Three ways educators can stay up-to-date with industry

Historically, the educational system has worked to prepare its students for life after whatever level they may be completing. Educators are trained by other educators who were trained by yet other educators on what the professional world needs from the graduates.

But industry is moving at a faster pacethan ever. The educational sector has realized it needs to be on the cutting edge of what industry needs from its students.

Enter internships, ICE programs and job shadows. For more than twenty years, programs like these have allowed for students to connect with employers outside of the education world and they continue to be successful! Internships, job shadows and other opportunities are what we callexperiential learning opportunities. But theyre no longer being reserved exclusively for the student.

Today, educators are hearing more and more thattheyneed to get out of the classroom, too! They should be connecting with employers and learning what is happening within the industries around them and what skills are needed for the new hires. They want to understand the new ways technology is being used in the specific sectors, the new languages, and the new methods for production that are being developed on a daily basis.

As a response, the Graduate Retention Program provides several programming opportunities that connect industries to educators. Each has its own mission and value, separate from the others. And each requires its own set of partners.

Industry to Educator Externship Series

I2E is a series of day-long externships for high school educators in partnership with theNortheast Indiana Defense Industry Association. For a period of eight hours, a group of education professionals are taken out of the classroom and placed within an industry workspace to experience the day-to-day routine of assorted professionals in different fields. I2Es include tours, presentations, networking opportunities and job shadow experience that allows for an educator to grasp the talent/skill needs of the new workforce.

Northeast Indiana Speakers Bureau

The Speakers Bureau is an expanding program that connects area workplace professionals with education professionals of all levels for guest speaker opportunities. Workplace Pros can register with Graduate Retention, stating their preferred subject area and regular availability. From there, educators connect with the industry professionals to schedule an in-class presentation on the subject matter that has been determined. Often the subject matter will center around the presenters job, skills needed, benefits and how they have progressed in their career.

Educator Consortiums

Educator consortiums take place on a monthly basis during the school year (September to May). These are a recurring opportunity for educators to leave the classroom at noon and meet in a small to medium sized group setting for lunch, networking with the hosting sites management, presentations and tours of regional businesses.

Educator consortiums are shortened versions of I2Es, providing a greater opportunity for a teacher to attend. At the end of the presentation, a hosting employer provides a takeaway for each educator. This could be as simple as a math problem or as complex as a regular occurring workplace scenario, either way, the takeaway becomes something that the educator can use in their classroom on a day-to-day basis. Consortiums for this school year are filling up fast; connect with GRP soon for more information!

As time passes and technology continues to grow and increase the speed in which jobs change, we will see more and more education professionals wanting and needing to connect with workplace professionals to learn and understand the skills needed to be successful. The Graduate Retention Program is working hard to stay at the forefront of opportunities for connection, but we need more employers to help.

Anyone interested in becoming a part of the Speakers Bureau or for hosting an Educator Consortium should contact Audrea Castaneda, GRP Education Liaison,

By Justin Clupper, Graduate Retention Program Manager

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