Saturday, June 19, 2010

Industry Mentor Teams …

In my previous blog Connecting Students to the Future Economy the idea of planting Pre-college Innovative Engines (PIE) in our schools was discussed. In this entry I present an approach which complements that and the Engineering Connections program that has been successfully conducted in Guilford County Schools (GCS).

The graphic A on the left is a chart defining Engineering Connections as partnerships of Guilford Education Alliance and IEEE Central NC Section.

Graphic B below shows the GCS Regions with colored dots showing schools where the Engineering Connections were conducted.

In this blog I propose that Industry Mentor Teams be formed to function in Regional Areas of GCS. What is an Industry Mentor Team? Thinking based on my blogs and the BCSW website would form the basis for Teams. As in the PIE Team, it would consist of experts from Industry, Community Colleges and Universities which have strong knowledge and experience in the following areas:

• Entrepreneurship (Business Hat)

• Marketplace (Customer Hat)

• Manufacturing/Service (Technologist Hat)

• Design/Development (Engineer Hat)

• Research (Scientist Hat)

• Logistics & Distribution (Logistics Hat)

• Financial (Resources Hat)

• Human Relations (People Hat)

These and other Hats are defined in bestChoices.

The idea is that these Hats would make up the Industry Mentor Team.  A primary Mentor would reside on the GCS School Campus full time and draw upon the Mentor Resource Team Hats as defined above. The primary Mentor would partner with the GCS Career Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator Team and would be a Resource and means for “Connecting Students to the Future Economy”,  by bringing “Real Life” understanding to the school campus. They also would be a means to plant and mentor PIE Teams discussed in previous blog Connecting Students to the Future Economy. They would also provide the coordination of Industry Resources for the Engineering Connections and Other Connections programs. In addition they would be an on campus Resource for Teachers. This Industry Mentor Team could be the vehicle for Teacher Exchange Programs and Student Job Shadowing and Intern Programs.

When I was working with the Bell System on Military Projects, there was an exchange program where the military personnel were integrated into the workforce of Western Electric. Military personnel were working alongside Western Electric employees; you didn’t see any difference in civilians and military since they were all working on the same systems. This became an excellent way to handover the operations of the systems that were being designed and developed by Western Electric for Military operations.

When I was teaching at NCA&T during the 1990s, I reflected on that and concluded there needs to be more Industry and Academic Exchange programs.

There are a number of excellent Learning Opportunities that various organizations have developed for giving students experience and in fields that are of interest to them and the organization.  has a section on Pre University Student Opportunities  which includes FIRST Robotics.  Links to FIRST Robotics from is available here.

Other programs which I have familiarity with that assist in getting students connected to the future economy are:

Future City



Construction Challenge




Destination Imagination


Reality Store




The Industry Mentor Team could act as a focal point for selection of specific Learning Opportunities also.

At this juncture it appears that this would be an excellent way to Connect Students and Teachers to the Future Economy as well as connect Industry with the Education System. This close on campus integration would be a means to decrease the gap that exists between Education and the Real World.

I welcome dialog on this concept for contributing to Excellence in our Public Schools.
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