The concept of teacher tours has been around for quite a while. In fact, I remember touring Haessly Hardwoods somewhere around 2002 or 2003 when I was a teacher at Marietta Middle School. This year's version of Teacher Tours included a small group of teachers from around the county visiting several businesses over a two-day period, while earning necessary graduate credit.
We started day one learning about Grae-Con through the vast amount of information available on their website. Everything from the history of Grae-Con's ownership all the way to the quality that they require from their sub-contractors was available for us to read and learn. Jeff Smith, the Training Coordinator from the Plumbers and Pipefitters local #168, was our tour guide for the day, and he coordinated our tours with Grae-Con, Kuraray, and the apprenticeship training center. Teachers learned how Grae-Con designed and is building a project at Kuraray, and that they rely heavily on skilled workers from the Plumbers and Pipefitters and other local trade unions to bring their projects to fruition.
Stop #1 was Buckeye Hills Regional Council, where Bret Allphin explained the impact of their organization on the surrounding eight counties. Buckeye Hills directly supports the projects that area townships and small cities would not otherwise have the capacity to pursue. Bret then had the task of convincing the teachers that a governmental position like his was a great job to have.
Stop #2 was Huntington Bank with Barb Close. She explained the changing nature of the banking industry, and gave some advice about the type of education students should pursue to be employed in the banking industry in the future. Being a teller may not be on the list of options.
Stop #3 was to MicroMachine Works, Inc. just outside of Barlow. Linn Yost and Dan Anstatt showed us various machines they use to create custom metal products, as well as wood and plastic carvings, for other companies around the nation....yes, the nation. Yet, they don't have a website. We were quite surprised by the amount of work that they complete despite the fact that they don't market themselves...at all.
All in all, it was an amazing couple of days. The most significant things we learned: 1) these employment opportunities exist for our students right here in the Mid-Ohio Valley; 2) what soft skills these employers expect from their employees; and 3) the paths that students need to follow in order to obtain these types of jobs. Next week's blog will feature a teacher's perspective....in her own words. Thanks to the businesses that allowed us to intrude on their day, and to the people that took the time to help coordinate the tours.