Engineering teacher takes on 'externship' at Precision

The Willamette High School teacher is spending time at Precision Machine and Manufacturing this summer to bring skills back to the classroom.

Posted: Aug 5, 2019 6:29 PM
Updated: Aug 5, 2019 6:30 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Internships are a great way for students to figure out what career opportunities they might like, but one teacher is taking out all the guess work for his students by taking on an “externship.”

Justin McCullough, an engineering teacher at Willamette High School, is spending time at Precision Machine and Manufacturing this summer learning what it takes to be successful at the entry level in a fab shop.

The goal? Bringing those skills back to the classroom.

McCullough said the externship program is something teachers can do to bring back tangible examples to their students about careers in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) and career technical education (CTE).

“We’ve started to realize that not every kid is going to go for a four-year degree,” McCullough said. “There’s nothing wrong with going for that, but it’s just not right for every kid. So if we can teach them important trades where they’re able to make really good wages like a plumber or an electrician or even here in a fab shop, these are really good trades and they’re really good as far as income.”

The students all have individual paths their future careers will take them on, but McCullough said he hopes they learn in his class that a four-year university degree isn’t the only option.

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