Teachers, industrialists collaborate at MC2 Academy

Contractor Building Systems employees explained assembly procedures to teachers in the MC2 Academy. (CONTRIBUTED/ERIC HARRIS)
Contractor Building Systems employees explained assembly procedures to teachers in the MC2 Academy. (CONTRIBUTED/ERIC HARRIS)

MADISON – Madison teachers got in touch with the ‘real’ world during the Core and Career Academy for Educators (MC2) on June 20-21.

Madison City Schools sponsored MC2 at the Central Office to assemble “educators with industry professionals. The Career Tech Advisory Committee organized the free event to show importance of career education for all students at all levels,” director of instruction Dr. Camille Wright.

Teachers met local industry owners, who explained their companies’ workforce needs. John Allen, president of Southern Construction and Design (SCD), was opening speaker. Allen has mentored high school apprentices at SCD.

Sessions were “balanced with classroom application and off-site industry visits,” Wright said. On day one, educators visited Contractor Building Systems, Lee Smith at Wilson Lumber Company, and Martin Folgmann, owner/president of Accurate Machine and Tool. The business people explained “soft skills,” like handshakes and communication, and “hard skills” of basic reading, writing and arithmetic.

To understand 'hard' and 'soft' skills, teachers in the MC2 Academy built a pasta/marshmallow structure to support a brick. (CONTRIBUTED/ERIC HARRIS)
To understand ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills, teachers in the MC2 Academy built a pasta/marshmallow structure to support a brick. (CONTRIBUTED/ERIC HARRIS)

On day two, James Baker and Melissa Taylor at Madison Hospital discussed medical career paths. Also, Carol Madry Bell with Huntsville Committee of 100 offered a “macro view of the workforce development efforts and trending labor needs,” Wright said.

Academy participants saw “common themes of hard work, perseverance and initiative — from entry-level wage earners to upper-level managers,” Wright said.

Participants included Jon Campbell, Jeremy Raper, Wes Stroud and Jennifer Voorhies — Bob Jones High School; Nancy Hartfield, Blake Harvard, Joel Loudon and Lynn Owens — James Clemens High School; Anthony Graham and Julia West — Discovery Middle School; Leigh Adams — Liberty Middle School; and James Bell — The Academy.

Grouped by school, teachers “prepared a cross-collaboration plan (for) next year,” Wright said. Building a walking trail is one idea. English classes can write technical papers for requirements. Math classes can calculate weights, shapes and volumes of materials, like concrete and asphalt.

“The construction class can focus on implementation, value engineering and costing,” Wright said. Overcall, collaboration will be key. “You cannot operate in a vacuum in the real world.”

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