Original URL: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/southwestvalley/articles/0806pass0730Z5.html

Teachers learn what businesses want
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 6, 2003
Betty Reid
12:00 AM

They donned safety glasses at Jet Products Co., learned about company loyalty at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix and discovered that many former Phoenix Union High School District students work strenuous shifts at United Parcel Service.

The real reason teachers at the Valley's urban high school district visited Valley businesses last week was to figure out what businesses think of education and how they, as teachers, can help prepare youngsters for the work world.

Twenty-three Phoenix Union teachers participated in the program, called Partners Advancing Student Success, or PASS.

John Gaines, a Cesar Chavez High English teacher, came away with a catchy business phrase, "Pride in Excellence," after a visit to Jet
Products Co. Inc. in north Phoenix. He will tell students about the company's expectation about being on time, but he also will stress that businesses want workers with strong economic and communication skills. For instance, they must have an ability to structure a business letter, Gaines said.

A challenge for some Phoenix Union teachers is that many of their students speak English as a second language. Many companies
require their workers to be armed with a vocabulary with which they can convey a message in clear, precise English.

Math, especially the basics, also is required.

Jim Perlow, vice president and general manager of Jet Products, said the company, which designs and molds parts for submarines,
computers, satellites, jet control panels and even dashboards, recruits many employees from Valley high schools.

The designs and molds must be precise, Perlow said.

A job as a manufacturing technician requires strong math skills. The company in most instances retrains employees about fractions or the decimal system, and it's one area in which education might exert its effort, Perlow said.

Reach the reporter at betty.reid@arizonarepublic.com or call (602) 444-8049.