Tile and Teachers!
Thursday, August 23rd. A group of teachers from Kent City Middle and High School enter a building. A tremendous clap of thunder and they are suddenly transformed into… Super Installers!
Welch Tile played host to 36 teachers from our local school district as part of the Teachers in Industry program put together by the Kent ISD. Through unique learning activities, we collectively began to tackle these probing questions:
· Career exploration – What opportunities are in community businesses?
· How can students be prepared for careers?
· What work elements can be taken back to the classroom?
Welch Tile was honored to be a part of this program and, true to form, we wanted to make the day a little more fun. We decided to implement a superhero theme for the visit, tying in with our idea that everyone can be a hero. Each educator received their own comic book to describe each division of the tour. Every section was also linked to a well-known superhero: design had Superman, human resources and administration had Batman, and logistics and production had the team of the Hulk and Captain America! After a short briefing, our visitors were off and flying with a few of the heroes of Welch.
For design, the teachers had to problem solve with a real-world application: the selection of tile for the entryway to the Fortress of Solitude. They used science and porosity to select between natural stone, porcelain, and glass for the most practical material, mathematics and spatial reasoning to determine the layout for the tile, and art and color theory to choose a grout. By the end, Mr. Kent had a beautiful design created for his new entryway.
Human resources and administration used the analogy of Batman’s utility belt with his various tools to describe what tools our new hires need before on-boarding. They also battled villains: a large chunk of the team not showing up (anthropomorphized by the Joker) and the allure of the 1099 contract (anthropomorphized by Catwoman). Don’t worry, our team won!
The fearless team of logistics and production were the Hulk and Captain America. The Hulk was a chosen metaphor for our duality of working smart and working hard, as well as our mean blue machine, our terrazzo chip blender. Captain America allowed us to discuss our Apprenticeship program, describing it as our version of Project: Rebirth, the process that Steve Rogers undergoes to turn into super-solider Captain America. After our apprenticeship program, we have some pretty super-installers.
After the breakout sessions, we came back together as a group and gave a mission to the teachers. We requested that they try to keep the team together by having us come and speak with their students about this rewarding industry. We need their help to find tomorrow’s heroes!
Learning is a must for everyone. However, the appropriate vehicle depends on the individual. College, technical schools, apprenticeship programs, and on-the-job training are all crediable paths to successful careers. Imagine if we started calling all jobs a career. Envision us empowering our youth to be contributors to an economic environment which sustains their families, our communities, and our nation. What type of world would we create?