CRANE, Ind. - Readiness is a major focus of Crane Army Ammunition Activity, which includes the readiness of the CAAA workforce. To draw in new talent, Crane Army employs the Pathways Internship Program, offering internships in the federal government to students ranging from high school through post graduate school.

Hiring interns allows CAAA to create a talent pool so it can fill positions more quickly than traditional hiring methods allow and strengthen its succession planning.

"We bring in younger students and have them work with older, more knowledgeable employees so that the students can learn on-the-job," Aaron Siek, a CAAA management analyst, said. "Eventually we'll be able to transition the interns smoothly into that full-time position."

Pathways is a paid internship program. Students must work 640 hours for the organization and obtain their degree before converting to regular employment without further competition.

"The internship program at Crane has been active for two years and we've been able to convert 12 of the 13 interns to either permanent or term positions through the Pathways initiative," Siek said.

Ginger Shumar, a management analyst with the Depot Operations Directorate, was a Pathways intern from Indiana Wesleyan University who completed the program and now works full-time for Crane Army. She said the program provided multiple opportunities to learn about CAAA and its mission.

"As an intern, I have been afforded a wide variety of opportunities that have provided an overall picture of what Crane Army is really about," Shumar, who worked full time while taking courses online, said. "If I had started in one certain position, I might not have had those same opportunities."

The process can seem lengthy, but Shumar says it helps build character.

"With hard work and a lot of patience, it can pay off," Shumar said. "I have found people to work with that are like family; people who make coming to work something that I want to do every day."

Part of what makes the program successful for both Crane Army and the interns is its flexibility to allow the student to work around his or her school schedule.

"The best thing about this internship is the flexible hours with my school schedule and the real life experience in my major field," Mariah Long, a current Pathways intern from Indiana University, said. Supporting Crane Army's Resource Management Directorate, Long works part time while school is in session and full time when it is not. It provides an opportunity to gain experience while working on her degree. "What I hope to gain from this is to better understand the Human Resource field."

The Pathways Program has a unique ability to not only build relationships between the intern and the supervisor, but also with academic organizations.

"We've also fostered connections with academic institutions, which helps increase the potential applicant pool and provides access to resources such as research and development and specialized training opportunities," Siek said.

According to Siek, CAAA's main recruiting focuses are electrical and mechanical engineers, as well as professional positions such as auditors and lawyers. In Indiana, CAAA recruits at Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Evansville, Indiana State University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech Community College and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. CAAA focuses most of its Pathways recruiting efforts within 200 miles of NSA Crane, but does recruit from universities as far away as as New Mexico Tech's Explosive Engineering Program.

"I'd like to see the Pathways internships program continuously utilized, and made permanent so we can always have the ability to bring students here and let them experience what federal employment and careers at Crane are like," Siek said.

Based on the needs of its workload and current workforce level, Crane Army frequently seeks interns in the fields of engineering, supply chain management, logistics, public affairs, internal auditor, continuous improvement, security, financial management, information management, safety and management analyst.

More information about job opportunities with the U.S. Army at Crane as a civilian employee is available at www.crane.army.mil/pa/careers.html.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is one of 14 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial bases under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants. Established Oct. 1977, it is located on Naval Support Activity Crane.