VINCENNES, Ind. - On the last day of an internship with General
Motors, David Bernard left Cleveland, Ohio, with more than valuable
experience. He left with a full-time job offer as he returned to the
Vincennes University campus to complete his final year of study in the
Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Vincennes.
Having a job offer in hand before his senior year is an amazing
opportunity that is not lost on the Indianapolis native, especially
when it comes from a big-name company like GM.
“They told me they would hold a position for me,” he says. “That
meant a lot to me.”
Bernard will graduate from Purdue Polytechnic Vincennes with a
bachelor of science degree in technology on May 9 during a ceremony in
the College of Technology building. Then it’s back to Cleveland and GM
“He achieved success on campus before he entered the Purdue program
and parlayed those accomplishments into bigger aspirations,” says Dr.
Jim Tanoos, Purdue Polytechnic Vincennes interim location director and
clinical associate professor. “His hard work when he first stepped on
VU’s campus enabled him to springboard those endeavors into the next
step, and the next step, and the next step.”
Purdue Polytechnic Vincennes offers a path to a multidisciplinary
technology bachelor’s degree for Vincennes University graduates with
certain associate degrees.
Bernard earned an associate degree from VU in Precision Manufacturing
Technology in 2017. He also earned a Metalworking Technology
certificate that same year.
“Upon looking at the prices of [tuition at] Purdue in West Lafayette,
this was a no-brainer,” Bernard says. “Why would I go all the way to
West Lafayette when this is right downstairs from where I built my
college career. It’s a Purdue degree and that was a huge attraction to
me. I put Purdue on my resume.”
It was in 2018 at VU’s Spring Technology Career Fair that Bernard
connected with GM.
“I tell people constantly if you’re in manufacturing, you have to go
to that job fair,” he says. “It’s too plentiful to not go.
“I’ve attended three and got internships from three.”
He spent the summer of 2018 interning for GM.
“It was my first white-collar internship,” he says. “I was a tool and
die supervisor. I supervised the repairing of the stamps that press
out car components and I shadowed a full-time tool-and-die supervisor.”
In his other internships, Bernard was a machinist for Fastenal, the
largest fastener distributor in North America, and he was a
tool-and-die intern for Allegion, which specializes in products that
provide door security.
“Dave takes every day and makes the best of his environment. He built
up his personal portfolio so that when he spoke with potential
employers, they soon realized that the person they were speaking with
was someone that was to be taken seriously,” Tanoos says.
“Purdue Polytechnic Vincennes really appreciates our longtime
collaboration with the VU Center for Career and Employer Relations
because they set up outstanding career fairs in which our students
participate. The involvement in these career fairs, as well as the
evening professional development workshops, mock interviews, and
access to Blazer Careerlink really enable our students to flourish in
A desire to get into management prompted Bernard to enroll in Purdue
Polytechnic Vincennes and remain on the Vincennes campus an additional
two years after receiving his associate degree.
“I grew up with a father who worked blue-collar jobs his entire
life,” Bernard says. “I have respect for that, but seeing the physical
results of blue-collar work inspired me to want a more managerial
position. He also told me about how young managers in the
manufacturing field are trending and he thought that would be a good
path for me."
Pursuing a master’s degree is in Bernard’s future. He also plans to
enter GM’s Technical Rotation and Career Knowledge (TRACK) program.
“It rotates you for three years,” he says. “I will be doing one year
as a tool-and-die supervisor in a specific department and one year as
a tool-and-die supervisor in another department. I will have completed
the third year of my master’s in supply chain. After the three-year
program I want to be a supply chain director.”
Another goal is to relocate to Europe.
Bernard was exposed to European manufacturing during a study abroad
experience last year. He was among Polytechnic students who
participated in a two-week, multifaceted Central European
Multinational Automobile Organization Supply Chain Experience. They
toured the BMW factory in Germany and a Volkswagen automotive facility
in the Czech Republic. They also toured ports in Germany and the Netherlands.
“That really opened my eyes to European culture; the quality of
living is very high and manufacturing is not only booming, but very
well respected globally,” Bernard says. “My hope would be in the
distant future to be a plant manager or director to help improve
plants across the globe.”
Closer to home, Bernard has devoted loads of energy and effort to
enhancing VU’s campus life. He is president of the Campus Activities
Board and assistant director of the Ebner Residence Hall. Bernard is a
VU Student Ambassador and a Residence Hall Association member. He also
served as president of the VU Manufacturing Club.
“Many of his fellow students look to him as a role model because they
are aware of his career path and his past successes,” Tanoos says.
“And I found that he soon became a leader during the study abroad as well.”
PURDUE POLYTECHNIC VINCENNES
The Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Vincennes is part of a
statewide network that offers the same technology degrees available in
West Lafayette. The benefit of earning a degree at the Vincennes
location is that the intimate setting of the campus provides students
with dedicated, one-on-one attention.
Purdue Polytechnic Vincennes offers a degree-completion program
in multidisciplinary technology. Graduates usually find employment in
business and industry in Vincennes and the surrounding communities.In
addition, Purdue serves as a resource for local business and
industrial personnel who are updating their skills or who need
retraining in technical fields.