When Gordy LaChance arranged an internship for a Blackhawk Technical College student in the City of Janesville’s Information Technology department, he did not know what the future would look like.
“We had never done this before and I really didn’t know what to expect,’’ recalled LaChance, the manager of Information Technology for the city.
When Holly Heitz applied for that IT internship and then earned it after an in-depth interview process, Heitz didnot set her expectations bar very high.
“I thought it would end up being following people around,’’ remembered Heitz, a BTC student in the Computer Service Technician program.
So much for expectations.
Some six months later, as Heitz’s tour with the City of Janesville came to an end, LaChance wasn’t shy about admitting that his expectations were more than exceeded.
“She did a terrific job,’’ LaChance said. “She came in and showed how she fit right in for what we needed.’’
Heitz didn’t come in with any great expectations, either. But by the time she finished her tour after the first week of December, the results were fine.
“I have found it very, very valuable,’’ Heitz said. “It helps to reiterate what I’ve been doing in the program and in the classroom when I have the chance to do it somewhere else, outside of school. I know it’s going to look good on the resume because employers look to see if you’ve had real world experience even when you are in school. But I’ve met a lot of really great and interesting people.’’
Heitz found herself competing with two other BTC students for the position. She went through the requisite application and resume process before the interview process, including one in which three city officials met with her, including one tech-savvy officer from the Janesville Police Dept.
After landing the job, she was designated to help install a software program in the laptops used in Janesville patrol cars. The goal was to speed up the information process for officers, who prior to the new software most often had to use one of the three computers in a computer room at police headquarters. That often created an end of shift traffic jam as officers jostled for an available computer. Now they could get much of their paperwork done right on the job.
As anyone who works with computers knows, installation of new software isn’t always the smoothest of processes. However, that reality helped Heitz expand her personal network. When the inevitable difficulties occurred with the new system, the City of Janesville IT department went calling on the Rock County IT department.
“There have been some issues with it, and our IT department works very closely with Rock County and their IT Technician. We’ve been working hand in hand,’’ she said.
The week after the internship ended, her three semester stay at BTC for the Computer Service Technician program also came to an end. Prior to that, Heitz was contemplating where her new technical diploma might take her. One option she was considering was completing her general education requirements and then applying to UW-Whitewater to study in its computer program.
She also is preparing a new resume that will prominently display her experience with the City of Janesville.
“My goal is to get a job that is full time,’’ she said, smiling, “and where I don’t have to wear a uniform.’’
Blackhawk students and area employers interested in further investigating internship possibilities should contact Kerry Osmond, the internship coordinator for BTC’s Career and Professional Development office. She may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (608) 743-4419.