Working at Niagara Bottling over the past year has been the most influential experience of my high school career. I was able to work on a schedule, had responsibilities, gained hands on experience in the important field of maintenance, and worked with professionals all before my graduation in May. At Niagara, I had the opportunity to work in the maintenance department on Laser Guided Vehicles (LGVs) and the bottling lines. In both cases, either completed or assisted other members of the maintenance team with preventative maintenance (PMs) on machinery which allowed me to use technical skills that I learned through my first three years of Project Lead the Way classes at Lakeview Technology Academy. However, working in the field has taught me more than can be learned in just the classroom. At Niagara I have mentors that help teach me solutions to and guide me through the real-world problems that arise daily.
I also learned a lot about the responsibility that it takes to juggle multiple important commitments like school, work, and social life. Being a youth apprentice at Niagara Bottling has forced me to put an emphasis on time management during my senior year since I must manage my work schedule, class schedule, and homework during the week. However, because my schedule stays consistent throughout the year, I can plan my availability ahead of time every week.
While working at Niagara many opportunities for growth have opened up. Not only have I had a job for the entirety of my senior year, but after completion of my youth apprenticeship I have the opportunity to continue working at Niagara as an intern. Knowing that I will have a good job during the summer immediately following my high school graduation, and potentially my summers during college, is something that I am very thankful for. Working at Niagara has also opened my eyes to the opportunities that are available at all levels of industry and has given me insight on the career path that I plan to pursue. I spoke to those in leadership roles about what degrees they had and what prepared them for their positions. These conversations helped me to choose a major to study. In the fall I will attend Bradley University pursuing a mechanical engineering degree.
My experiences these last 10 months have taught me a lot about what it takes to work at a company and the type of company that I will aspire to work for in the future. Youth Apprenticeship and Niagara Bottling have had an amazing impact on my high school career, and I hope that more students in the future will be able to have experiences similar to mine through work with businesses in the community.
Written by Noah Jiter. Noah is a student at LakeView Technology Academy.