Converge Gives Local Math and Science Teachers Real World Training

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Unique program allows middle and high school teachers to gain real-world experience at a major technology company and bring those lessons back into the classroom.

I can think of no better way to help improve our local community and preserve our future

Putting a unique and practical twist on the idea of summer school, Converge is providing summer "externships" for math and science teachers from Danvers Middle School and Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield.

For five weeks this summer the teachers commute to Converge's World Headquarters in Peabody Massachusetts. There, teachers will spend time in departments where math skills are put into practical use inside Converge's high-tech global environment. Teachers collaborate with Converge's quality control and customer service teams, learn about strategic business issues, and apply math skills in helping resolve them. They then bring these practical applications back to the classroom and imbed them into their curriculum so that students can see math and science applied to real life business situations.

"I can think of no better way to help improve our local community and preserve our future" says Converge CEO Frank Cavallaro. "We jumped at the chance to host local teachers in our facility. I think they're seeing how an engineering or math degree turns into a rewarding professional career. The real beneficiaries, of course, are the students. And we all win by helping to create the next generation of skilled workers in science and technology."

It's all part of a joint effort by local businesses, the North Shore Workforce Investment Board (NS-WIB) and Salem State College to help area math and science teachers bring on-the-job lessons back to their classrooms. Participating teachers earn graduate education credits from Salem State's Graduate School of Education. As teachers rotate through their company externships, they also participate in workshops at Salem State to develop and refine curriculum for transferring their business lessons to their classrooms.

"The goal," says Ms. Sarris, executive director of NS-WIB, "is to empower teachers and motivate students with examples of how classroom topics apply to careers in the real world. We hope this leads to more young people choosing Math careers and filling the ever-growing need for math professionals in our labor force."

The Teacher Externship Initiative is a pilot program which Ms. Sarris hopes will grow in scope based on this year's success. The TEI is modeled after the LIFT program run by the Metro South/ West Regional Economic Board.

"We're incubating key parts of the LIFT program on the North Shore," says Ms. Sarris. "This isn't just a feel good program. As more companies get involved, we can have a bigger impact on the future workforce in Massachusetts and, ultimately, the nation."

Other companies involved in this year's Teacher Externship Initiative are General Electric, Barry Construction, Strem Chemicals and Eastern Bank.

The Teacher Externship Program is strongly supported by Mass. state legislator Thomas McGee and U.S. Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA), both of whom work on state and national workforce committees and have strong personal commitments to supporting job growth in the science and technology sectors.
"I am pleased that Converge was able to benefit from the North Shore Investment Board Teacher Externship Program. These types of partnership programs are a win-win," said Congressman Tierney.
Senator McGee said, "I'm thrilled to see this program get off the ground. These externships are a great opportunity for teachers to connect what they're doing in the classroom with the skills necessary to succeed in a knowledge based economy. It's great that teachers are willing to take a chance and participate in something very different than their day jobs, in an effort to better serve their kids. I want to thank Frank Cavallaro, CEO of Converge and the CEO's of each of the five other North Shore companies who are hosting math and science teacher externs this summer. Their vision and leadership will play a key role as we seek to grow this program to include many more companies this coming year. I look forward to continuing to work with the North Shore WIB, Salem State College and Congressman Tierney to see this program succeed, and hopefully grow, in the coming years."

About Converge

Converge is a global supply chain partner for technology-driven companies. The organization's three business divisions are dedicated to just-in-time distribution of electronic components, comprehensive reverse supply chain solutions and secure IT asset disposition. Founded in 1980, Converge is headquartered in Peabody, Mass., and has offices in Columbus, Ohio; Irvine, Calif.; Singapore; and Amsterdam, along with support centers throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. For more information, visit http://www.converge.com.

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PETER GREER
Converge
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