Teachers working with Lehigh Valley manufacturers to learn work skill needs

Teachers at the Mack Truck plant (Photo submitted) –

A group of a dozen teachers from the Allentown, Salisbury and Whitehall-Coplay school districts will be wrapping up a program at Lehigh Carbon Community College this week that is helping them get involved in developing students’ interest in STEM careers.

Science, technology, engineering and math skills are seen as vital to filling the growing void in manufacturing careers and the statewide Teacher in the Workplace program is partnering educators and employers to develop curriculum that can be used in real-world careers.

The group of teachers has been touring a number of Lehigh Valley manufacturers, including Mack Trucks, Lutron, B. Braun Medical, Uline and ATAS.

“They’re physically visiting the employers and seeing firsthand the manufacturing aspects of the work,” said Terri Keefe, dean of employer engagement for LCCC. “Then they’re meeting with employers to talk about skill sets and what kind of jobs are available.”

She said the teachers will also participate in a STEM project that will help them use some of the skills that are important at those Lehigh Valley manufacturers so they can develop curriculum that addresses the skills students will need to get real-world manufacturing jobs.

The $25,000 to fund the program was part of a $2.6 million state grant from the Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program.

“This opportunity to connect teachers with employers in local manufacturing is a true benefit to everyone,” said Ann D. Bieber, LCCC president. “Teachers will have a chance to see firsthand the kinds of career opportunities that are available to students interested in these STEM fields. And employers can connect with teachers to share insight into what skills will make students successful.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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