Teachers from Hartselle, Morgan, and Decatur schools went on a tour of several industries to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The teachers were able to learn firsthand how their students can land a job and what jobs are available to them.
WAAY 31 was there and talked to some teachers about how they plan to use the information they learned in the classroom.
1,000 teachers boarded buses today to go on tour of local plants and calhoun community college to learn how they can better prepare their students for the changing workforce.
One-thousand teachers -- split into two groups of 500 – toured 13 different types of industries to help students who may not be exposed to them. Anna Oletti, a teacher with Decatur schools, ttold me this is a good way for teachers to prepare their students for paths that may not include a traditional four year college or university.
"We have so many opportunities for students and our own kids to learn a skill and go straight into a high demand job," said Oletti.
Jeff Hyche, career tech director with Hartselle schools, said engaging students in STEM needs to start at a young age. "You can tell at that early age even students that are going to excel at stem. They're playing with legos. They're putting things together. They're tearing it apart and putting it back."
The teachers listened to guest speakers during their lunch session. Congressman Mo Brooks was at one of the lunches and talked about how important this tour is for the local schools.
"The purpose of education is not only to enable an individual, a child, to self enrich through reading. It's also to prepare that child for adulthood where that child has a job," said Brooks.
The teachers said parents also need to be educated on the opportunities available to their students in these fields and hope the parents and students will be able to do a tour like this one someday.
The program was a joint partnership between Morgan County Economic Development, Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.