BB2C Teacher Perspective: Diane Hicks

Diane Hicks is a teacher at Warren Middle School and this is her second year participating in the professional development offered by BB2C. In her own words....

On July 20-21 a group of 7 local educators including guidance counselors, intervention specialists, and teachers led by Tasha Werry spent two days touring local businesses.  As a member of the group I was impressed by the number of different types of job opportunities we have available on the local level.  

July 20th
The first stop on the tour was Grae-Con.  Although I did not get the opportunity to complete this part of the tour, I later spent time reading the wealth of information on the Grae-Con website.  This business typically does general contracting work within four major categories including industrial, commercial, institutional, and medical construction projects.  I recognized the names of many different places where the company has either constructed or remodeled a building including St. Ambrose Catholic Church, Marietta Memorial Hospital, Marietta College Legacy Library, and the Washington County Jail.  Just looking at this list shows the diverse nature of their construction company.  I was also pleased to discover that the Grae-Con website also includes a section on employment opportunities for their company.

Next we traveled to Kuraray for a tour of the plant that included a wide range of employment opportunities for our future graduates.  Kuraray has many opportunities for people to receive on the job training in different areas of the plant.  We also were able to witness first-hand the tight security that is in place both to get in and out of the plant.  Safety is high on their priority list which made it necessary for our group to watch a safety video prior to entering the main part of the plant, plus wear safety glasses and hard hats while touring the different areas of Kuraray.

Our final stop for the day was the Plumbers and Pipefitters local #168 Training Center.  The center led by training coordinator Jeff Smith provides classroom and on the job training in their apprenticeship program with the goal of certifying Journeymen Plumbers and/or Pipefitters.  Some requirements to enter the program include receiving an established minimum score on an aptitude test (to qualify for an interview), proof of birthdate (must be at least 18), and be a high school graduate or have a GED equivalency to be considered for the training program.  The apprentice term lasts for five years which includes both classroom and on the job training.

July 21st
The first stop on this day of touring was at the Buckeye Hills Regional Council where Bret Allphin was our tour guide.  Buckeye Hills provides services for senior citizens including Passport which provides a cost-effective, in home alternative to nursing home care for Ohio residents age 60 and older.  Services include home makers, home delivered meals, dietician services, counseling, nursing, and many other additional services for seniors.  This provides many employment opportunities for our area.  Buckeye Hills also provides mapping and data collection services to help local officials, educational organizations, businesses, and private citizens to locate and analyze information available through public funded sources.  
Our second stop was at Huntington Bank where Barb Close provided us with future trends in the banking industry.  She was able to provide us with the types of educational avenues our students should pursue if they are interested in employment in this fast changing career field.  It seems that tellers are becoming a thing of the past while technology is on the rise.  Yes, in the future you will be able to even open accounts from your local ATM.
We ended our day with a tour of MicroMachine Works which is located approximately three miles from my home in Barlow.  Linn Yost and Dan Anstatt showed us various computerized machines that use wood, plastic, and metal to create custom products for businesses and individuals coast to coast.  Their work is held in such high esteem for the quality of the products they manufacture that they do no marketing (you won’t find a website for them); their quality products speak for themselves.
A common theme restated over and over during the two day tour was the importance of employees being responsible and having good work ethics.  As educators we could relate to the employers on these two important areas.  I can’t stress enough that if you’re working with students on career goals for the future, you must participate in the teacher tours program.  I have so much information to share with my Principles of Marketing/Strategic Entrepreneurship classes this school year.  I can’t wait until next year to see where Tasha leads us with the next round of teacher tours.