MEPE conducts teacher training

MEPE conducts teacher training

EASTON — With the growing demands of “Career Connections” at all grade levels, educators can benefit from knowing how their course work meets specific requirements in business and industry.

The Upper Shore Manufacturing and Business Council developed a program called “Manufacturing and Education: Partnership for Excellence” that was held from September to December. Area educators spent time visiting local companies in a unique opportunity for communication between teachers and business executives.

The program’s seven evening seminars and facility tours included teachers/educators from each of the five county Upper Shore public school systems and two representatives from the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce. The the idea was to take educators out of the classroom, across county lines into the real world of local businesses.

“Educators’ jobs prepare students for the future, and if they know what is happening outside of their industry, they can properly prepare students,” said Talbot County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Alan Silverstein. “They can let students know about internship opportunities in these business and encourage their students to look for those internships. Business keeps changing all the time, so every profession changes. How do you adapt — you know what their needs are in the area.”

Business executives shared information like business philosophy, organization, concerns facing their industries, personnel needs and policies through video and presentations by key staff members.

MEPE also gives teachers an chance to interact on-site with business officials where operations particular to social studies, economic and math principles, and communication concepts apply. As a result, teachers have can discuss challenges they face in conveying business information to their students.

At the conclusion of the nine-week program, the educators were expected to display a completed project to demonstrate how concepts learned can be implemented in the classroom.

The Maryland State Department of Education awards three hours of in-service credit to the teachers.

The success of the MEPE program is due to the host companies. Since its inception in 1994, MEPE has received extremely favorable evaluations concerning the program, its intent, and the amount of time and effort each company devotes to their portion of the orientation.

Daryl Silsley, who has taught for 28 years and currently is at North Caroline High School, expressed enthusiasm for the program. A teacher of technology, education, communications, photography and graphic arts, Silsey says he was surprised by the number of employees involved, from such companies as Shore Bankshares and the Whalen company. The variety of jobs represented made him realize anyone who wants a job can find one locally.

Sisley says he has used been able to tie the information about employee skills and what employers are looking for into his curriculum.

“It’s our job to prepare students to be successful in the job market, to be employable, teachable and be lifelong learners,” Silsley said. “All these local companies wanted students who could read, write, communicate effectively, use word processors and spreadsheets, and be punctual.” Sisley noted that the companies were not so much concerned with what students knew on day one. “They all said they would and could teach a motivated person all they need to know,” he said.

The career and technology coordinators of the Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot County school systems and Talbot County Chamber of Commerce offered the MEPE initiative as a joint partnership. In the future, Silverstein said he would like to see more teachers in the program to expand resources all along the state.

“We want the educators to tell other educators, and for more people to participate,” Silverstein said. Educators who knew about the program brought other teachers, he said. “So they kept spreading the word.” Educators need continuing education credits at various times, he pointed out. “This is a great way to do that. So it’s a win-win.”

Educators should also look into the Free Enterprise Workshop in February 2019. Created in 1986 through a partnership between the Chamber and Talbot County Public Schools, the workshop is based on the nationally recognized ACES Program.

The workshop will teach educators about local business operations and the impact of the free enterprise system. Educators also will develop a better understanding of the services local businesses and organizations offer, and how those services affect the community.

Participants will visit eight businesses and organizations from a cross section of disciplines throughout the county. Upon completion of the workshop series, educators will earn three Maryland State Department of Education-approved in-service credits.

They must attend all 10 sessions, complete and present a final project, and fulfill other requirements throughout the program. Educators from all areas and grade levels are participating.

For more information about both programs, contact Silverstein at asilver@talbotchamber.org.

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