New program putting Butler County teachers in area factories this summer

Middletown High School teachers Christa Wilson (right) and Jake Senft (middle) learn more about manufacturing steel tubing as part of a new program putting non-tech area teachers into local industries so they can better explain job and career options to their students. Butler Tech's new Manufacturing Educator Externship Team (MEET) program includes participating companies like Middletown-based Phillips Tube Group where they recently spent an eight-hour shift. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

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Middletown High School teachers Christa Wilson (right) and Jake Senft (middle) learn more about manufacturing steel tubing as part of a new program putting non-tech area teachers into local industries so they can better explain job and career options to their students. Butler Tech's new Manufacturing Educator Externship Team (MEET) program includes participating companies like Middletown-based Phillips Tube Group where they recently spent an eight-hour shift. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

MEET offers opportunity to expand partnerships between schools and local businesses.

High school teachers can’t teach teens about job opportunities in local industry after graduation unless they know more about those opportunities.

That’s the driving mission behind a new Butler County program this summer putting non-tech career high school teachers into area industrial companies with a focus on updating them on job and career opportunities.

Jon Graft, Butler Tech Superintendent, said the area’s career school system “is excited to be the bridge that connects teachers from our partnering schools with local manufacturing businesses.”

“The Manufacturing Educator Externship Team (MEET) program is an opportunity to expand partnerships between schools and our local businesses.”

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The career exploration program not only helps future high school and college graduates but also the participating manufacturers.

“It is all about making connections and helping our manufacturing sector to thrive,” said Graft.

Angela Phillips, CEO of Middletown-based Phillips Tube Group, said “developing these connection points at the teacher level are so important.”

The company recently hosted two Middletown High School teachers who toured the facility and learned about a number of jobs and potential careers in the company, which produces steel tube for highly engineered, severely fabricated and formed tube applications in the appliance, automotive, HVAC and recreational vehicle industries.

The company also has plants in Shelby, Ohio, and Richmond, Indiana.

Previous area companies that have participated in the program for local teachers are: Rhinestahl Advanced Manufacturing Group in Mason; Worthington Industries in Monroe and AstraZeneca in Fairfield.

And teachers get much more than a walk-through tour as they spend an eight-hour shift observing workers in the manufacturing process.

“We want educators and administrators to understand the great career opportunities that we can offer right here in our community,” said Phillips.

When those teachers return to their classrooms they will be better prepared to reveal and explain career paths in the industrial sector.

According to the MEET program mission created by Butler Tech, the new process allows teachers to: Embed industry concepts into curriculum throughout the school year; be able to better advise students with the application of skills observed in varying careers; be able to provide alternate opportunities to students, beyond attending college, by witnessing different definitions of success; explore high-wage, high-demand career fields and career options and gain an understanding of the employability skills and competencies essential for success in the workplace.

Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. praised the program.

“Through community partnerships such as the MEET Program, teachers will be able to better help students learn to identify goals, develop strengths, talents, and interests, and eventually, venture on to make healthy and confident decisions about their future,” said Styles.

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