Underwriters Laboratory intern program energizes careers of Durham Tech students

If you have an electric device in your home, you’ve seen a tag with the simple UL logo attached to it somewhere, signifying that the device has been tested and approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). As stated on its website, UL certifies, validates, tests, inspects, audits, advises, and trains – all to advance its mission of promoting safe living and working environments through safety science. Over the past few years, Durham Tech’s Electrical Systems Technology program has acted as a conduit for UL, providing a steady stream of interns (referred to as “work-based learning students” at the college), many of whom have transitioned to full-time employees.

Like an alternating current, the benefits of this partnership flow both ways. Durham Tech students get meaningful, high-quality work experiences, while UL knows it can rely on Durham Tech to produce well-trained employees who are able to get up to speed quickly.

Daniel Carter, laboratory manager at UL, has been the primary supervisor for these students. According to Carter, “The program has been very beneficial to UL, and I’m glad to be part of it.” So far, six Durham Tech interns have impressed UL enough to be offered full-time positions, in jobs that range from conducting product safety tests to determining if products are immune to electromagnetic interference to testing devices for fire and shock hazards.

Carter added, “By working directly with Durham Tech, UL has assisted in developing a pool of talented individuals that we have been able to utilize in various testing disciplines across the company. It has been exciting and rewarding to help grow the Durham Tech/UL partnership to what it is today. We at UL are champions of progress, and we strive to positively impact society while ensuring its safety. This is one of the ways we demonstrate pride in being UL employees, as well as support our overall mission.”

The following UL employees began their careers at UL with the Durham Tech program, which subsequently led to them being hired full-time:

  • Christopher Edwards, laboratory technician in the High Tech lab, UL Headquarters, Northbrook, IL.
  • William Lee, laboratory technician in Commercial & Industrial unit (formerly Product Safety), UL, RTP.
  • Marion Pierce, laboratory technician, WiSE (Wireless, Interoperability, Security, and EMC), UL, RTP.
  • Joseph McGraw, laboratory technician, Electrical lab, UL, RTP.
  • Kelon Charles, laboratory technician, Commercial & Industrial unit (formerly Product Safety), UL, RTP.
  • JaVon Terrell, laboratory technician, Personal Protective Equipment unit, UL, RTP.

A seventh Durham Tech student, Sarah Thomson, is currently working as an intern at UL and is grateful for the opportunity, “At UL, I have been working with various people in the Electrical Testing lab to help me get a feel for the different types of work they do here. My experience has been primarily in components testing and lighting, but I have been able to observe and assist in some testing outside of those areas as well. It has been a really great experience.” Thomson plans to graduate in July with a degree in Electrical Systems Technology.

Micara Lewis, chair of Business Technologies and Education programs at Durham Tech, is thrilled with the partnership. “UL is a very exciting partner to work with for work-based learning. When we contact UL, they never hesitate to devote their time to this extension of the students’ learning. Each student who is afforded this opportunity receives quality training the field of electrical systems technology. Along with the training they receive, students also receive feedback on their ability to take the theories and skills learned in the classroom and apply them to hands on-situations. I am excited to work with UL each year because I am confident that our students will grow with the training UL provides.”