In recognition of Manufacturing Day on Oct. 5, six Calhoun High School teachers had the opportunity to participate in a Teachers in Industry Externship.

The externship was a one-day professional learning event that allowed educators to see first-hand the needs of business and industry in our community, as well as the opportunities available to students in high-skill, high-wage, demand careers.

The externship was also an invaluable chance for business and industry to build collaborative partnerships with education and enlighten teachers on how they play a pivotal role in preparing students with the skills and aptitudes that are necessary for success in the current workforce and going forward.

The six teachers who participated were hosted by two local companies. Linda McEntire, the director of technical training for Mohawk Industries Inc. and chairperson for the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce’s Education and Workforce Committee, arranged externships with Mohawk Industries. English teacher Dawn Pruett spent the day with the Mohawk Training Department, STEM teacher Jennifer Roberts was with Engineering Department, and English teacher Jennifer Smith had the opportunity to intern with the Marketing Department.

Royal Thai was the host for three more teacher externships. The experiences were arranged by Chrissy Bryant, operations director for Royal Thai and a long-term board member for the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce. The externship allowed graphic design teacher Greta Hughes to spend the day with the Marketing and Graphics Department, history teacher Veda Ruiz to spend the day learning about Logistics for the company, and teacher Christina Long had the opportunity to learn about Project Management.

The teachers who completed the externships all indicated that they found value in their participation, as it gave them a more realistic perspective of today's workplace and the skills students need to succeed, specifically soft skills.

Hughes, who teaches graphic design at the Calhoun College and Career Academy and is also the career technical supervisor, said this of her experience, “This opportunity was an eye-opening experience for me to see the jobs that are available for my graphic design students. I am excited to be able to partner with the Royal Thai Marketing and Graphics Department to create real-world experiences within the classroom.”