Teachers get first-hand experience of career tech training at Summer Technology Institute

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Tennessee Valley teachers are getting first hand experience in technical career fields. J.F. Drake State is hosting their 10th annual Summer Technology Institute which puts teachers in the classroom.

“Our concept is to make sure they fully understand the expectations we have of their graduates as they come to us,” explains John Reutter, Dean of Research and Planning.

On Monday, teachers visited ADTRAN to see the types of jobs available for students who follow a career tech path. Tuesday, they learned to make bananas foster with the college’s culinary arts department.

In the next two weeks, they’ll accomplish much more.

“They’ll do lab projects we conduct in the engineer lab. They’re going to design and build a radio antenna and talk over our radio station. In the electrical department, they wire a bathroom and in the end all the lights and fan have to come on. They’ll go in the automotive lab and learn how to run engine diagnostics on their cars,” lists Reutter.

In the end, the teachers come away better equipped to teach their fields and guide students.

“I know most students will pursue a career, some will pursue a four-year degree, but there are others who will pursue two-year degrees or certificate programs,” said Vanessa Chandler, a Family & Consumer Sciences teacher at Lee High School. “This opportunity is preparing me to help students see programs right here in Huntsville that are connected to employers in our community.”

The teachers will receive continued education credit for the course. They also have to create lesson plans based on their work each day.

Reutter says the program is often a transformative experience for the teachers, who may not know the full scope of what Drake State offers in regards to technical career training.