Columbia Public Schools teachers, administrators and counselors this week are learning about careers in Columbia, so they can tell their students about options when they graduate from high school.
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is presenting the Show-Me Careers Educator Experience, in cooperation with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Previously the Missouri chamber has offered the program in southeast Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City, but this is the first time it’s being offered in Columbia, said Brian Crouse, vice president of education for the chamber.
The group on Wednesday was at the University of Missouri Health Care Learning Center, where they participated in simulations of CPR, labor and delivery, and respiratory therapy.
The program will place her at an advantage when talking with students about careers, said Molly Pozel, an English teacher at Battle High School.
“I will be better able to talk to students about local industry,” Pozel said.
She can encourage students to attend college if that’s what they need for their careers, or can point to other options where less than a four-year degree is required, she said.
On Tuesday, the participating educators visited the MU Research Reactor.
“The nuclear reactor is a mystery and I cannot stop talking to people about it,” Pozel said.
Battle Principal Adam Taylor said though he was born and raised in Columbia, he had never visited the research reactor.
The program is great to experience, Taylor said. Teachers will learn valuable information they can provide to students seeking career advice.
“Hopefully students can learn the 21st century skills they need, like teamwork, perseverance, communication,” Taylor said.
The program also is giving administrators networking opportunities to connect students with career education programs, he said.
Elementary school isn’t too early to start introducing ideas about careers to students, said Becca Babcock, assistant principal at Blue Ridge Elementary School.
“For us, it’s a different take on how we can start building those foundations early,” Babcock said.
Building soft skills including communication and hard work is important at the elementary level, Babcock said.
“We’re about building those passions at an early age,” she said.
MU Health Care has experienced staffing shortages since the start of the pandemic, said Beth Alpers, chief human resources officer for MU Health Care.
“You guys are key people, right?” she said to the teachers of the ability to fill the positions.
There are positions for doctors, nurses and other health professionals, but also for maintenance, construction and transportation jobs, she said.
Other locations the educators are visiting this week include Veterans United Home Loans, Reinhardt Construction, Missouri Employers Mutual and Quaker Oats.
Roger McKinney is the education reporter for the Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-815-1719. He’s on Twitter at @rmckinney9.