Student engagement highlights second phase of WAGE program

Student engagement highlights second phase of WAGE program
Posted on 02/11/2015

Bucyrus Secondary School teachers, representing grades 6-12, were the first to participate in a pilot program aimed at raising awareness for the manufacturing industry in Bucyrus. Now, the WAGE (Workforce Awareness for Graduates and Educators) program is expanding to engage 8th grade students at the Bucyrus Middle School.

Phase two of the program is broken down in to three components. The first, pre-tour briefings, took place in Mrs. Felecia Ervin's 8th grade Exploratory/Careers class Feb. 10. Five representatives from Bucyrus manufacturing companies spent the day discussing topics with students to help prepare them for the facility tours, which is the second component of the student-focused program.

"We're hoping the tour visuals will shine a positive light on the manufacturing industry in Bucyrus and influence the educational path of the students," Advanced Fiber Technology President and Crawford: 20/20 Vision Business Success and Job Availability Co-Chairman Doug Leuthold said. "The success of the program will be determined by the successful educational path the students take; the tours are an instrument."

The facility tours will be held at Advanced Fiber Technology, Artic Cat, Bucyrus Precision Tech, Inc. and IB- Tech Feb. 12. Students will be divided in small groups and spend 40 minutes at each manufacturer’s facility.

"Many times, kids don't think about careers until it may be too late because they're either not sure what they want to do, or they may have other priorities that keep them in the now, rather than focused on their future," Crawford: 20/20 Vision Director Dave Williamson said. "We think that if they at least know at a young age what's out there and what might interest them, it will help guide their choices in high school with respect to their class choices, the skills they need to develop or even the relationships they need to develop in their school and in the business community."

The third component in this phase of the WAGE program is the post-tour debriefings. Leuthold, along with other representatives from Bucyrus manufacturing companies, will revisit Mrs. Ervin's 8th grade classes to discuss what the students took away from their time in each manufacturer’s facility. These meetings are scheduled to take place Feb. 17.

"We're excited to have our students involved in this program," Bucyrus Superintendent Kevin Kimmel said. "While the exposure our students are receiving to the employment opportunities available in Bucyrus is priceless, we also believe that the discussions about the 'soft skills' students need to be successful in the manufacturing industry will serve them well during their remaining educational career and throughout their chosen career path."

The WAGE program is not only garnering attention from local civic leaders. It has also caught the interest of state leadership. State Senator David Burke and local dignitaries are scheduled to join students throughout the morning session of facility tours Feb. 12.

"We want students to know that there are many good jobs available to them right here in Bucyrus that can help them achieve their goals," Leuthold said. "We consider this program a success if just one student tells us they were inspired by what they experienced and learned during the WAGE program and plans to act on it."

WAGE is sponsored by Crawford: 20/20 Vision and American Electric Power.