Last week, WCPS educators took part in educator externships at local companies including the Henkel Corporation, Holiday Inn University Plaza, MedCenter Health, and US Bank.
Educator Externships, the first tactic in the recently released SCK LAUNCH Community Plan, are work-based learning and professional development opportunities that provide teachers with exposure to local business environments and the types of careers students may pursue upon graduation.
The Externship program allows teachers to experience a workplace environment that provides the opportunity to observe real world connections to academic and employability skills. In doing so, teachers gain a contemporary perspective of the talent pipeline and the skills needed to be successful. Teachers can then link those skills into classroom lessons and when mentoring students.
While externships help expand educators’ knowledge of rapidly changing industry needs so they can better prepare students, they also provide a valuable experience for businesses by allowing them to be a part of “growing their own” workforce and to collaborate with educators by providing content connections to their specific industries.
“Warren County Public Schools values continuous learning opportunities for our students as well as rich professional growth opportunities for our employees,” stated Superintendent rob Clayton. Our partnership with the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and several business leaders within our community allows us to provide both through the SCKLAUNCH Initiative. It is exciting to see our hard work come to fruition as many of our teachers and school leaders embark upon their first Externship experiences. The knowledge attained will allow them to reach students in unique ways by exploring the vast opportunities that await when education and industry experiences are combined.”
In addition to the excitement among the education community, the business community has reacted with equal excitement. Since May 10, ten companies have volunteered to serve as an externship location.
According to Lynn Williams, Vice President of Human Resources at MedCenter Health, “The Educator Externship program is a great opportunity to showcase career opportunities, demonstrate our commitment to our communities and to work directly with Educators in developing the skills, characteristics and traits needed in Med Center Health employees and for South Central Kentucky. We established contacts and opened doors for more meaningful discussion that will link us closer together. Certainly a win-win!”
SCK LAUNCH is a collective effort of the community intended to inspire the powerful education and business partnerships necessary to create the talent pipeline for high-demand sectors to grow the South Central Kentucky economy. The initiative builds on and enhances work already in progress in Bowling Green and Warren County high schools to offer career shadowing, educator externships, career academies, and employability skills training as a way to inspire students and provide valuable learning opportunities that engage their personal interest and career aspirations.