Ames EDC

Teaching for the Workforce

Posted on 10/16/2019 at 09:00 AM by Allee Wengert

Preparing the next generation’s workforce takes a village, or in our case, a bustling county in the heart of Iowa.

Employers continue to experience challenges with young hires that specifically include low soft skills. Candidates often have the technical knowledge, but lack real-world experience and understanding of the expectations that come along with a full-time position.

In an effort to support both our employers and students, we introduced the Teaching for the Workforce Academy this past June in partnership with DMACC. Twelve teachers from six districts joined us for four days of professional development as we spoke with a variety of business representatives, toured several organizations, and gained a deeper understanding of what employers are looking for in new hires.

There were keynotes, tours, group activities, panels, and so much more packed into the short week all designed to equip teachers to help prepare students for their unique future, make connections with business partners for work-based learning collaborations, and explore the current state of the workforce.

Teachers had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at operations at Danfoss and Burke and learned about the many different positions available in manufacturing and the impact technology like automation is having in the industry. They participated in lean exercises to help them improve efficiency in their classrooms. We were invited to visit the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching where they were able to discuss bringing technology in the classrooms from games on iPads to virtual reality. Story Construction walked the group through the intricate plans for the new high school in Ames, complete with color-coded sticky notes that left the group excited and thinking about organizing their rooms and schedules.

When reflecting on the course at the end of the week, one teacher commented, “There are so many different career paths other than the 4-year degree plan. Companies strongly desire soft skills and they’re willing to invest in people who design to grow at their company.” Another mentioned appreciation for business advocates and community support she felt throughout the week.

We are excited to continue to nurture relationships between schools and businesses by offering this program again in 2020. Together, we will keep Story County at the forefront of business, technology, education, and maintain our culture of being the best place to live, work, and play!

Categories: Developing Talent

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