Editor’s note: At the time this story was published, USGlass was unaware of the legal allegations concerning Brad Aldrich. Read more

For the last four years, OcuGlass in Calumet, Mich., has relied on college student talent to provide support and solutions in a variety of areas for the acid-etched glass manufacturer. Being in a community that has a public university, a private university and a community college, OcuGlass saw the opportunity to recruit students who could bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to their company.

“The idea of utilizing these bright minds has been crucial in the development and growth of our company. These students not only bring knowledge in their field, but they come in with great energy and new ideas every time they walk through the door,” says Brad Aldrich, CEO of OcuGlass.

The company ensures that the interns are paid and that they have schedules that are flexible so their classwork, extracurricular activities and family take priority.

“While their work for us is important, it is more important that they are focused on school, participating in their community and spending breaks and free time with their families,” says Aldrich.

In the course of this program, OcuGlass has had 16 interns from Michigan Tech University, Finlandia University, Gogebic Community College, Northern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Michigan State University and Arizona State University. Fields of study have ranged from marketing to finance and various engineering fields including mechanical, environmental and chemical.

Nine of the former, or current, interns are completing their undergraduate studies. Current mechanical engineering intern Andrew Rose will graduate in May from Michigan Tech and has been accepted to graduate school in the field of aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my OcuGlass experience. Unlike other internships, I was treated like a real engineer and entrusted with responsibilities that both challenged and excited me,” he says.

Rose has been involved with a collaboration project with Dollar Bay High School in which he works with the students there to design and 3-D print crucial parts for the production line at OcuGlass. Because of this project, the company no longer has to order generic parts from Italy, which has saved time, money and headaches, according to the company.

“My biggest highlight has been the collaboration between OcuGlass and the high school,” says Rose. “Helping high schoolers learn the engineering design process while also helping OcuGlass stay on the cutting edge of glass etching has been a very cool experience.”

Nick Gedda is studying marketing at Michigan Tech.

“The opportunity to work in a real-world setting at OcuGlass while I worked toward my undergraduate degree at Michigan Tech was something that I am very thankful for,” he says. “I was able to be part of a team of hard-working people who included me and valued my input, while helping me grow as a marketer and a person.”

OcuGlass plans to continue to recruit and work with college student talent in all areas of its business.

“We are proud of the program that has unfolded, and we are extremely grateful for the efforts and contributions of the interns,” says Aldrich. “Mostly, though, we are proud of what these students have accomplished in the classroom, their careers and in their communities. They will always be a part of Team OG and they know that.”