On-site visits are educational for teachers

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published September 19, 2023


MACOMB COUNTY — Since opening up the Center Line High School Academies in 2016, school officials have partnered with several local businesses to better prepare students for the workforce.

These relationships provide more resources, give educators the chance to bring in professionals to meet with students about employment options, and allow for job shadowing opportunities and other projects.

On Aug. 29, the educators took it one step further when they conducted on-site visits with three local entities: Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Invio Automation in New Baltimore, and the Macomb County Administration Building in Mount Clemens.

The goal was to give staff members a more in-depth look at the qualifications and certifications employers are looking for, learn new terminology and make new connections with professionals. Through their lesson planning, the teachers will bring what they learned back into the classroom during the school year. Teachers will be able to reference specific careers, technology and skills. Center Line Public Schools Superintendent Joseph Haynes said the hope is to have the students take field trips to the three places of business as well.

Center Line High School offers two different academies: Industry, Technology and Innovation; and Health and Human Services. There is also a Freshman Academy designed to provide a transitional environment from middle school to high school.

The four ITI pathways are engineering technology; innovative art and design; business, commerce and entrepreneurship; and digital design and communication. The four HHS pathways are health and wellness; first responders; law and justice; and public service. The district also established a graduate profile linking collaboration, communication, critical thinking and leadership to prepare students for college, trade school and the workforce.

“The market is so demanding now, and this will help our kids,” Haynes said.

As per their visits, according to staff members, a willingness to learn, good communication skills and resilience are among the many qualifications businesses look for when hiring employees.

Health and Human Services Academy instructor Laura Phy-Daly was among the teachers who went to Ascension. During the visit, hospital staff talked about the careers available to students who are part of the Center Line High School academy model. The staff covered nursing, nutrition and food services, housekeeping, information technology, security, mental health services and other options that students can pursue.

Center Line High School Assistant Principal John Grob visited the Macomb County Administration Building with the school’s Freshman Academy teachers. In ninth grade, students pick their academy for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.

“In summary, our discussion revolved around the importance of bridging the gap between educational outcomes, as defined by our Academies and Graduate Profile, while incorporating the evolving needs of employers,” Grob said via email. “This marked the initial step of a broader initiative aimed at linking our educators with industry partners. Our Freshman Academy teachers will take this knowledge back to their classrooms, enhancing the relevance of their curriculum.”

During the visit, the freshmen group engaged in discussions that covered a wide range of topics linked to various facets of employability.

“One of the primary focal points of our conversation was establishing a strong connection between the skills outlined in the Center Line Public Schools Graduate Profile and their practical application in diverse work environments,” Grob said. “We delved into the core competencies and attributes highlighted in our Graduate Profile, aligning them with the demands and expectations of future employers. The county’s HR specialists did a wonderful job connecting jobs to our academy pathways.”

Megan Patra, of the ITI Academy, got a chance to see Invio Automation with Haynes, teachers and several support staff members. The visit was split into two sessions.

One session focused on the organization and communication involved in the projects. The teachers learned about the different types of technology Invio uses, the way their teams are set up, and career opportunities within the company. During the other session, teachers toured the facility and spoke with employees. Many Invio employees have worked there for a long time in several different positions.