EDWARDS, Ill. (WMBD) — Hundreds of summer interns played in the dirt and tried out simulators during Caterpillar’s internship orientation at the Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center.

The three-month internship was virtual for the last few years because of the pandemic.

Jody Howard, Director of Innovation and Marketing Technology, said Caterpillar has nearly 500 interns this summer, which is one of its largest classes ever.

It’s wonderful to return to in-person internships and give interns an “injection of yellow blood,” she said.

“We’re really excited to bring back our interns and kick it off in this fabulous way.  We’ve got all the machines out, we’ve got great events for them to learn about Caterpillar, and for the first time, we’ve gotten to host a large event,” she said.

Julio Vargas, 19, said he is following his father’s footsteps as he embarks on a marketing internship at Caterpillar.

“I think CAT’s always been something that I’ve strived for. My dad worked for CAT growing up, he worked in marketing as well. Yellow blood runs through these veins and I was taught CAT pride from a young age,” he said.

Vargas said his goal is to land a full-time job at Caterpillar.