Professional Development Day: Technical Teacher Visits to Area Employers

Posted on Categories Business, Community, Workforce Engagement, Occupational Advisory Board, Professional Development

At a Glance

York County School of Technology dedicated an Act 80 professional development day for technical instructors to visit York County area employers.

Overview

To encourage instructors to build new relationships with local employers, administrators authorized an Act 80 professional development day for technical instructors in September, 2014. On this day, 37 technical instructors representing 25 different CIP codes visited 110 local employers.

The objectives for the day were:

  1. Develop new partnerships with area employers to recruit new OAC members.
  2. Compare and analyze key technical skills that employers need from future employees with what is being delivered in the respective career and technical education program. 
  3. Explore and foster partnerships for Cooperative Education placement opportunities.
  4. Identify the number of potential jobs available that York County School of Technology graduates could apply for and be successful in acquiring.   

Origin / Implementation

Approximately one month before the scheduled visit day, instructors were provided with a planning sheet. They were responsible for contacting area employers and setting up a minimum of four visits. Instructors submitted a proposed schedule and list of employers to administrators for approval.

Instructors were encouraged to view this as an opportunity to establish relationships with new employers and to strengthen bonds with employers who currently support the CTC through internships, co-ops, or OAC membership. They had flexibility in scheduling their visits. For example, instructors from the health professions teamed up to visit employers as a group. The autobody instructor made arrangements with a local supplier to ride along with their sales representative for the day and visit many different shops.

Following the visits, instructors were expected to complete a summary report for each employer. Information gathered included:

  1. Name of employer visited
  2. Co-op opportunities at this employer
  3. What would a graduate from your program need to know to be hired by this company? (Diploma, Certifications, Degrees, etc.)
  4. What did you observe and learn today?   (ex: “I toured the warehouse, talked to warehouse foreman Jim Smith – expects new hires to understand OSHA regs and stock rotation.  Forklift cert a plus”)
  5. Alumni Job Prospects?   Job Titles?  Wage & Benefits?
  6. What did you learn and/or how did your visit to this employer benefit your program?
  7. How does your present curriculum delivery align with the jobs available at this company?

Results / Impact

Instructors were able to visit and make connections with new employers that they may not have previously known. Employers were all invited to attend October OAC meetings. On average, each program was able to recruit at least one new OAC member that attended the Fall OAC meeting and each program was able to setup at least one partnership for a Cooperative Education placement.

Feedback from instructors, collected on a follow up survey, was very positive:

“I can’t express how rewarding this day was. I see this as a great public relations move on the part of the school with the community. I was also surprised at how uplifting it was for the staff to get out and see what employers had to offer and to see how successful our alumni are. They employers were just as happy to see us and were more than willing to give us their time.”

“I think that it was not only a good way for us to get to know the employers in our area that will be hiring our

students but it also gave them a chance to see and talk to us. We visited and talked to some of our former

students who now own their own thriving businesses, they all give credit to our school for getting them started on the right track.”

“The workforce development insight allows me a better understanding of the employers needs in relationship to the curriculum I teach and how I can modify it to better meet their needs.”


Administrators plan to continue with this activity in future years. One goal for next year is to encourage more employers to visit the school to see equipment and student skills firsthand.  York Tech also plans to host a York County Employer Technical Program Morning Open House to foster these new employment partnerships.

Contact

York County School of Technology
Dr. David Thomas, Director
Scott Rogers, Assistant Director
Email: srogers@ytech.edu