Teachers Become Students at South Jersey Summer Institute

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Local educators are switching roles and becoming students this summer during the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey’s annual South Jersey Summer Institute.

“This year we have a class of just under 20 teachers from South Jersey," said Christina Renna, vice president at the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey. "They get a $1,000 stipend for taking three weeks out of their summer to tour the regional business community and learn about the kind of jobs that are available to their students.”

In the three weeks, the group will take daily tours and hear from executives from different South Jersey businesses.

“It’s fantastic and I'm having a really good time," said Dominique Hyder, transition coordinator of the School-to-Careers Program for Vineland Public Schools. "The experiences are invaluable and I’m making a lot of connections.”

The Cumberland County educator knew this program was something she had to attend.

The experiences are invaluable and I’m making a lot of connections.

“I’m getting all this information from the employers themselves as to what they’re looking for in their employees," said Hyder. "There’s a lot of information that I can give back to the students.” 

On Wednesday, July 12th, the group got a look behind the doors of Virtua Health.

“This year I wanted to bring the team to the Marlton facility," said Christine Carlsen, director of human resources at Virtua. "We have some of our nursing leadership that will be talking about some of the specialty programs.” 

Along with hearing about the program Virtua offers, the group was taken on a tour of the facility.

“I hope they take away the real success factors of what it takes to be out in the workforce, and what it takes to be successful in a company like Virtua,” said Carlsen.

“We hope that the lessons they learn, and a lot of the businesses they’re exposed to, then gets inserted back into the classroom,” said Renna.

When the program is over the teachers are expected to write curriculum on how they plan on taking this experience and applying it in the classroom.

“It’s all about teaching the students what the workforce is like in South Jersey," said Renna, "and encouraging them to stay and work in South Jersey.” 

The South Jersey Summer Institute will conclude on July 28th, but not before more than a dozen local businesses — both big and small — are visited.  

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