Another Sterling example of education-workforce collaboration

Posted on July 24, 2018

Editor’s note: Gail Wright, College and Career Readiness Coordinator at the Regional Office of Education #47, which serves Lee, Ogle and Whiteside Counties, wrote to provide us an update on Workplace Wednesdays. The initiative is another in the burgeoning MORE (Making Opportunities Real for Everyone in the Rock and Mississippi River Valleys) regional effort to ensure that students are ready for life after high school (we wrote about a another nearby effort in our postcard from Sterling two weeks ago about our 10th anniversary Listening Tour). Workplace Wednesdays bring teachers into postsecondary institutions and area workplaces to consider real-world application of their teaching.

Teachers tour industrial equipment manufacturer Astec Mobile Screens as part of Workplace Wednesdays.

“Educators visited two to four businesses each Wednesday over a seven-week period this summer.  The visits focused on Agricultural, Manufacturing, Health and Human Services career pathways, a bank and the Whiteside Area Vocational Center and area post secondary institutions (Sauk Valley Community College and Morrison Tech) available to our students making that Pre-K through 20 linkage. Our teachers learned about the programs and certificates their students could earn in the career pathways to prepare students for jobs in the businesses visited.

“It has been a real success based on the feedback from the teachers participating and businesses, who indicated they would like to participate in Workplace Wednesdays next summer. Our teachers participating have come up with a list of places they would like to visit next year and bring some friends from their schools. This will help to provide more change in those schools, having more teachers see the need for integrating real-world workplace skills and content (math and English, speaking and listening) and using Career Cruising and Inspire [software that connects kids to workplaces]. They have made contacts with businesses to take their students on field trips to see the practical application of what they are learning as well as the classroom activities and problems. The visits have helped us increase the numbers of businesses in Inspire as well as awareness of the need for collaboration between classroom teachers and businesses.”