Back to School: Four Tips for Building Engagement From Day One

Posted By: Krista Maurer on January 04, 2016

In his book, Y-size Your Business, Jason Ryan Dorsey writes that millennials make a decision about whether to stay with a company long-term by the end of the first day. The first day of school is equally as important.
The beginning of a new school year, or the start of a new semester, is the perfect time for educators to review their introductory approach to ensure that they are connecting with students from day one, leading to rapid engagement, lower drop rates and a thriving student body.
The following are four tips for building immediate engagement:
  • Tie Everything to Career Pathways. Students want to hear about more than what is covered in a course; they want to know how it helps them achieve their career goals in manufacturing. Talk about what they will learn in the program and how that connects to a fulfilling next step. For instance, outline opportunities with established apprenticeship programs or job openings with local manufacturers. Describe success stories with former students who took their skills and have grown with local companies or started their own business.
  • Explain the Technology. CNC Machining, Welding, Robotics, 3-D Printing…manufacturing technology is innovative and ever changing. Demonstrate the exciting applications needed to make things and power our local and national economies.
  • Get in the Shop. Our community college and technical school partners from around the country reinforce that most students love the hands-on training portion of their studies. On that very first day, bring students into the shop and show them different types of technology and explain how and why each is used. This will engage students eager to develop their skills on the shop floor.
  • Integrate Online Learning. Knowledge is a key to successful hands-on training. Diversifying learning through a variety of tools from videos to online training can help appeal to students with different learning styles…and lifestyles. For instance, we hear from many traditional and non-traditional students who like the flexibility of accessing their online courses anytime of the day or night. Many students say they find online training more engaging than traditional textbooks – and more cost effective. Fortunately, today flexible hybrid programs successfully integrate online curriculum and hands-on instruction.
Working with educators, training centers, workforce development agencies and manufacturers provides Tooling U-SME with a unique perspective. Feel free to contact us about best practices and other tips that can help ensure your school year is the best ever.
--Krista Maurer, Educational Specialist, Government and Education Group

Tags: "career pathways", educators, millennials, "online learning", "Workforce development"