By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Teachers should equip students with conflict-resolution skills, a Toyota executive told educators on Thursday during the 37th annual Industry Education Day.
The event for Tupelo and Lee County secondary teachers was sponsored by the Community Development Foundation. Middle school and high school educators from both districts heard from a panel of speakers at the Tupelo Furniture Market and then visited various industries in the county.
“It doesn’t matter what subject you teach, if you teach students to resolve differences and solve problems, it will serve them throughout life,” said Jackie Hogan, general manager-human resources for Toyota Motor Manufacturing.
Hogan spoke about the Toyota Way and told the teachers about skills the automaker is looking for in potential employees. She noted the importance of student attendance and of the need for them to be inclusive, curious and respectful.
Potential employees also need to be physically fit and able to read well, follow written instructions, do basic math and communicate in writing.
Itawamba Community College President Mike Eaton spoke about the college and the job opportunities available in career and technical fields.
“It takes an exceptional student to do those jobs,” he said.
Industries visited included Adlam Films, Bauhaus USA, Hawkeye Industries, RockTenn and Philips Lighting, among others. A group of teachers from Tupelo High School toured North Mississippi Medical Center’s Central Sterile Processing, which cleans and sterilizes hospital instruments.
“That was absolutely fascinating,” said THS public speaking and debate teacher Rand Hinds. “…We are teaching kids to go out into the real world, and to know what industries are in the community is important.”
Added Terry Abernethy, who teaches ninth grade social studies: “This can help us realize what our kids can be doing one day.”