Myles Gordon has always been interested in engineering. Ever since he was young, the science and technology surrounding the design and development of systems fascinated him. Eager to pursue his passion as a student, Myles sought out opportunities to learn more outside of the classroom. Now a senior at Westwood High School, Myles has already gained invaluable experience in the engineering industry thanks to a local organization focused on helping young people acquire the education and skills needed to pursue their career goals.
For more than 20 years, Midlands Education and Business Alliance (MEBA) has worked to strengthen the connection between education and business to help students transition successfully from school to work. MEBA increases community collaboration, promotes economic development and enhances quality of life by connecting students, parents, educators and employers to education and career opportunities.
Schiria Wilson, the Work-Based Learning Coordinator at Westwood High School, began working with MEBA nearly seven years ago as a career and technology teacher. She considers the organization a strong ally for schools because of its resources for career exploration and applied learning.
“MEBA understands what teachers need to educate students,” Schiria said. “They help us develop vital industry relationships and connect our classrooms to the community. Our teachers do great things in the classroom, but learning really comes to life when students experience things first hand in an industry setting.”
Through MEBA’s “Manufacturing…Start Here!” program, Myles connected with PurePOWER Technologies, a Columbia-based company that integrates research and development, engineering and manufacturing capabilities to produce diesel power and emissions control systems. Myles participated in a job shadowing and gained first-hand experience in a summer internship where he worked closely with an industrial engineer on an assembly line.
These opportunities helped Myles develop skills in a workplace environment. He remembers one project during his internship that was especially helpful in enhancing his learning. “I had to write instructions for producing a fuel injector for someone who had never used the machinery before,” he said. “I took pictures on the assembly line and this helped me understand the process in a really hands-on way.”
By applying his classroom knowledge to tasks he performed in the workplace, Myles drew connections between his schoolwork and real-world applications. He even acquired skills relevant to his high school classes. “What I learned helped me carry myself more professionally in my classes,” Myles said. “It also increased my work ethic. Now I’m used to working with technology and doing the hands-on things that are a part of my schoolwork.”
Shadowing and interning not only provided Myles with invaluable practical experience, but also allowed him to explore future career options. Working closely with an engineer helped Myles better understand the profession and increased his interest in pursuing it as a career. Following graduation, he plans to study mechanical engineering and work as an industrial or aerospace engineer after earning his degree.
Myles is thankful for the opportunity to engage his passion and acknowledges MEBA’s role in making it possible. “By connecting schools with industry, MEBA opens students’ eyes to the manufacturing field,” Myles said. “If I never knew about the organization, I never would have gotten the chance to experience this.”
For more information about Midlands Education and Business Alliance, please visit www.mebasc.com.