Water Career Pathways (WCP) consortium has proudly sponsored 27 high school teachers that spent one week within the water and wastewater industries through job shadowing externships. The teachers were placed with our industry partners San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the City of San Jose during this summer’s school vacation period. Teachers worked directly with industry folks to generate ideas to develop and create lesson plans that bring real world problem solving and skills generation into the classrooms. Students can relate to the curriculum designed as it is tangible from a real-world scenario. Students can then begin to picture themselves in those careers or similar aiding in the passion for learning and vision for a clear future.
An externship is a vehicle by which educators are directly exposed to the day to day problem solving and skill sets that an industry position needs. These externships are essentially mini internships for educators. Having this direct knowledge of industry and producing lessons from it; create a relatable project, based on real-world scenarios.
Teachers are working feverishly to create meaningful and interactive projects for students to gain real world skills and realize the potential for themselves. When students finish one of these lesson plans, they have gained the knowledge of the material as well as the confidence and understanding of how it applies to the real world. The more students can relate specific knowledge to the real world, the more relevant that knowledge is to them. As Project Based Learning (PBL) is being adopted along with Work Based Learning (WBL, ie. Internships); the gap between traditional education and workforce hire-ability shrinks. Studies show that a student is more likely to enter an industry after having had an internship during their educational years.
Thanks to the WCP consortium, its educational, non-profit and industry partners. All of these great efforts wouldn’t be possible without their dedication and collaboration in the vision of a clear career pathway into the water and wastewater industries. Thanks to these efforts students will follow into the footsteps of our current water and wastewater industry heroes. They will ensure that future generations have clean and safe drinking water along with safe disposal, sanitation and reuse of our wastewater.