Teachers in Industry Helps Educators Connect Students with Careers

Will I ever use this information? The all-too familiar question asked by many students taking technical courses can stump some instructors, many of whom came straight to the head of the classroom after finishing college.

Programs such as Kent ISD’s Teachers in Industry attempt to eliminate the disconnect some educators have with the endless potential careers available to their students.

Upcoming Teachers in Industry Dates:

  • December 15, 2015
  • March 25, 2016
  • May 18, 2016

GRPS' Beckwith Adult Ed. instructors Jeffery Czyzyk, left, and Otto Brannum

Through visiting area businesses during this for-teachers field trip, educators got to interact with professionals in a variety of fields to learn the paths they took to get into their career.

“It’s like a door that needs to be opened,” said attendee Otto Brannum, a Grand Rapids Public Schools adult education instructor. “Kids walk past the door, we can tell them to open that door.”

Kent ISD Career Readiness consultant Eric Kelliher, organizer of this year’s Teachers in Industry events, said it’s important to help schools make connections between subjects and careers for students.

“It boils down to critical thinking and confidence,” Kelliher said, explaining that it’s one thing for students to be able to do a complex math problem and another for them to say why knowing how to do the math can be critical in certain careers.

During the Oct. 23 trip, instructors visited the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Blue 35, where they met with filmmakers participating in the Mosaic Film Experience.

Simone Heidrich, from Caledonia Community Schools, said the program was eye-opening. “There are more opportunities for students than we could ever imagine.”

♥The destinations for the Dec. 15 session include:

  • Custom Profile – an advanced manufacturing company specializing in designing and tooling extruded plastic products for the Appliance, Furniture, Office and Marine industries
  • Soletics – with an idea originally created for a GVSU class project, this healthcare tech start-up evolved to design and develop lightweight, washable, heated gloves for those suffering from Raynaud’s Disease
  • Grand Rapids Community Foundation – a locally focused philanthropic organization that works with donors to design gift plans and ensure philanthropists contributions are put to use for the good of the community
  • Start Garden – a fund, a place and an event all wrapped into one. Start Garden funds local start-ups interested in taking the next step, provides the physical space for that to happen, and offers events to showcase these businesses to the community

More information               Registration

Teachers in Industry educators and presenters

Adrian Hirsch has been with SNN since its launch, starting as an intern from Grand Valley State University where he received a degree in broadcasting and business. After the internship, Adrian was brought on as staff to continue reporting, editing and publishing stories for SNN and Kent ISD. Adrian has been active with community radio station WYCE for years, served as Non-Profit Coordinator for GRTV, and currently works as the Web Producer for SNN.


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