Amanda St Pierre, On Track Academy

I’ve always been a go-getter, so when the opportunity was offered to me to complete a teacher summer externship, I took it. The parameters for the experience were that I find a local business that aligned with the Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school courses that I teach, spend 32 hours over the summer with the business shadowing employees and learning more about their industry and business practices, so that eventually I could share what I learned with other educators and use it to help me in my classroom. I never could have expected what my experience with Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI)/Spokane STEM would teach me in the short few weeks I spent with them.

Meg, Cassidy, Jodi, and Wendy, THE education and talent team at GSI/Spokane STEM, are what I akin to a Secret Society – they are doing all the work that CTE teachers dream about but never have the time or the connection to make happen. Within the first few hours that I spent with them, I was in awe of the work that they, and all of their counterparts at GSI, are doing to connect Spokane businesses and support talent and growth in our area. They are working on programs to secure funding for the growth of STEM careers, they partner with businesses from all over the area to continually check the temperature of industry and opportunity for our residents, they provide experiences in a variety of fields for students to “test-drive” possible career options, and they have created a wide network of business professionals who are willing to be a resource for local teachers as they help their students choose the right pathway to pursue after high school.

I am so excited to take back information that I learned throughout my externship to help build better bridges between area schools and GSI/Spokane STEM – as we are all doing the same work but we have just not crossed paths well enough yet to fully support one another; teachers will benefit, students will be more fully supported, and Spokane wins. I am thankful for my time spent with GSI/Spokane STEM, for the remarkable women on the Education and Talent team and their passion and hard work, and for what I know will be a continued and growing partnership between GSI/Spokane STEM and the schools of Spokane.

article written by Amanda St Pierre, teacher at On Track Academy