Macomb High School looking to implement work-based learning for seniors

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 5:23 PM CST
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MACOMB (WGEM) - Pending board approval in February, incoming seniors at Macomb High School will be eligible to earn workforce experience and class credit through a new work-based learning program.

Superintendent Patrick Twomey said the idea has been in talks for the past few years. Starting next school year, 15 to 20 students will “pilot” the program.

“When that conversation came up about work based learning, it really fit into at least my own personal belief that we need to do a better job of connecting kids with opportunities beyond these four walls,” Twomey said.

Originally prompted by FFA teachers, the program will not be limited to just FFA students.

“Even those kids who go on to institutions [college], they’ll go on knowing more about the field they’re interested in and a little more confidence that, ‘This is definitely the work I want to do as an adult,’” Twomey said.

Ag teacher and FFA advisor Wyatt McGrew is one educator who pushed for the creation of the program.

He said it’s a win for both the students and the community.

“It really gives students the opportunity to get latched onto that company and gives an employer in the area the opportunity to have a worker coming forward in a time where there’s a shortage of people in trades,” McGrew said.

McGrew said that because it’s still a class, teachers will communicate directly with employers to check on the status of the student.

Through the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation and the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce, Twomey said meetings will be held in the spring to open the door for businesses to enter the program.

Then, each student will be paired with a business that suits their interest.

If the pilot program is a success, the full work based learning curriculum will be sent to the school board’s curriculum committee for approval after next school year.

Once approved, Twomey said the program will be set in stone for years to come starting in the 2024-2025 school year.

“We have a lot of things to figure out and work out and that’s why we want to start out as a pilot project, to keep it small, manageable and then we can scale it up from there,” Twomey said.

The program was discussed in December’s school board meeting, and the minutes can be viewed here.

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