Washington teachers gain industry knowledge

Published 7:15 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

GREENVILLE — Two Beaufort County teachers went back to work this summer — but not where one might assume.

Shelley West and Anna Densmore, both of Washington High School, spent the week of Aug. 1-5 at Greenville-based Hyster-Yale Group, a forklift manufacturing company, as part of the Teachers@Work program.

Teachers@Work is sponsored by the North Carolina Business Committee for Education, and pairs teachers with businesses for a week to foster a connection between the educators of future employees and their potential employers.

As part of the program, the teachers must also create a lesson plan that incorporates what they have learned during that week.

The statewide program has recently expanded to 11 counties in eastern North Carolina, and a total of 50 teachers are participating this summer, according to a press release.

At Hyster-Yale, the Washington High teachers have explored product assembly, engineering and design practices, economic factors and environmental impact, according to West.

“I didn’t know all these jobs existed,” Densmore said. “There’s a lot of opportunity here for our students.”

Densmore said she plans to take her experiences of critical thinking, problem solving and data analysis back to her science classroom.

She intends to create a lesson plan incorporating a semester-long project, which will give students the background of a company similar to Hyster-Yale and then ask the students to come up with ways to reduce human impact on the environment.

“It’s going to incorporate all those things that you guys (from Hyster-Yale) are going to be looking for,” she said.

West said she is still looking at lesson plan options that incorporate line balancing or demand flow.

Wayne Washington, human resources manager at Hyster-Yale, said the main reason the company agreed to participate in Teachers@Work is to help prepare the next workforce generation.

He said the company has discussed hosting virtual classes with high schools, as well.

Training coordinator Mary Paramore said it’s also important for students to know that workforce preparation, such as Career Readiness Certificates, should be taken seriously.

Paramore said some high school students do not understand the value of such certification, but it is a factor that employers notice.

“We really do use that here,” she said. “Hopefully, that’s something, you can take that back.”

West and Densmore both said they are glad to have participated in Teachers@Work and feel it will be beneficial to them in the classroom.

“It’s the real world experience,” Densmore said. “I think (the students) are definitely going to be able to buy into it.”