Teachers Connect to Industry through four-week internship

An effort to give teachers an opportunity to see “beyond the classroom” is gaining steam. Started three years ago by the Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC, NDSU and West Fargo Schools, the Teachers in Industry Program continues to expand. The program, which started as a one-teacher pilot project, expects to place six area teachers into local companies the summer of 2013.

The Teachers in Industry Video created by AE2S highlights the four-week internship.

Last summer Adam Gehlhar, a social science teacher at the West Fargo STEM Center, was one of four teachers who spent four weeks at a local company. Gehlhar learned about lean engineering at Sanford Health’s Office of Continuous Improvement. Employees at Sanford use lean engineering to evaluate and improve processes related to work spaces and workflows.

“The experience opened my eyes to the possibilities for collaboration between business and education to create a more competent and engaged workforce.” said Gehlhar. “The lean engineering concepts and knowledge of the change process has created a platform for continuous improvement at Sanford Health. I will be leveraging those same concepts as I continue educating and leading the 21st century school.”

The teachers learned how employees collaborate, communicate and manage projects. Sanford Health along with John Deere Electronic Solutions, Microsoft and Bobcat Company all hosted teacher interns.

Each teacher is required to develop curriculum materials and lesson plans based on the internship experiences. The program aims to strengthen each teacher’s ability to make curriculum content more relevant and applicable.

The teachers applied and interviewed to be chosen for the internship. Each teacher received a $2,000 stipend. The 2013 internship will be open to K-12 teachers in Fargo, West Fargo, Casselton, Kindred, Northern Cass and Moorhead Public School Districts.

The internship program is a collaborative effort among the Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC, NDSU and the South East Education Cooperative. For more about the program click here.

Why does the GFMEDC care about programs like Teachers in Industry? While the organization’s main focus is on the retention, expansion and attraction of primary-sector companies, the organization supports those efforts, in part, through workforce development. The region’s companies are created by smart people with creative, innovative ideas. Those companies need intelligent, technology-savvy individuals. The Teachers in Industry program gives teachers the tools to better prepare our students to be successful in those companies or to become entrepreneurs who create their own successful venture.

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