Deconstructing Stereotypes: IFAD Welcomes Record Number of Teachers

Posted on May 23, 2017 in CEO Updates

May 23, 2017


Dear Friends –

In April, 144 local teachers, counselors and principals participated in Industry for a Day (IFAD), touring 16 local job sites for a hands-on immersion experience to learn about the career opportunities and living-wage jobs available in manufacturing and construction. In its second year, IFAD was created through a partnership between All Hands Raised, East Metro STEAM Partnership, Impact Northwest and Worksystems, Inc.

IFAD serves a critical role to reduce the stigma that says the trades are a “lesser alternative” to traditional college. The event also aims to build a stronger pipeline between schools and the region’s 30,000 new jobs in construction and manufacturing industries that are projected to emerge by 2024. You can view images from the day here.

This year’s 2017 IFAD focused on attracting more teachers–especially those who teach traditional subjects like English, history and the arts–who can help guide a wide array of students in making plans beyond high school. Nearly 70 classroom teachers from six school districts attended the event. Cheryl Bland, a 6th grade teacher at Ron Russell Middle School was one of them.

Following the event, Ms. Bland brought her IFAD experience to her classes because, “We have many kids in our school whose parents do not have jobs that require a college education. When we expose our students to careers in the trades, they see value in what their parents do-to only put college in front of them is a disservice to them and to their families.”

As a result of the conversations in her classes, one of her students, “Brian,” who is an English Language Learner, became excited that Ms. Bland had visited his dad’s workplace, but shared that he really didn’t know what his dad actually did. The next day, when Brian returned to class he was excited to report that he had spent hours talking with his dad that night, learning that his dad had worked his way up from the ground floor and was now a recognized leader, training new employees and receiving recognition from his supervisors.

Two days later, Brian received an award during a school assembly and his dad sought out Ms. Bland excitedly expressing that as a result of the conversation he had with his son he felt, for the first time, that Brian respected and valued his skills, and did not view his work as “less than.”

This is just one example of how a change of attitudes that surround careers in construction and manufacturing can impact our kids, families and communities. There are many more young women and men, like Brian, out there who need us to, as Ms. Bland said, help students “re-image” what they see as success. As you can see this day made a measurable impact on the participants: click here to see an overview of the event.

Wishing you all the best as we enter the final weeks of school and the festivities that come with celebrating our students’ accomplishments.