November 15, 2019--"It is amazing to see the diversity of jobs available and the benefits these companies offer their employees."
That quote sums up the purpose and the success of Jonesboro Unlimited's latest Industry Educators Externship. The drive behind the three-day program is to take Jonesboro-area educators and give them an authentic, inside look at the world of manufacturing. By taking part in the program, those teachers become equipped with crucial, hands-on knowledge of the kind of job opportunities their future graduates can seek out and encourage them to do so.
"We have so much information to take back to our students. Getting to view everything firsthand is very impactful," said one of the teachers.
During their tour, 37 teachers and guidance counselors entered the world of modern manufacturing at Hytrol, Nestle, Nice-Pak, and Frito-Lay. Each participant spent a day-and-a-half at one of the four selected sites, a half-day touring the other three sites and a third day which served as a debrief and discussion day where all 37 teachers came together to compare notes.
One of the most common themes of discussion was the teachers' new-found understanding that the manufacturing world offers excellent careers across the spectrum. When questioned about what they saw as the most valuable part of their experience, one teacher said, "learning all of the various opportunities available to students who do and who do not want to further their education after high school."
It was information the teachers are eager to share when they get back to their classrooms.
"It was a positive, eye-opening experience. I am anxious to get back to my classroom to share with my students about opportunities," said one teacher.
"I learned so much incredibly valuable information to take back to my students. This was a fantastic experience," said another.
That's what Shelle Randall, Jonesboro Unlimited's Director of Workforce Development and Existing Industries, likes to hear. "Being able to reach out and engage these educators and immerse them in the world of manufacturing is an important step in developing our workforce," Randall said, "these teachers know the interests that light up their students' eyes. With the knowledge they are gaining this week, they can help guide those students and align their interests with a better understanding of the wide range of careers in manufacturing available in Jonesboro."
The program couldn't happen without the support of the four companies taking part. Randall says this can be called contributing to the community as much as workforce development.
"Hytrol, Nice-Pak, Frito-Lay, and Nestle have a great understanding of how important this program is. By opening their doors to these dedicated teachers, they are showing their commitment to developing our future workforce and investing in Jonesboro."
Several suggestions came out of the time the teachers spent together comparing their experiences. Many of those ideas will be implemented for next year's event.
If you would like more information about the program you can contact Shelle Randall at Jonesboro Unlimited.
Jonesboro Teachers Get A Factory Field Trip