Wayzata Teachers Connect with Business Leaders
More than 3,500 students attend Wayzata High School in Plymouth.
It’s a school known for academic excellence, but it’s no time for the teachers to get complacent.
That’s why, 240 of Wayzata’s teachers visited various Twin Cities businesses as part of ‘Teacher Field Experience Day.’
“We’ve got all sorts of companies, small, large, midsize companies that are participating in this, said Brent Veninga, an educational consultant from Apriton Education. “Almost 30 organizations from around the Twin Cities and volunteers from those organizations are assisting us.”
Veninga helped coordinate this event in conjunction with the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce.
Mortenson Construction in Golden Valley was one of the places where teachers learned more about what the company wants out of potential employees.
Improving ‘Soft Skills’
“A lot of students at Wayzata are graduating with high technical skills,” said Allan Christopherson, a Wayzata math teacher. “We can improve in their soft skills. We can improve in getting them up in the class, presenting more often.”
The teachers learned that, of all things, public speaking is one of the skills Mortenson Construction values in their job candidates.
“You can tell right away, somebody in an interview, who’s comfortable talking, expressing themselves, being articulate,” said Dan Johnson, Mortenson’s president and CEO.
In turn, staff members from Mortenson Construction hope some of the Wayzata students consider careers with their company.
“Construction is very satisfying,” said Troy Blizzard, Mortenson’s V.P. of Operations. “A lot of jobs are gonna have a lot of hours, a lot of hard work. Our hard work and hours result in some permanent stuff that you can look at the rest of your life.”
The hope is that this event helps to strengthen the relationships between teachers and local businesses. That way, students at Wayzata will have a leg up when it comes time to enter the labor force.
“We need to do more visits like this,” said Christopherson.
Meanwhile, the city of Maple Grove has also partnered with the TwinWest Chamber on a similar workforce initiative. The hope is that students in the Osseo School District will get a better understanding of all of the potential job opportunities available to them.