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JLG Interns Pilot Cross Cultural Training Program

JLG Industries, an Oshkosh Corp. company and a leading manufacturer of aerial work platforms and telescopic material handlers, offers an internship program that not only includes job training, but also teaches cultural nuances and encourages community outreach. This past summer, the JLG Class of 2012 interns piloted an online cross-cultural training program designed to teache cultural sensitivity and awareness, while enhancing cross-cultural business skills.

“The students entering our internship program are wired to be global,” said Michael Kannisto, Ph.D., director of talent management and talent acquisition at JLG. “Many of them grew up in multi-cultural families, played in multi-cultural groups and are accustomed to working in teams, often with multi-cultural members. What’s more, they’re communicating with tools that provide instant connections to the world around them. At JLG, we acknowledge their global roots, and we have created an internship that builds upon and enhances their global experiences. Using this summer’s class of interns to pilot the CultureWizard program seemed to make perfect sense, given their backgrounds, their experiences and their interests.”

CultureWizard is an online training program designed to create awareness of the impact culture has on people’s values, beliefs and behaviors. “We see it as a way to help employees better understand cultures around the world, including social and business practices, so they can work together more effectively to serve our customers,” Kannisto said.

“The program also helps you learn about yourself, your personality and your own culture — why you do the things you do and how that knowledge can improve both your personal and your professional relationships with individuals from other countries,” said JLG intern Stephanie Song.

As a native of China, Song was especially interested in the program. A graduate of the master’s program in human resources management at Rutgers University, Song joined the JLG internship program after meeting Kannisto at an HR conference. She was interviewed several months later in China, and offered an internship in the U.S.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to begin my career in HR,” Song said. “The best part was they asked me to actually work on the internship program, helping to set up the program and coordinate intern activities with colleagues in JLG facilities around the United States.”

Michael Dziados, another of JLG’s 42 summer interns, participated in the CultureWizard program and appreciated the emphasis JLG places on community outreach such as the opportunity to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project in Hagerstown, Md.

“We’re really trying to demonstrate a continued and interested presence in the communities where we do business,” Kannisto said. “From a recruiting perspective, we try to identify local workers for jobs in our facilities. But we also work hard to be a good corporate citizen, supporting local events and a variety of community service projects. Exposing our interns to these experiences is another important way to teach them about JLG and the work we do.”

As interns learned, their work was evaluated, using the performance management system that is applied to all full-time JLG employees. This addition to the internship program helped interns establish meaningful, smart goals with specific objectives, check progress toward these goals, and provided them with performance assessments at the end of the program.

After the internship, both Song and Dziados received job offers from JLG. Song is working out of the company’s Hagerstown, Md., office as a human resources representative, specializing in compensation and compliance issues. Dziados is a senior safety coordinator at the company’s Shippensburg, Pa., facility.

To learn more about the JLG internship program, visit

JLG Industries is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of access equipment including brands such as JLG aerial work platforms; JLG, SkyTrak and Lull telehandlers; and an array of complementary accessories.

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