In-Class Learning with Real-World Application

One goal of the Leadership Center is to establish a greater connection between in-class learning and real-world application. Internship Coordinator, Sandi Goss, wants to increase the number of opportunities KO students have to job shadow or intern in the summer or over a winter break.

At Kaman, the students met with Chris Cartland ’98, a manager of the industrial side of the business and responsible for $30 million in revenue of the $1.8 billion dollar business. The group met initially in a conference room where they learned the nature of the work, parts of the machine, and the history of the company. (In 1945, Charles Kaman, a 26-year-old engineer, founded Kaman Aircraft Company in the garage of his mother’s West Hartford home.) Students were encouraged to ask questions, and one student asked about the impact of automatization on the workforce.

Touring the sprawling quarter mile plant with goggles, the students heard the steady 
background hum of machines and witnessed a number of robots on the production floor.  Kaman introduced the robots to perform the more tedious, dirty and dangerous workload which enabled workers to be more productive. Kaman is proud of the fact that despite the introduction of the robots, the Kaman workforce has remained steady yet simultaneously more productive and efficient. Cartland said the company constantly engages in self-reflection looking for ways in which the business can operate more safely and more efficiently. The students witnessed a Kaman manufactured helicopter land on the site, clearly a highlight of the day.
In addition to the exposure of a real-world industrial setting, the students also learned about Cartland’s own career trajectory. A history major at Providence College, Cartland started a few companies of his own after graduation. When he heard about a Kaman job opening, he decided to give it a shot. After 13 years at the company and seven different job titles, Cartland said, “I didn’t think I would land here, but I can’t think of anything else that I’d be doing.”

After the visit, students were asked to reflect on their experience. Nick Choo ’20 said that the experience gave him exposure to a possible field that he could pursue in the future. Another student’s eyes were opened to the complex process and steps for making one product. But perhaps, most importantly, the key takeaway for many of the students was this: your college major does not really decide where you wind up working, and you’ll change jobs several times along your career path.
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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