’ve secured through NDSU have been talented and ambitious students that are well prepared to jump in and assist our current staff,” said Tammy Enright of Spectrum Aeromed. “As a fast-growing small business, this is a great recruiting tool. We can identify potential future employees who become well versed in our company as we continue to grow and have position openings.”

“The interns have inspired the current Spectrum Aeromed employees with excellent work ethic,” added Daily. “They are willing to learn any task given to them, have positive attitudes and want to continue to learn more as they progress.”

According to Job Service of North Dakota statistics, North Dakota had over 17,000 job openings in September and that number is expected to increase. . Programs like Operation Intern help keep talented students in the state and prepare them to join the workforce.

“This program is a great example of a public and private venture that benefits our entire state,” said North Dakota Department of Commerce Youth Office Manager Brianna Strahm. “Companies can receive up to $6,000 per student or a maximum of $30,000 every two years. It is great to see companies like Spectrum Aeromed accept interns. We hope these students will plant roots and remain in our state once they realize how many great opportunities exist for them.”

President and CEO of Spectrum Aeromed Dean Atchison has made educational initiatives in North Dakota a priority at Spectrum Aeromed. “These students represent the future of not only companies like ours, but also our state and our country. It is imperative we take time to invest in these students. Our country was built on hard work, education and innovation. We are proud to be a part of a program that encompasses all of these traits and we enjoy partnering with NDSU. We hope to continue to provide NDSU students a place to learn, expand their thinking and dream about their futures.”

Spectrum Aeromed is a leading global designer and manufacturer of custom air medical and air ambulance equipment for fixed and rotor wing aircraft. The company is qualified to produce specialized life support solutions for air, ground and marine support applications. Spectrum Aeromed holds more than 90 Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) covering more than 450 models of aircraft. Spectrum Aeromed is headquartered in Fargo, ND with a 17,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. For more information, visit www.spectrum-aeromed.com.