Agriculture is big business in Ohio. It is the number one industry in our state— contributing $128 billion annually to Ohio’s economy, and employing 1 in 8 Ohioans as of 2019. It is important for Ohio students to understand the vast number and variety of job opportunities in the agriculture industry as they consider their future careers. Likewise, it is important for teachers to understand this too, as teachers are influential in helping students make decisions about careers.
The Ohio STEM Learning Network and Education Projects & Partnerships was recently awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support the agriculture workforce development pipeline. Our approach to solving the agriculture workforce shortage is to help teachers connect their existing science lessons to real-world agriculture needs, so that students will begin to make connections between classroom content and future careers.
The Ohio Rural Educators Program will engage 20 middle and high school science teachers from rural schools in a year-long professional learning cohort. The program will center problem-based learning (PBL) training, providing an opportunity for teachers to experience PBL through the program while simultaneously gaining agriculture-specific content knowledge and tools to implement effective and meaningful PBL in their classrooms around real-world agriculture needs. Participating teachers will also engage with industry leaders and socialize lesson plans and classroom ideas with local industry experts. The program seeks to fully equip teachers with the training, resources, and ongoing support necessary to transition a current classroom lesson into a hands-on, problem based lesson with a focus on agriculture.
The Ohio Rural Educators Program will meet in-person and virtually throughout the 2021 – 22 school year. We’re still working on solidifying all of the dates, but here’s an overview of the anticipated program schedule:
|September 8, 2021||Kickoff webinar||3:30 -4:30 pm|
|September 21 – 22, 2021||Meet in Columbus (9/21); travel to Farm Science Review in London, Ohio (9/22)||Exact times TBD; lodging and food will be provided|
|October 2021||Full cohort webinar||All participants must attend|
|November 2021||Webinar – PBL help session and industry expert chat||Choose November or February session|
|February 2022||Webinar – PBL help session and industry expert chat||Choose November or February session|
|Spring 2022||Final presentation and celebration, in-person.||Waterman Farm in Columbus or similar venue|
The program is limited to 20 Ohio science teachers, with a preference for teachers in rural middle and high schools. Applications will open in July. Complete this form to let us know you are interested in learning more!