KBI Alumni Spotlight

Clayton Prell, Janice, Jacob Howland, Yair Gonzalez

MCC’s Office of Career Services is a valuable resource for students, alumni, and community residents alike—but many aren’t aware of everything it offers. From help selecting a career to resume writing, interviewing tips, finding local jobs or internships, and more, Career Services has something for those at any stage of their career planning.

Because of the valuable connections between students eager to learn and local organizations looking to find new, skilled talent, Career Services has many businesses that they partner with year after year.

One of these companies is KBI Custom Case, Inc., a casework manufacturer based in Hebron, IL. KBI specializes in frameless cabinets, countertops, custom millwork, solid surface thermoforming, and more.

“KBI has been involved with the internship program since September 2022 and found it to be very beneficial,” said Janice LeTourneau, President of KBI Custom Case. “We are committed to hiring a self-driven, intelligent, and diverse workforce. MCC has been a wonderful resource for finding individuals with these attributes.”

KBI has hired many of their interns full-time, including Jacob Howland, who studied construction management at MCC. Howland initially reached out to Career Services because he was interested in finding something that would help him begin his career in the construction industry.

“What appealed to me about this position was the opportunity to get my feet wet and see what goes on in the construction and manufacturing industry,” he said. “There were a lot of concepts I could apply to this position from my studies, such as reading construction documents, using schedules, and understanding the bidding process.”

Some of his internship tasks included assisting in the estimation process, organizing and prioritizing incoming bid opportunities, and performing quantity takeoffs. He has since been hired by KBI as an estimator.

“The internship prepared me for this new role, as I was able to see all the little tasks and details that need to be taken care of before the big tasks,” he said. “I learned that a lot of the time, the smaller details matter the most. I’m also very grateful for all the people who prepared me to take on this role.”

Clayton Prell, another intern who now works full-time at NiMCO, also found the opportunity with KBI to be valuable.

At MCC, he was taking AutoCAD, Solidworks, and Blueprint Reading classes to earn a certificate in Architectural/Engineering Design. He was able to use some of his blueprint reading skills in his day-to-day functions at KBI.

“I uploaded building plans to a program we used to pull in preloaded millwork assemblies to create accurate estimates for projects, and organized that information into bid proposals,” he said. “The KBI internship gave me great experience in the field.”

LeTourneau said the interns offer many benefits in addition to playing an integral part in the company’s day-to-day estimating and engineering assignments.

“Our organization is able to be more cost-effective as they perform this work, but the partnership also provides valuable insight by connecting us to the norms of a new generation—the future workforce.”

Working with MCC and their internship program has also enabled KBI to reevaluate standard practices, she said.  

“Although we are in the early stages of providing internship opportunities, we continue to grow as a company with each training and onboarding process.” 

Both Howland and Prell recommend MCC Career Services to others.

“The staff in Career Services really listened to me and gave me as many options as they saw fit,” Howland said. “I would advise future students to be patient and wait for the right career opportunity. My opportunity did not come to me right away—but there are excellent people at MCC who will listen and can lead you in making the right decisions.”

“My experience with Career Services was great,” agreed Prell. “They helped guide me through deciding to attend MCC, choosing a career path, organizing classes, and got me connected with employers in the field. The school has a lot of good connections and tools to help you get that first job.”

Learn about Career Services