History of Associated General Contractors (AGC) and Willamette Promise (WP) Educator Externships
This project began in 2016 when an AGC and WP partnership began to look at unfilled positions in the construction industry’s high demand, high wage careers. The Oregon construction industry had two primary goals in mind in this partnership: Build relationships with educators, and support these educators with information, observation, and exploration into the industry.
The Educator Externship Program was designed on the Discovery Project model, which had the following objectives:
- Infuse Real-World Relevance: Experience firsthand the skills, knowledge, and technologies expected of students as they enter the modern workplace.
- Develop Partnerships: Foster relationships with local business professionals in high-demand, high-wage industry sectors.
- Foster Multi-Disciplinary Connections: Explore curriculum, spaces, processes and/or systems that help students to make connections between academic and technical information.
- Increase Career Related Learning: Expose educators to various careers within the industry, in order to engage students in the skills needed to succeed in construction careers and help students identify career opportunities within the industry.
Through the Externship program, educators learn how to engage all students in the professional skills needed to succeed in careers, and help students identify career opportunities within not just the construction industry, but other careers as well. Through partnerships funded across Oregon and SW Washington by AGC, workforce investment boards, Albany Chamber of Commerce-Pipeline, and several ESDs, the program has successfully exposed over 200 educators to skills desired by businesses, and it has provided a means for those skills to be incorporated into the classroom. The program has been received enthusiastically by both education and industry, and we anticipate even more growth in the future.
While they celebrate and recognize the past and the present, they were also looking to address the issues currently affecting the industry, in order to ensure the future of construction. In this spirit, AGC introduced the Innovation Awards to incentivize and encourage free thinkers within the industry to provide pioneering solutions to challenges faced daily by the industry. Examples of issues needing innovative solutions include, but are not limited to:
- Workforce shortage and lack of diversity
- Technology advancements
- Jobsite safety
- Project complexity
The AGC Columbia Chapter and the Willamette Promise submitted the Educator Externships for this innovation award and received 2nd place the first week in October at the National Convention for AGC in Washington, DC. The AGC Columbia Chapter also received $5000 which will help support the program to continue with workforce advancement and sustainability through K12 education. Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators in the NW Regional ESD, Willamette ESD, Inter-Mountain ESD, and Southern Oregon ESD regions participated in the summer Educator Externship Program this year which takes them through local businesses, job sites, and apprenticeships in order to better support their students in careers. Educators received credit for work completed through Western Oregon and Eastern Oregon Universities. The Willamette Promise's very own Cherie Clark has been instrumental in putting this work together and plans and executes the summer event. Cherie is also is the teacher of record for the courses offered.
Check out the video below to see more about the top three award winners!