Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve University.
Written by Gary Zagar
Edited by Jo Gardner

Zagar Inc., known for its expertise in hole production, drilling and tapping machines, workholding fixtures and more, had a dilemma. We needed to find a good source for new employees, and an idea formed: “find an intern”. Nearly two years later, Zagar Inc. and two local schools have worked in a joint effort to develop a symbiotic liaison. From the original idea that we should “find an intern”, an invaluable relationship formed, opening doors to a wealth of experience and education that continues to benefit everyone connected to it.
In fact, our intern experience has been so beneficial, that we want to pass on our insights, as we examine the potential benefits of aligning your business with all that a school can offer. As businesses move forward, it may be time for many to consider reworking industry models in order to prime our companies for success in the post COVID19 period. Zagar Inc. found having interns from these two local schools turned out to be more than a good idea; it became an incredibly rewarding experience, that we want to share with other businesses, perhaps empowering them to improve their own bottom line as they forge stronger community bonds.
In May of 2018, we decided to find an intern at one of the local universities. We began with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) perhaps because it was physically located near our facilities and seemed like a good starting point. We used LinkedIn to meet the people with whom we eventually developed the intern program; then met with them in person at the CWRU Center for Career Development. We visited the “Think Box” which we refer to as CWRU’s “ecosystem of innovation”. Seeing so many different ideas and projects in every stage of development was truly incredible and we began to understand why so many of CWRU’s remarkable think box participants make their innumerable improvements to industry. We then posted intern positions on the college’s job board for mechanical and electrical engineering positions. We received about twenty resumes for college students who were interested in the intern position.
Zagar also developed a relationship with another local school, Cleveland State University (CSU). Through a series of emails and online connections, we were able to connect with the Associate Dean of the School of Engineering. After an informative tour of the facility, we installed a job post on the CSU message board. Twelve people interested in our internship responded to the job post. We introduced three youth to CSU’s engineering program and the rewards on both sides began to spread. We look forward to the continuing relationship with Cleveland state as they become an integral part of our business.
Candidates from both schools were admitted into our business, and while we looked at their academic records, we also regarded them as respected employees, with an eye to where these candidates fit best in our own organization. We considered both short and long term stints, and searched for the candidate that brought everything to the table. We found that perfect match, following twenty-five candidate interviews, and he is with us two years later. He was a great find, and is a valuable employee. But he is also an employee that we may never have found without rethinking our hiring process options.
More importantly, the relationships we built with the two schools connected their engineering students to local manufacturing. Those connections grew to include the college of business and we now gain access to bright young minds at the same time as we benefit from the sage advice of their professors – all in one shot. We invited the professor in charge of Senior Projects to work with us toward development of the program, who graciously accepted.
We have always felt Zagar Inc. has intuitive minds working toward problem solving in the manufacturing industry, but now we are set up to do some innovative things with a new generation of creative minds. As Zagar Works with the engineering and business colleges, we could be on the verge something great. And it all came from one idea: Find an intern.