EDUCATOR BOOTCAMP … An avalanche of information was poured into the minds of the local educators who took the opportunity to participate in this three-hour college credit course. Visiting a large number of manufacturing businesses in the area, hearing many presentations and having an assignment to do their own lesson plan, all took place in a period of two weeks in June 2022. Here the Williams County group is seen as they finished lunch at the Holiday City Village Hall, listening to an inspiring presentation given by Pioneer Industrial Systems President, Todd Hendricks, Jr. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
Educator Bootcamp! What a great name for an amazing experience given to educators from Williams, Henry and Fulton Counties. It was spread out over a two-week period with the attendees getting to visit many local manufacturing businesses and wrapping it up with their own presentations.
They earned 3 hours of credit toward their continuing education, which was generously paid for by Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted’s office.
According to organizer, Megan Hausch of WEDCO, “The goal of this Educator Bootcamp was to give the area educators a hands-on experience to learn what is available for students interested in career knowledge.” It is focused on Career Paths and Skills.
Hausch explained in an interview that in 2019, along with WOESC, they met with Sandusky and Ottawa counties to learn about this program and how to get it started in this area. So for the past two years they have been planning and working hard to pull this off.
There was a minimal cost involved for the educators, with them only needing to pay $100 which is reimbursed through their school districts.
Normally a three-hour course through Ashland University, who wrote the basic syllabus, costs $600 for the school or the teacher, but “because of Lu Cooke who is the area representative for the Lt. Governor’s office, the cost was covered.
So each participant got three college credit hours, a syllabus, incredible amounts of local information and an opportunity to put it into words in the form of a lesson plan.
The event was open to Fulton, Henry and Williams County participants. In Williams County, ten educators participated, soaking up tons of information from Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers (CHWC in Bryan), Bard Manufacturing, Sauder Manufacturing, Spangler Candy Company, Menards Distribution Center, Pioneer Industrial Systems, Huntington Bank, and 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics.
Needless to say, it was a healthy week with lots of walking! One teacher mentioned in her presentation at the end of the second week, that they walked 2 ½ miles just in the hospital, with many more in Menards, Bards and the other businesses.
Lunches on Bootcamp days, June 7 – 9, were sponsored by CHWC, Sauder Manufacturing and Huntington Bank.
These adult students showed up promptly at 8 a.m. at the first business of the day, took lots of notes and asked plenty of questions.
Each of the companies they visited, took them on tours and explained their culture and philosophy as well as showing them what employees do.
On Wednesday morning, June 8th, Sauder Manufacturing welcomed the group into a conference room for a presentation of the company. One group then saw the sewing that is done, another the putting together of a unit, and then they switched places, all the while hearing a stream of information from their tour guides.
Around noon the whole group headed to the Visitors Center/Village Hall in Holiday City where they ate lunch and listened to two presentations from Pioneer Industrial Systems and Huntington Bank.
Pioneer Industrial Systems was quite a surprise to most of them, with some saying that they had no idea that right here in Alvordton, Ohio there is a company that designs and builds manufacturing robots.
President of the company, Todd Hendricks, Jr. shared a power point and even brought along a robot for the participants to “play with.”
Any readers who are just as surprised to discover this well-kept secret are invited to an Open House at their facility in Alvordton (16442 US 20) on Friday, July 22 from Noon to 7 p.m.
This is a Family Friendly event showcasing the company with shop tours, robot demos, food trucks, activities and more.
Michael Alfarah from Huntington Bank told the educators that one of the biggest demands in the workforce today is for workers with Communication Degrees, not finance degrees.
Being good with numbers definitely helps, as all the manufacturers stressed, but he pointed out that if kids can be good communicators with adults, they will go far.
Both Hendricks and Alfarah gave the advice for high school students to “Be Patient!” “Don’t feel like you can go straight from HS to CEO, as the steps it takes you to get there are what make the job worth it when you get it,” Hendricks shared.
Alfarah added, “Focus on bringing value before expecting anything from anyone. Make it about others!”
Problem solving, critical thinking and being able to look someone right in the eyes were all things mentioned all during the week, everywhere they went, along with, “Please make sure they know how to read a tape measure!”
On Wednesday and Thursday of Week 2, each of the participants had to present a lesson plan for the others. They met from 8:30 a.m. till finished with presentations in the early afternoon at Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center (NWOESC) in Archbold.
Presentations of their lesson plans were supposed to be 20-25 minutes long and they split into two rooms, with Hausch with one group and her Economic Development Assistant, Keira Grandey Christman, with the other.
Following the presentations, the groups took some time to share their thoughts and evaluations on the two-week event, saying that it was incredible and suggesting ways that it can be even better in the future.
They all said that they will be “Highly recommending” that other educators attend this as it was extremely beneficial and they can’t wait to share about it with their co-workers and students.
It looks like these companies can pretty well get ready for quite a few school field trips in the future to show the area high school seniors what is available in the workforce for them.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com