High School Technical Teacher Professional Development at Goodwin: A New Manufacturing Continuing Education Program

August 2021 marked the launch of a new Continuing Education (CE) training program offered through Goodwin University’s School of Business, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing. From August 9 to 12, eight technical education (tech-ed) instructors from several Connecticut school districts came to the Goodwin campus for intensive training in blueprint reading, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, and lean manufacturing principles. The new CE program joins Goodwin’s already extensive catalogue of live workshops and asynchronous online courses designed for incumbent workers.

Matt Dadona, Assistant Superintendent of Pathways and Partnerships for the Goodwin University Magnet School System, initiated the program. Matt approached the CE team about using existing training content to provide professional development for Connecticut high school tech-ed instructors. The CE team worked with Matt to build the program, select the courses that would meet the greatest needs, and get the word out to the school districts.

Matt stated, “The recent Teacher Institutes hosted by Goodwin grew out a need expressed by our partner school districts. We were able to work together with the CE department to offer in-demand training to technology educators from across the state, increasing their knowledge and ability to teach advanced manufacturing lessons to students. These students participate in dual enrollment courses, training them in the skills they need to be successful in a manufacturing career.”

Technical content, educational quality

The challenge for the CE team was to deliver pedagogical substance to the instructors in addition to technical content. The Goodwin manufacturing instructors, who brought a combination of professional teaching experience and manufacturing experience, were up to the challenge. Over the four days of training, they engaged in many interesting discussions with the attendees about delivering the content to their high schools students. This made for a stimulating and constructive event. The training included lab demonstrations, and attendees had the opportunity to tour Goodwin’s manufacturing training facilities and laboratories. All training content from the CE workshops was shared with the attendees.

The workshops were well received by attendees who hailed from Wallingford, Meriden, and Clinton school districts. Attendees gave high marks on their post-course evaluations, and commented on “seeing industry standards in practice,” “the amount of knowledge instructors have,” “time taken to answer questions,” and “the content [being] well delivered.” The CE team also received many useful suggestions from the attendees about how to improve the program. Training the teachers provided a unique opportunity to “talk shop” about best practices in teaching technical material, and Goodwin instructors took away valuable lessons from the first event.

On the horizon

After the initial success of the first Summer Training Institute, Matt Dadona and the CE team discussed creating an annual series of professional development events for Connecticut tech-ed teachers. Goodwin has since offered a successful, one-day training event in November with 15 attendees from school districts including Meriden, Hebron, South Windsor, East Haven, Wethersfield, and Wallingford. The next event is planned for February 2022, another traditional period for teacher professional development. The date will be announced in the near future.

Connecticut manufacturers are challenged to fill skilled production and quality positions. Since 2016, the Goodwin manufacturing CE team has strategically worked to develop strong partnerships with the manufacturing community through incumbent worker training that upskills existing workers. We are excited about this new opportunity to work with Connecticut school systems to help their teachers gain proficiency in technical areas that are essential for workers in advanced manufacturing. Their ability to teach these topics is critical to introducing high school students to career possibilities in manufacturing and helping form the next generation of highly skilled manufacturing workers. We are proud of this new partnership and look forward to further developing the program and our relationship with the high school tech training community.

How can we help?

Education leaders and teachers: Interested in learning how Goodwin University programs can support you grow as a professional and in turn introduce your student to a world of career possibilities in manufacturing? Matt Dadona, Assistant Superintendent of Pathways and Partnerships for the Goodwin University Magnet School System, is ready to help you with professional development, pathway consultation, or early college opportunities for their students. Contact him at mdadona@goodwin.edu or 860-373-4493