By Jacob Meyer, Communications Intern
Elbit Systems of America celebrated the fifth annual National Intern Day in late July in recognition of the contributions interns make, while gaining valuable work experience.
Elbit America has a robust internship program that employs 41 interns across various parts of the organization, including in engineering, IT and manufacturing. Elbit America President and CEO Raanan Horowitz discussed the work of interns and their importance to the company.
“Elbit America Interns get to do real work alongside talented professionals who take pleasure in passing along the knowledge and wisdom they’ve acquired along the way,” Horowitz said. “By no means is this a one-way street. Just as our interns learn a great deal from their experience here, we learn from them as well. And I find their curiosity, energy and enthusiasm contagious.”
Alexis Kates began her career with Elbit America as an intern in 2018. When she started, her supervisors sat down with her to ask what she hoped to get out of the internship.
“After we had that conversation, I got started working on projects that were very specific to what I wanted to go into in the future, it was a great experience,” Kates said.
Now a training and development specialist with Elbit America, Kates oversees the internship program. She said the program’s focus on giving interns exposure to a range of work allows them to practice their skills and pursue their interests.
“We give interns meaningful work that helps them develop and grow as much as the intern is helping the company,” Kates said.
Brett Cohen, Vice President of Human Resources and Employee Development, emphasized that Elbit America interns contribute to projects in significant ways by performing important, hands-on work.
Taylor Bargfrede, a recent intern with Elbit America, said her internship experience was valuable in starting her career.
“I had the best experience at Elbit America,” Bargfrede said. “I learned so much about the industry of aerospace and defense, as well as basic communication skills that I’ve been able to carry with me now into my career. It was a great way to jump into the professional world, because it was my first experience really working a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday kind of job. It has certainly helped to jumpstart my career.”
Bargfrede said a highlight of her internship was the great relationships she developed with Elbit America employees. She worked in communications and was involved in various projects, including contributing to the company newsletter. There she had the opportunity to work on articles, develop her writing skills and interact with people from various parts of the company.
One of Bargfrede’s most memorable experiences was writing an article for the newsletter about employees who volunteered in their community.
“I wrote a story about some of our volunteer firefighters who are also Elbit America employees,” Bargfrede said. “I got the opportunity to interview them and they told all these cool stories about the work that they’ve done. Most of them had been in volunteer firefighting for a very long time, had seen a lot and contributed a lot to the community. Elbit America really values community involvement, and I think they really embodied that.”
Interns also participate in presentations where they meet with executive leadership and showcase the projects they have been working on over the course of their internships. Kates said the presentations are a valuable experience and a great opportunity to receive feedback.
However, internships are not only valuable because of the experience interns gain and the work they contribute, but also because of how internship programs can shape the future of the industry as a whole. Cohen said the workforce in aerospace and defense is growing older and internships are a great way of cultivating and identifying new talent.
“Our average age is a little over 50 years and the reality is we’re going to be having a lot of retirements coming up,” Cohen said. “Internships help rejuvenate the organization with young talent and bring people in.”
Cohen explained that engineering interns often have skills from new and emerging fields that more experienced engineers may be largely unfamiliar with, introducing new perspectives and allowing both parties to learn as a result. Additionally, many interns are offered permanent positions with Elbit America when their internships conclude.
Cohen said working with interns is a great experience and he is continually impressed with the people Elbit America attracts to the program.
“I’ve been really wowed by the initiative, motivation and drive of the interns we’ve gotten, pretty much across the board,” Cohen said.
View Elbit America's current job opportunities, including available internships, at https://www.elbitamerica.com/careers.