Teachers selected for summer externship program

Eight Jackson County teachers will spend a week this summer learning more about local manufacturing, distribution and agricultural businesses to help better prepare their students to land jobs in those fields.

By participating in the Educator to Industry Externship, teachers will gain knowledge straight from employers to provide their students with a clearer understanding of career pathways and the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum in today’s job market.

This is the second year for the externship program.

Seymour High School teacher Bob Sexton, who is in charge of the school’s Project Lead the Way engineering program, said he is excited for the learning opportunity, which he will use to start a new course this fall called Owl Manufacturing.

“It will be a student-ran manufacturing company within SHS,” he said. “We want to examine the ‘soft skills’ industries want and need plus the career pathways students need to follow to gain careers within manufacturing.”

The externship program will be from June 20 to 24, and teachers will spend time at different sites each day depending on their areas of expertise and focus.

Participating companies are Cummins Inc., Aisin USA Mfg. Inc., Aisin Chemical Indiana LLC, Aisin Drivetrain Inc., Wal-mart Distribution Center, Rose Acre Farms, Excel Manufacturing, Valeo, Pet Supplies Plus and Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals.

The opportunity is being made possible through a collaboration between the Economic Opportunities Regional Advanced Manufacturing Network and Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. Funding is through an Indiana Department of Workforce Development Skill UP grant.

Teachers selected for the program are Sexton, Celeste Bowman and Jeanna Eppley from Seymour High School; Curt Schleibaum from Seymour Middle School; Justin Vorthmann and Bryan Schroer from Trinity Lutheran High School; Blake Hackman from Brownstown Central High School; and Linda Begley from Crothersville Junior-Senior High School.

Along with the valuable knowledge they gain from the experience, educators also will earn a stipend and professional development points for continued education and re-certification.

Each teacher will be required to write a lesson plan demonstrating what they have learned for each company they visit.

Bowman, who teaches Seymour High School’s Jobs for America’s Graduates program, said the externship will allow her to better serve her students.

“I am hoping to learn more about the entry-level positions that are available with the various companies and the skills they need my students to possess,” she said. “I am also hoping to learn about the opportunities for advancement in each company and about their HR policies so I can share them with my students and make correlations between the various school policies.”

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.