A group of Wayne County Public Schools educators spent a day last week exploring industrial education in Wayne Community College.
This is the second year that the Industry Ignites Instruction (I3) project has given public school educators hands-on experiences. Next week it will take them into local industries that employ workers who have the skills the college teaches.
The intent of I3 is to improve awareness and understanding which will lead to an increase in enrollment in technical programs and provide more home-grown talent for local industry.
The mix of 18 Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers, career development coordinators, and administrators spent Thursday, April 13 at WCC, learning about Applied Technologies programs, CTE pathways, transferability to four-year universities, and the employment outlook for the programs. They not only toured the college’s facilities, but experienced the curriculum of each of five programs.
Participants said that they gained a lot of insight into the college’s programs.
“It was a fantastic learning experience, said Lillian Mills, a counselor at Goldsboro High School. “There are so many things to share with the students and faculty back at our schools. I truly plan on bringing a group of students back to visit in the fall. It is amazing what WCC has to offer.”
“I will be sharing with my students the many exciting educational, skills, and trade opportunities Wayne Community College has to offer. As a Career and Technical Teacher, I was thrilled to see the variety of interactive classes my students would absolutely love,” said Goldsboro High School’s Joy Yelverton.
“I was highly impressed with the top-of-the-line equipment such as the 3D printers, robotics lab, the machinery lab, and the welding simulator,” Yelvertson said. “The instructors were so well informed and knowledgeable about their courses.”
“The experience was an eye opener for me.,’ said Tasha Sneed. “I am a Family and Consumer Science Teacher/Career Development Coordinator at Spring Creek High School and in the past I have taken students to NC State as well as NC A&T to view their various departments. Now I am delighted to know we have something very similar right here in Wayne County.”
“I can visualize all the possibilities for our students who in the past have looked over the community college,” Sneed said. “As a teacher and coordinator, I feel like it’s my job to give students tools and information needed to help them further their education. Often times we look over what’s right under our noses and I want to make them aware of all the things WCC has to offer,” Sneed said.
The pathways on which the day focused, their corresponding WCC program, and the activity the educators engaged in were:
Engineering and Design Pathway: Mechanical Engineering Technology Program, solid modeling and 3D printing;
Machining Pathway: Computer Integrated Machining Program, machining a part;
Maintenance Systems Pathway, Industrial Systems Technology Program, a pneumatics trainer lesson;
Welding Pathway, Welding Technology Program, a welding activity using a simulator, and
Robotic Programming Pathway, Mechatronics Program, a robotic arm activity.
The second component of the I3 initiative is to take educators to see the same processes and machinery they experienced at WCC at work in manufacturing settings.
“This initiative is to make educators aware of the different technical programs offered at the college and also to show these educators where their students can work who go through these pathways,” said Wayne County Development Alliance Existing Industry Manager Tiffany Creech.
On Thursday, April 27, they will meet with industry leaders and tour facilities at SPX Transformer Solutions, Uchiyama Manufacturing America, North Carolina Manufacturing, and Cooper Standard Automotive.
These particular industries were chosen to highlight the connection between training and employment and to give many participants their first ever glimpse inside such facilities. The employers will discuss the skills and competencies needed for their workforce and answer questions from participating educators.
“We have asked these plant managers to emphasize what they are looking for in an employee, what the employee can earn at their plants, what technical training these positions require,” explained Creech.