Program gives educators hands-on experience in STEM careers

BATON ROUGE, La. (June 19, 2018) — The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) graduated 45 teachers this month from its Teacher Externship program. Each teacher received a stipend of $1,000, provided by companies partnering in the program.

The four-year-old Teacher Externship program engages Capital Region teachers, counselors, and administrators in exploring career opportunities in STEM fields to better communicate job pathways to their students. Specifically, the program highlights opportunities in construction crafts, manufacturing, healthcare, and the tech sector.

“Having teachers at our site for the week gave them an up-close look at the types of jobs we offer, how to get those jobs, and what we look for in our employees in terms of both technical and soft skills,” said Tom Yura, BASF senior vice president and Geismar site manager. “Our teacher externs will now be even more equipped to prepare students for future success.”

Participants spent four days onsite at BRAC’s partner companies to shadow workers in the field, conduct skills assessments, and engage in day-to-day operations. They spent an additional day with BRAC staff for training in soft skills and STEM integration.

The immersive experience provides participants a clear understanding of the skills and knowledge necessary for successful careers in STEM industries, and the acumen to serve as ambassadors of those industries to their students. Each participant developed a semester-long plan of action to incorporate what they learned into micro lessons within the classroom.

“I have been in education for 19 years and have participated in numerous workshops, conferences, and other professional development activities,” said Lacey Barbera of East Ascension High School. “The four days I spent at BASF was the most valuable experience of my career. I feel I have made connections with the industry that will help me make better connections with my students. I am grateful I had this opportunity.”

The group of 45 teachers was selected from an applicant pool of over 80, the largest applicant pool in the program’s history. Selected teachers represent 10 school districts and 34 schools in the Capital Region.

Participants in the cohort include:

  • Julius Aucoin,Iberville District
  • Kimberly Averitt, Iberville District
  • Deleon Awill, East Baton Rouge District
  • Lacey Barbera, Ascension District
  • Angela Boudreaux,Ascension District
  • Eric Brownfield, Ascension District
  • Ian Bryson, Central District
  • Allegra Butler, Iberville District
  • PershaunaButler, West Baton Rouge District
  • Chantal Correll, Ascension District
  • John Didier, Central District
  • Amanda Dorris,Iberville District
  • Mark Dubreuil, Ascension District
  • Hali Fletcher,Livingston District
  • Lee Anne Gentry,Ascension District
  • Karin Gill, West Baton Rouge District
  • Heather Grantham, Ascension District
  • Angel Harris, East Baton Rouge District
  • Terrie Hasten, Iberville District
  • Katie Heck, Iberville District
  • Lisa Kastner, Livingston District
  • RaneeKeller, Livingston District
  • Kimberley Key, West Feliciana District
  • Keith Larkin,Zachary District
  • Laci Lemoine, Central District
  • Christian Lopiparo, Ascension District
  • Melissa McCormick, Ascension District
  • Bess Melancon, Ascension District
  • Melba Moton, Ascension District
  • Jamie Munson,Central District
  • Stacy Myles, Ascension District
  • Michelle Ourso,Iberville District
  • Sharon Ourso, West Feliciana District
  • GabbriaParker, East Baton Rouge District
  • Lynn Schmitt, Iberville District
  • Katherine Scott, West Baton Rouge District
  • Meagan Simmons, Livingston District
  • Jadon Smith, East Baton Rouge District
  • Matthew Stumpf, Livingston District
  • Courtney Sykora, Livingston District
  • DarlineTaylor, East Baton Rouge District
  • Tanya Taylor, Iberville District
  • RhondalynWhite, Pointe Coupee District
  • Lisa Williams, Zachary District
  • Israel Wilson, East Feliciana District

Sponsoring partners include: Ascension Parish School District, BASF, Central Community School District, Dow, East Baton Rouge Public School System, ExxonMobil, FRAN U, Georgia Pacific, Iberville Parish School District, IBM, ITinspired, LA Healthcare Institute, LA Office of Tech Services, LED FastStart, Livingston Parish School District, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Performance Contractors, Sparkhound, West Baton Rouge Parish School District, West Feliciana Parish School District, and Zachary Community School District.

This program supports BRAC’s Strategic Plan initiative to cultivate the region’s talent through expansion of STEM learning and partnerships in PK-12 public education, and aligning regional workforce development systems to meet business needs. Read more about BRAC’s Strategic Plan at www.brac.org.

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, midsize firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at brac.org

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