Beth Pupke is the Workforce Development Coordinator at JAXUSA, a division of JAX Chamber. JAXUSA partners with JAX Chamber every year for the JAX Chamber Teacher Fellowship Program, which allows teachers to visit companies around town and see how their subject area is being applied in the workforce. This gives teachers a chance to develop lesson plans around skills that can really be applied once students graduate and join the workforce. Beth gives us some insights into what teachers learned during this year’s Teacher Fellowship Program!
JAX Chamber Teacher Fellowship Program connects teachers, students to workplace skills
The JAX Chamber Teacher Fellowship Program is an annual summer externship program designed to connect students – by way of teachers – to current workplace skills. In doing this, the program provides a learning experience which enables educators to more effectively prepare their students for their careers of choice. This year, the program took place from June 21 to June 24. Five teachers from Duval County Public Schools were selected to participate in the four day program, each from IT or IT-related academies within their respective schools.
Brandy Lutz, a participating teacher, said she felt this year’s program was especially informative and rewarding because the teachers were able to visit multiple companies and compare the functions of IT at each.
Over the course of the four days, the teacher externs visited six companies around Jacksonville. During each company visit, the teachers met with industry experts from the companies’ IT divisions and took tours of the companies’ IT departments and data centers.
On Tuesday, June 21, the teachers toured the Citizens Property Insurance office in downtown Jacksonville, as well as the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, where they were able to see firsthand how IT plays a role in the jail’s inmate intake process. On Wednesday, the teachers met at the regional headquarters of Regency Centers and then visited and toured the Deutsche Bank Cyber Intelligence and Response Center. On Thursday, the teachers toured the CSX headquarters and the expansive CSX data center. They completed the week of tours at the regional office of Availity, a healthcare company headquartered in Jacksonville.
Finally, the program culminated on Friday, when the teachers met at the JAX Chamber building. They spent the morning pulling together what they had learned during the week about the IT industry and the demands of the IT workforce. They used the information gained from their tours to develop Thematic Learning Activities (Lesson Plans), which they will be using to instruct their students in the upcoming school year.
John Evans, a participating teacher, said the teachers were not only able to learn more about the current IT workforce, but they were also able to make meaningful connections with many of the host companies.
We received much positive feedback about the program from both the teacher participants as well as the representatives from the host companies. Many of the companies themselves communicated that they would be open to working with the teachers further, including setting up speaker visits in the classroom or coordinating student internship opportunities.