Columbia Public School teachers, administrators and counselors are learning about careers in Columbia this week, so they can educate their students about options when they graduate from high school.
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce presents the Show-Me Careers educator experience, in cooperation with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Missouri chamber previously offered the program in southeast Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City, but this is the first time it’s been offered in Colombia, said Brian Crouse, vice president of education for the room.
On Wednesday, the group 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 give her an edge when it comes to career talks with students, said Battle High School English teacher Molly Pozel.
“I’ll be better able to talk to local industry students,” 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, participating educators toured the MU Research Reactor.
“The nuclear reactor is a mystery and I can’t help telling people about it,” Pozel said.
Battle director Adam Taylor said that although he was born and raised in Colombia, 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.
“I hope students can learn the 21st century skills they need, like teamwork, perseverance, communication,” Taylor said.
The program also provides administrators with networking opportunities to connect students to career education programs, he said.
Elementary school isn’t too early to start introducing students to career ideas, said Becca Babcock, vice-principal at Blue Ridge Elementary School.
“For us, it’s a different approach to how we can start building those foundations early,” Babcock said.
Developing soft skills, including communication and hard work, is important at the elementary level, Babcock said.
“We want to develop these passions from an early age,” she said.
MU Health Care has experienced staff shortages since the start of the pandemic, said Beth Alpers, director of human resources at MU Health Care.
“You are key people, aren’t you? she told teachers of the ability to fill the positions.
There are positions for doctors, nurses and other health professionals, but also for maintenance, construction and transport jobs, she said.
Other places visited by educators this week include Veterans United Home Loans, Reinhardt Construction, Missouri Employers Mutual and Quaker Oats.
Roger McKinney is the Tribune’s educational reporter. You can reach him at [email protected] or 573-815-1719. He’s on Twitter at @rmckinney9.