From Intern Volunteer to United Way Champion

From Intern Volunteer to United Way Champion

Volunteers show their United Way pride at the 2016 Intern Day of Action

July 19, 2018

Written by Katie Kuhn, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

When Karthik Palaniappan was looking for an engineering job last year, he knew he wanted to work for a company that made giving back to the community a priority. As a student at UW – Milwaukee, Karthik enjoyed volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, building homes all over the country.

Luckily, he knew just where to apply.

Karthik had participated in United Way’s annual Intern Day of Action during his time as a summer intern with Rockwell Automation in 2016. He and his team helped host a literacy and geography fair for students at a local Boys & Girls Club summer program.

“The best part was when the kids would ‘get’ something and get excited about learning,” said Karthik.

Each year, nearly 1,000 interns from across the community complete service projects at local schools and nonprofits during Intern Day of Action. The goal of this day is not only to help the community, but to allow the interns understand local needs and issues, enhance their teamwork skills, and get out of the office to do some good. Rockwell Automation is a longtime sponsor of this event.

“Intern Day of Action sold me on Rockwell Automation. For both the company and its employees, community involvement is huge,” said Karthik. “Rockwell Automation shared my values; I knew I wanted to work there.”

Today, Karthik is a proud Rockwell Automation employee. As a control firmware engineer, Karthik gets the chance to use his skills to work on important projects. In addition to his job tasks, he loves helping out with the annual United Way fundraising campaign and coordinating employee projects for Seasons of Caring.

“One of my favorite ways to help my coworkers get to know United Way is by hosting an agency fair,” said Karthik. In 2017, Rockwell Automation invited ten United Way agency program partners to come to their offices and educate employees about the work they do in the community. Karthik hopes to expand the fair this year.

“Listening to stories from agencies, whether through a fair or volunteering, about where they would be without the support of United Way, really drives home the impact we can have,” said Karthik. “We can make a difference in someone’s life through United Way.”

This year, Rockwell Automation is once again the sponsor of Intern Day of Action and Seasons of Caring, sending thousands of employees out to volunteer with United Way to make a difference in the community and in themselves.

“Intern Day of Action showed me that Rockwell Automation doesn’t look at you as just an employee,” reflected Karthik. “They want to help you be a better human and citizen.”

Feeling inspired? Get involved with United Way as a volunteer, and read more about Intern Day of Action.


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