Broadening Intern Applicant Pool Results in a Big Win for JEDA

Out-of-the-box thinking prompted by CIRAS helped a northeast Iowa manufacturer significantly increase interest in its intern program.

Anthony Aragon, previous intern withJEDA Polymers, has secured a position after
graduation. He credits his work as an intern
to his professional success
Anthony Aragon, previous intern with JEDA Polymers, has secured a position after graduation. He credits his work as an intern to his professional success.

JEDA Polymers, a Dyersville company that makes engineered resins, went from a few intern applicants to more than a dozen after the CIRAS workforce services team assisted the company with refining its recruiting process. CIRAS helped JEDA develop a more detailed job posting, interview questions, and a candidate evaluation matrix. CIRAS facilitated a shift in JEDA’s perspective, emphasizing the importance of expanding their recruitment efforts to encompass both engineering and business students.”

“They were focused on hiring an industrial engineering student, which limited their pool of applicants,” said Mayra Ramirez, CIRAS project manager. “After they expanded their field of interest, they got more applicants and ultimately they hired a business major whose academic work in supply chain management was a perfect fit for them.”

Jeff Goodwin, president of JEDA, was initially skeptical about broadening the intern applicant pool.

“We were in the midst of a Lean manufacturing project, and the next step was about supply chain,” said Goodwin. “So choosing an intern with that background provided the best outcome for our organization.”

Ramirez also helped JEDA with a potential housing issue by connecting the company with their local community college, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC), which provided summer housing for the company’s intern. Finally, she made sure they were aware of the Iowa Student Internship Program funded by Iowa Workforce Development (IWD). The program awards grants to small- to medium-sized companies to support internships. JEDA received a $3,100 grant.

The intern ultimately hired by JEDA was Anthony Aragon, an Iowa State business student majoring in supply chain management. He worked on a maintenance inventory project created by Emily Betz, CIRAS project manager. Betz was responsible for setting the scope of the project as well as its deliverables and milestones.

“Emily guided me through the process of planning, designing, and implementing a better inventory system,” said Aragon. “Ultimately, I created Kanban cards with parts descriptions, numbers, suppliers, reorder points, lead times, and so on. I implemented the system, analyzed the process, and fixed a couple of issues. I also created an instruction manual outlining the basics of the Kanban system and how it works so all employees can use it properly.”

Aragon will graduate in December, and he has already secured a position after graduation. He attributes his professional achievements to the successful internship experience. The experience was positive for JEDA as well.

“I know JEDA received a great product from Anthony, and I’m certain Anthony gained some good experience,” Goodwin said. “It was a total win-win.”

For more information, contact Mayra Ramirez at or 515-520-3101.