By Suzanne Weiss, Director of Public Relations
Silver Lake College student Davontae Fleming enjoys working one level below the bustling main floor of Holy Family Memorial Medical Center in Manitowoc.
Fleming, a 21-year-old senior majoring in information systems, feels right at home surrounded by stacks of laptops shelved near baskets of cords and boxes of electronic tablets.
He is a summer intern in technical support with Caretech Solutions, which maintains and supports computers, networks and phone systems for the Holy Family Memorial network.
“These internships give students an opportunity for hands-on experience, especially important in IT,” said Fleming’s supervisor, Brian Mowrer, Manager of Systems Administration.
With 1,100 employees and more than 2,000 computers network-wide, Fleming is getting plenty of that.
“Learning in the field is different from the classroom,” Fleming said. “I’ve learned different ways of upgrading software. It’s like learning everything all over again.”
Fleming has been shadowing IT field engineers and learning “how to depend on others and how to ask for help,” he said.
“He also participates in the tech meetings and discussions and learns how the department operates,” Mowrer said. “He’s doing real well, taking up projects and running with them.”
Fleming said that he’s also learning to communicate technical information to non-tech individuals when he helps employees throughout the HFM network.
His interest in computers was kindled when he attended tech-oriented elementary and middle schools growing up in Milwaukee, Fleming said.
While he was nervous going from college classroom to a real-world internship, employees at Caretech Solutions and Holy Family Memorial have been very helpful and social, which helped ease his nerves, he said.
“The most challenging part of IT is keeping up with everything because everything is always changing,” Fleming said. “I have to learn it and master it. That’s the great thing about the job. You’re constantly working on something new. You don’t have to sit at a desk all day. It gives me an idea of what I will be getting into, especially if I work in a hospital, which is something I would enjoy.”
Work will be an integral part of the student experience starting in fall 2016 as Silver Lake College transforms itself into America’s first Catholic institution of higher learning to become a Work College.
Named SLC Works, the initiative will help students gain work experience while they earn a valuable four-year degree.
All new Silver Lake College residential freshmen and transfer students will work as a condition of their enrollment.
The program will reduce debt, provide on-the-job training, and build the student’s résumés, increasing their potential for landing that first job after graduation.
Freshmen and sophomores will be given on-campus positions that help them concentrate on improving their liberal arts skills, such as communication and critical thinking.
Juniors and seniors will focus on moving up the ranks to supervisory positions on and off campus, including internships in their fields of study, so they can apply management skills and put into practice what they have learned.
Silver Lake College and Holy Family Memorial are sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.
CareTech Solutions is a leader in information technology and end-user interface services for U.S. hospitals and health systems. CareTech Solutions provides IT services for Holy Family Memorial and the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity administrative offices.