Industry partnerships

Industry partnerships help students relate to workforce
Posted on 10/29/2019

Morganton, NC – Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019

Leviton Manufacturing Company Inc., Geiger International and many other local industries have been visiting middle and high school students to show the connection between what students learn in school and how each industry operates. 

Manufacturing engineers Brianna Queen and Daniel Sipe and production manager Edward Teck, all from Leviton, invited students to learn about what they create, which includes electrical devices such as receptacles, light switches and plug-in connectors.

The visit was a result of teachers, including Liberty science teacher Monique St. Louis, within Burke County Public Schools attending a STEM West professional development called Filling the Gap, which provided training on a project based learning unit partnering with local industries. STEM West also partnered with NC Science House to help lead the workshop and a Golden Leaf Foundation grant provided all the funding for the workshop.

St. Louis partnered with Leviton to learn more about their industry and to enhance her teaching by bringing them into her classroom. Work stations were setup in a lab at Liberty for students to wire a residential receptacle after being given safety instructions from Queen and Sipe. Each group was successful.

Teck said, “We are trying to educate the kids in the community on exactly what we do at Leviton, but also to tell them how they need to prepare if they are interested in careers in engineering.” 

Not only does Leviton visit schools within the county, but they welcome BCPS eighth graders into parts of their manufacturing plant for career tours.

Queen said part of the reason they gave their educational background to students is to help them learn what a college degree can lead to.

Sipes said, “We think it is important to understand what type of jobs are available for the degree that you obtain.”

St. Louis said, “In addition to making a connection between the real world and my curriculum, I believe this partnership is important because the students need to look into their future careers by hearing from employees working at Leviton. They need to see the importance of going to college or into career technical education and obtaining a job after graduating high school. Also, the students need to see females and males in the science field and Leviton supports both genders and all nationalities.  In turn, my students will be helping the company by taking their current directions for wiring a receptacle and improving upon them through different modes of presentations.”

On Monday morning, officials with Geiger International, including Dan Miller, James Speck and Kelly Beach, came to East Burke Middle School to talk to sixth and seventh graders about the furniture industry and the high-tech equipment they use. In the near future, engineers will be working with the students to design a piece of furniture for their classrooms.

They talked with students about the CNC router that is used to print objects in 3D using computer codes.

Miller also mentioned how they have employees at Geiger with various educational backgrounds, including, high school diplomas, two year-technical degrees and even bachelor’s degrees.

Instructional coach Christy Arrowood helped to organize the events alongside the teachers who participated in the STEM West professional development training. 

Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam, said, “Knowing that there are local industries in our community that make the effort to visit our schools and educate our students on the workforce opportunities shows how important it is to work in Burke. There are many different vocational opportunities and all these industries are helping us to fill the gap so they can reach more students in the future.”

Putnam also appreciates the partnership formed with Tim Lockard, Senior Director of Operations of Leviton and his teams support of BCPS over the years.

The following teachers and industries were also a part of the “Filling the Gap” professional training.

  • Liberty Middle School- Heidi Galloway partnered with Vulcan Materials.
  • East Burke Middle School - Cyndi Childers and Matthew Childers partnered with Geiger. Melinda Kennedy partnered with Valdese Waste Water Treatment Plant.
  • Table Rock Middle School - Stephanie Reevis partnered with Valdese Waste Water Treatment Plant.
  • Freedom High School - Ken Thwing partnered with Columbia Forest Products.

Leviton working with Liberty Middle School 
Liberty Middle School students wiring electrical receptacle while their teacher, Monique St. Louis observes.
 Leviton working with Liberty Middle School
Leviton engineers, Daniel Sipe and Brianna Queen, presenting to Liberty Middle School students.
Geiger International speaks to EBMS students
​Geiger International officials Dan Miller and James Speck speaking to East Burke Middle School students.

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