Teachers in Industry Helps Educators Connect Students with Careers

Kent ISD's Eric Kelliher chats with presenter Chelsea Bastien on the roof of Blue35, downtown GR

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.

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.”

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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