WakeEd Partnership’s Link program partners businesses with educators to create possibilities for students. Already in 2019, nine Wake County public schools have collaborated with 13 area businesses to improve their school communities.
Dillard Drive Middle School and LORD Corporation are collaborating to expose students to variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers. Although they met for the first time at the Link launch event in January 2019, before the end of the day they had “a dynamic plan to work together,” shared David Naab, Career Development Coordinator at Dillard Drive.
LORD Corporation was immediately invited to participate in Dillard Drive Middle School’s annual Career Day, where three employees with diverse roles and responsibilities presented to three groups of students. Throughout the day, students learned about LORD Corporation’s products, solutions, customers, and role as a corporate citizen worldwide. Students were challenged to imagine how they would fit into LORD as an employee. According to David, “it’s important to bridge the gap between learning in a classroom and real life, and LORD is helping make that possible.”
Students from Dillard Drive Middle School also visited LORD Corporation’s World Headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, just minutes from their school campus, where they toured the Aerospace and Defense Research facilities and the Research and Development Center. LORD employees demonstrated how their adhesives, coatings, and vibration and motion control technologies are used throughout the world, and exposed students to a variety of careers that make their work possible.
After attending Career Day, Dillard Drive Middle School 8th grade student, Ruhan Rahman, asked to be part of the LORD Corporation tour. Although his interests are not related to STEM, he was captivated by the idea of working for a global company, where his work would make a difference across the world. Now, he wants to study business and follow in the footsteps of Julie Hagan, a Business Specialist from LORD who presented at Career Day. Students like Rahman are why Link exists.
Laurel Rowe, LORD Corporation Scientist, is thrilled to be part of this collaboration with Dillard Drive. She is particularly excited about the age group that they are working with. “Middle school is when the science curriculum in schools really starts to gear up and experiences begin to shape a student’s career path,” making it the ideal time to expose students to careers in STEM. To Laurel, giving back is vital to “helping shape and grow the future workforce of Wake County.” In addition to sharing a passion for STEM and education, WakeEd’s Link program gives LORD employees like Laurel the opportunity to help develop students’ interests, perhaps opening them to careers that they have not yet considered.
Educators at Dillard Drive Middle School have made it a priority to highlight global career opportunities for their students, who come from 33 different countries. LORD Corporation continues to help them make these vital global connections. Spanish speaking students from Dillard Drive have plans to video chat with LORD Corporation employees in Latin America. As an educator, David Nabb sees the value of business partnerships and immersion experiences in helping show students first-hand the career opportunities available to them. He is hopeful that this experience with LORD Corporation will open the door for other businesses to get involved.
LORD Corporation volunteers made it possible for Dillard Drive students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world, “allowing them to gain experiences and cultivate relationships” that outlast a single Link partnership.
“It’s important to bring experts into the classroom,” David shared. Employers are seeking skilled kids and partnerships like these “prepare students for later life experiences,” like perhaps working at LORD Corporation after graduation.
LORD Corporation’s work in the Wake County community continues. Employees also participated in Carroll Middle School’s Leadership in Technology Conference this year. This STEM-focused day featured a career panel, introduction to LORD Corporation, and a chemistry demonstration.