Educator Workforce Academy helps teachers prepare students for auto jobs

Educators from Tuscaloosa and Bibb Counties meet at the Mercedes Benz US International Training...
Educators from Tuscaloosa and Bibb Counties meet at the Mercedes Benz US International Training Center in Vance
Published: Jan. 21, 2019 at 5:57 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Class is in session for the 2019 edition of the Educator Workforce Academy.

The Educator Workforce Academy is a year-long training program for educators in West Alabama, It exposes teacher to workforce development and our region’s industries.

Established in 2017 by West Alabama Works, the Academy is designed to eliminate the disconnection between industry and education, giving our region’s students the best chance possible for success.

“Often times we feel like those students are 11 to 13-years-old. This isn’t really for them, this isn’t a conversation for the. But in the reality it is,” Mary Thompson explained.

She’s a counselor at Northridge Middle School, Thompson said they have to start encouraging kids at a younger age to think about future careers.

She and others spent time at Mercedes Benz’s plant in Vance and a parts supplier to learn what these companies want from future employees.

“We have a lot of success stories from last year’s class of transformational things happening in our schools because of this academy.” Donny Jones. executive director of West Alabama Works.

The academy aligns education with industry needs. But these jobs don’t require just technical skill only.

“Simple things that I can take back to my students such as being punctual and having a positive attitude as well as the importance of being able to communicate,” Thompson concluded.

The second class of the Educator Workforce Academy learned about West Alabama’s automotive industry Friday, touring Mercedes-Benz and ZF Chassis.

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