Inform. Connect. Provide.
Since there is a gap between education and employment, one logical solution is to connect teachers and employers by providing them time to gain insight from each other. This opportunity was provided for teachers from Marietta City Schools on May 29. Over 140 teachers boarded buses and went to nine different businesses around town. The list of businesses includes: Solvay, EDI, Eramet, Peoples Bank, Pickering Associates, Marietta Memorial Hospital, City of Marietta Government, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Pleasants Power, and PDC Energy. Teachers spent a couple of hours touring the businesses and learning a bit about the inner workings of the organization.
What I learned on my tour is that chemistry is a course that is necessary for students that plan to work at a place like Pleasants Power. Collaboration and people skills are necessary for working with the teams of pipefitters that build various components of local manufacturing plants. Having a fear of heights is certainly something that needs to be taken into consideration when making career choices. Information of this kind isn't readily available in the K-12 educational arena, but it is information that our students need to know.
This past semester, Warren High School also bused their entire staff to Kraton to start conversations between teachers and employers. Teacher Tours are not a new idea. It is just difficult to take the time away from teaching and the ever-evolving educational reform efforts to make them happen. While making simple connections is not the ultimate solution to an ever growing problem, we are providing the time to start a conversation. The conversations could potentially be the trusses that support the bridge between the gap.