Before the 2018-19 school year began, more than 20 Indiana teachers and school counselors wrapped up the fourth year of a unique summer internship program to better connect industry to education.
That included Robin Perry of Brownstown Central High School.
Through the Indiana Department of Education’s Teachers/Counselors in Industry program, she completed an internship at Aisin USA Mfg. Inc. and Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.
“This program was one of the highlights of my summer,” Perry said. “I particularly enjoyed working at Aisin USA, learning about Japanese-style manufacturing, the human resources process and how data drives decisions in industry.”
Perry said she will take the lessons learned at this summer’s internship to revise what she teaches this school year in her classroom.
“I teach a class called preparing for college and careers,” she said. “There are typically several students in each class that are interested in the health care industry, and that is not my area of expertise. Learning about the different types of careers in the medical industry allows me to help students find their pathway to their career.”
The Teachers/Counselors in Industry program funds up to 100 hours of no-cost internships to teachers and counselors from around Indiana who wish to learn more about local businesses and industries.
In turn, the teachers and counselors bring that knowledge back to the classroom so more students are prepared for the world of work.
This year, 39 Indiana employers provided short-term internships for teachers and counselors in fields ranging from marketing to logistics and a Reggio-inspired early childhood center to an aquaponics farm.
Interns worked at several high-profile locations, such as Fiat Chrysler in Tipton and Parkview Health in Fort Wayne.
Stefany Deckard, state director of career and technical education with the Indiana Department of Education, said the program is vital to ensuring that Indiana’s teachers and school counselors are preparing students for what Hoosier employers truly want and need.
“One of the best ways to match what we’re teaching in our high schools with the needs of Indiana’s employers is to actually talk with local employers and go to their places of business to experience what it’s like to be an employee for a week or two,” she said.
Teachers/Counselors in Industry participants are required to create a presentation of their experience to present to local school staff and other teachers and counselors this school year.
More than 90 educators have participated so far in the program, and plans call for recruiting additional high school and middle school counselors to participate in the program next summer.