southark-internYou never know where an internship might lead.

One of the first students to be a part of the SouthArk Works program, Kourtney Castillo so impressed her supervisors at Great Lakes Solutions that she recently was offered a full-time position as the industrial plant’s storeroom coordinator just a month into her internship.

The 20-year-old accounting major at South Arkansas Community College happily accepted, although she will return to classes in the spring to wrap up a technical certificate.

“She is a good egg,” Great Lakes Solutions human resource manager Erin Packwood said. “She started with an internship position in the storeroom; we were simply interested in giving a bright, talented individual some work experience.

“An opportunity arose and she applied for the [permanent] position through the normal process and proper channels. She was part of a fairly large candidate pool and made it through our selection process.”

It actually was Castillo’s second internship through SouthArk Works, an internship program still in its infancy after getting all wheels on the ground in the spring semester of 2014. After her first internship wrapped in the summer, she sought out a second, landed at Great Lakes Solutions and “blew the socks off” of her bosses.

Her maturity, aplomb, intelligence, work ethic and ability to learn quickly are evident, even though, at 20, Castillo said that she’s young for the job. She didn’t even know what a “gasket” was before taking the position, but deals in them regularly now. As the storeroom coordinator, she is a key cog in the wheel of the facility.

“I’m probably the youngest they ever hired for that position, but that just means I’ll be there that much longer,” Castillo, who is both a wife of three years and a mother to a toddler, said. “It’s interesting. It’s like manning a parts store, just in a plant, and basically the inventory part of accounting. It’s an important job because if they need a part and we haven’t stocked it, that could cause down time or other problems.”

Castillo was quick to point to SouthArk Works as a big reason why she was able to land the position.

“If I hadn’t had the internship during inventory, I wouldn’t have gotten the job,” she said.

For more information about SouthArk Works, contact Sue Bowman at