Mid-August saw a group of hard-working teachers descend upon the NWESI office to learn about the technical jobs and career paths offered at our company as part of a Train the Teacher externship. NWESI has long considered promoting, and making knowledge of STEM careers accessible, one of the most important ways we can give back to our communities. Research in recent years has shown that in addition to speaking at schools and judging science fairs, “training the teacher” is an effective way to connect youth to real world examples of how studying math and science can help improve our world.
The day kicked off with an introduction to the types of services offered by NWESI and an office tour. This was followed by a “show and tell” of the equipment and software used by our field professionals. A highlight was a hands-on demonstration of Air Barrier and Water Intrusion tests, using sections of our office building as a proxy. In reality, these types of tests are done on entire buildings during new construction and renovations to verify the Building Envelope integrity—a vital component of maintenance, occupant comfort, and energy efficiency. The visit concluded with a discussion about potential careers, training, and the challenges that come with jobs in Commissioning, Test and Balance, and other specialty services NWESI provides. Volunteers from our Administrative, Business Development, Commissioning, and Site Sustaining departments spoke about their professional duties, career paths, and perspectives on the construction industry, and working in the STEM field.
The Teacher Externships, arranged by the Portland Metro STEM Partnership, are part of an ongoing mission to help teachers gain a better understanding of the requirements and culture in engineering and construction companies in the area. This externship-learning will equip educators with a stronger understanding of what these jobs entail, and give them even more resources to work into class lessons, with the hope of inspiring more youth to enter technical careers.