In August 2021, we wanted to get a better understanding of academia’s perceptions and access to manufacturing opportunities. We emailed 584 Idaho high school educators, introducing ourselves and our mission with Forging Futures, asking those educators to complete a 10-15 minute survey that consisted of 20 multiple choice questions and 3 open-ended responses. The questions focused on:
- Awareness and perceptions of manufacturing
- Participation in career-technical education
- Interest in 3rd party programming and various services
- Sense of post-secondary readiness
- Existing relationships with local industry
We plan to use the feedback to shape our content and programming for Idaho’s students and educators.
The key takeaways from the survey were that although educators want to make substantial workforce connections, they are typically unable because of resources, time, or bandwidth and need industry input/effort (rural schools also feel more isolated and limited). Educators believe that students are not graduating with the tools necessary for post-secondary success and want more non-baccalaureate options, coupled with conversation around how training and education would look for manufacturing careers. Lastly, awareness and capabilities are lacking among educators regarding non-traditional avenues for education/careers, and without their advocacy and guidance, some students may exit high school without a plan.
Using responses from the survey, we have tailored our presentations and online content to highlight the variety of local opportunities, educate teachers as much as students, and contextualize the significance of post-secondary readiness. The following steps would be to find champions and partners in academia, especially in rural communities, and maintain a working and communicative relationship. We are building out more resources for educators like curriculum, infographics, and videos for plug-n-play use in the classroom or extracurriculars. We also need to use the existing post-secondary toolkit and adapt it to workforce programs while expanding on work-based learning opportunities with educators and employers.
To see full feedback data: https://airtable.com/shrCt0IM66fIJN5i3/tblFVwNIQ8f8mTO9L