An Extern participating in his field placement at BoeingACCESS STEM

Accessing Career Connected Experiences for Student Success (ACCESS)

We believe that all students, regardless of their background, need to have knowledge of the skills and pathways that allow them to pursue high-demand careers in our region.  Knowing that one teacher can impact over 150 students a year, we determined that the best way to increase student perceptions about job opportunities and preparedness was to build teacher knowledge and instructional capacity in career-connected issues, with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

The ACCESS STEM program is a partnership between businesses and teachers that helps bring engaging, work-based problems to our classrooms. The overall goal of this partnership is to have more students be able to access post-secondary certification and move into the workforce.

Who are the teacher participants?

  • 4th and 5th grade teachers
  • Middle and high school teachers
  • School counselors, library media specialists, and instructional coaches/curriculum specialists

What industries do we partner with?

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Aerospace
  • Agricultural
  • Architecture/Construction
  • Biomedical/Healthcare
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • Maritime
  • Public Sector
  • Retail
  • Technology

Why is this needed?

  • Businesses have a unique opportunity to help develop a qualified pipeline of future employees prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges
  • Teachers are in a powerful position to influence student aspirations and provide access to participate in opportunities that build career awareness and confidence in their skills
  • By partnering industry with teachers, we can work together to increase the pool of talent in the Puget Sound region

Why do teachers want to get involved?

By participating, teachers will:

  • Increase their industry awareness and involvement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education
  • Bring engaging, work-based problems in STEM to their classrooms to help all students be able to change their perceptions around pathways and skills needed in the workforce
  • Develop problem-based lessons that are aligned to national standards, and that incorporate 21st century skills and information about career and educational pathways they observed in action at your site

How does the program work?

  • Teachers participate in a 5-day placement in industry, supported with professional development in the summer and monthly follow-up meetings during the school year
  • WABS and our team of mentor teachers work with participants and industry volunteers to translate the workplace experiences into their classrooms-
  • Teams consist of  3 to 4 teachers and 3 to 4 industry volunteers that write a problem-based unit using workplace scenarios to bring relevance to the classroom.
  • Industry partners help share stories of real problems being solved in their workplace, share about skills needed to be successful in their industry and share about career opportunity in their sector.

“For me it was an amazing, eye-opening experience. It gave me a new perspective on the application of STEM, 21st Century Skills, and problem-based learning to the classroom.”         – Teacher Participant

If you are a business or community partner interested in hosting teachers or supporting the program, please contact Lisa Chen, lisa@wabsalliance.org.