New 12 Plus course takes students through hiring process

Published Wednesday, August 24, 2016

12 Plus students learn "Putting Yourself on Paper"
Southeastern Community College Iowa Works instructor Courtney Wehrle, hands out materials for “Putting Yourself on Paper” to 18 students Monday in the 12 Plus course at Fort Madison High School.  The activity focused on the importance of proper résumés.
What was offered to adults last year is being offered to Fort Madison High School students this year.

What was called “Manufacturing 101” last year for adult residents is called “12 Plus” this semester at FMHS.

The course runs 12 weeks for 67 minutes Monday through Friday.  The curriculum consists of speakers from business, industry Southeastern Community College and Lee County Economic Development Group (LCEDG) who will provide students with information about employment opportunities in the Fort Madison area.

Students will develop a portfolio and resume and, as a final activity, work with four or five industry partners to problem solve an issue from their specific industry. They will also learn about workplace safety, interviewing, money management, entrepreneurship, computer skills, problem solving, leadership and teamwork.

FMHS senior Johnathan Hernandez said he is “learning new things every day.”

And fellow senior Kaleb Slater said, “It will open up different opportunities when I get out of high school.”

Eighteen students participated in an in-class activity Monday that focused on the importance of their appearance on paper. The topic was called “Bringing Your A Game.” Students saw examples of what a professional and unprofessional re`sume` looked like.

“I think it’s really important to start in high school to work on professional development and the skills that they need to go into the workforce,” said Wehrle. It’s going to really prepare them to become the best employees that they can be.”

Wehrle gave examples of her own experience, personal and professional, illustrating why it is crucial they also keep a surveillance over their social media content.

If I would look at your Facebook right now what would I see?” she asked the class.

As they filled out their own profile worksheet called “Putting Yourself on Paper” students were able to look up what they had on their real Facebook page to fill out the worksheet.

One student, Caleb Ford, said he didn’t have a Facebook account.

Wehrle reminded the students the importance of looking over their skills and social media profiles is important in the workforce.

“It’s just remembering that anything that you put out there is there to see,” she said.

FMHS Principal Greg Smith said all students could benefit from this course.

“It’s good to get this information. It’s a win-win. Whether you are a college bound student or not, these classes are critical,” he said.

The business department runs the course and students that participate in the course will be able receive a business credit or an elective credit.

According to Smith, recent data shows 60 percent of students are not going to a four year college. Some students are opting not to complete a four-year college degree to pursue a career.

“You need a class that tells you what’s out there,” said Smith.

Smith says the course is quite simple.

“Just show up, be on time and be willing to learn. You don’t need to know anything, they will be willing to teach you everything you need to know, so it’s very simple,” said Smith.

Over a year ago, Smith was asked to sit on a steering committee with the LCEDG, which was developing “Manufacturing 101.” The course was aimed at meeting the needs of adults in the Lee County community that were between jobs or looking for better job opportunities.

“I learned so much from our industry partners about positions available here in Lee County and was more than excited when the  Lee County Economic Development staff asked me to partner with them to create the same type of course for high school students,” said Smith.

Over the summer, Smith worked closely with Dana Millard and Dennis Fraise from LCEDG to revise the curriculum from Manufacturing 101 to fit the high school students’ needs.

“I’m very excited about this course because it offers a large number of our students information that they would not normally get in high school,” Smith said. “It is in my opinion that our primary responsibility for students is to offer them a wide variety of educational opportunities that will meet their diverse needs. I think this course is a unique opportunity for students and has been a long time coming.”

Two to three 12 Plus students will also get the opportunity to meet and greet with industry professionals on National Manufacturing day on Oct. 7.

By Denisha Mixon Daily Democrat 

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