New Tech High School Primes Students For The Workplace

June 30, 2011

One component of Ohio’s unemployment problem is certainly a lack of jobs – politicians would like to see a lot more of them – but another important piece involves what you might call a “talent gap” (or “skills gap”). Many employers – and especially manufacturers – say they struggle to find workers who have both the technical know-how AND sound work ethic essential to running a productive shop. One local school is trying to fix this problem at the beginning of the pipeline – preparing students to thrive in the workplace with equal emphasis on technical skills and professionalism. Ideastream’s Michelle Kanu has the story.

Frew: “Good morning everyone, lets head to class…”

Principal Erin Frew says one of the hardest things about teaching ninth and tenth graders at New Tech High School is getting them to treat school like it’s a job.

Frew: “It’s finally starting to sink in with some of them. Because a lot of them would say, but this isn’t a job! And I’d say, ‘yes it is. You’re getting paid in your grades. And if you get paid a good grade then eventually that’s going to get you money in the real world.’”

Helping students make that connection between going to school and going to work is a big part of Frew’s job as the founding principal here. Located on Cleveland’s west side in the basement of Garrett Morgan high school, New Tech is one of Cleveland’s “new and innovative” schools created under former CEO Eugene Sanders. Students take traditional high school courses, but special emphasis is placed on using technology and preparing to enter the workforce. And the instruction itself is unconventional; rather than revolving around lectures and textbooks, classes at New Tech are project based and students are always working in groups.

Be sure to follow the link to listen to the audio!