By Jeanna Baxter White
Whether it’s in a boardroom, parking lot, or on the shop floor… EVERYONE is talking about workforce development, and many are working hard to find solutions.
To help empower its students to become part of that solution, Davie County Schools is rolling out Edge Factor, an innovative workforce development tool that uses the power of cinematic storytelling and interactive tools to open the eyes of students, parents, and adults to rewarding career opportunities that will get them excited about planning their future.
“Career exploration is a large piece of what we do in CTE, STEM, and core education,” said Anthony Davis, director of CTE and federal programs for Davie County Schools (DCS). “We must talk to the kids about what opportunities are available in Davie County and the rest of the world. Edge Factor is a dynamic tool for introducing students to careers that will interest them.”
All of the multimedia content Edge Factor creates is distributed through a cloud-based membership platform on edgefactor.com. Through DCS’s contract with Edge Factor, all students at the three middle schools, high school, and early college will be able to go to the organization’s website and set up personal portals which will allow them to explore dozens of career fields through engaging videos that provide a lot of information in a short amount of time and build a profile of the areas they are interested in.”
Edge Factor’s videos, activities, and tools help people to discover how STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) comes alive in the real world, learn soft skills, and browse local training options, including CTE programs, postsecondary courses, apprenticeships, etc. Davis hopes parents will get involved and take advantage of the opportunity to explore career possibilities with their students.
Edge Factor is also a boon to teachers who will be able to use the program to demonstrate the relevance of course material to the real world.
“If I’m a calculus teacher and I’m having a hard time getting my students to understand how calculus applies to the real world I can go on the website, look up the standard I am teaching, and show the class a video of a person explaining how they use that part of calculus in their career,” Davis said.
Additionally, the teacher portal offers lesson plans and activities that are aligned with North Carolina’s curriculum standards to go along with the videos.
Davis learned about Edge Factor from Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT, an initiative of the Davie County Economic Development Commission (DCEDC) to connect businesses to resources and kids to careers. McManamy was introduced to the program while attending an event for 8th graders at Gaston County Community College that turned out to be the county’s rollout of Edge Factor. She was impressed with the program’s potential to ignite students’ interest and thought it would be perfect for Davie County.
“Edge Factor marries curriculum to careers through short, edgy videos that students will want to watch,” said McManamy. “They offer a very broad range of content that explores several career pathways within a particular field, like healthcare. Edge Factor is an excellent career awareness and discovery tool that will help students more clearly identify their strengths, skills, and passion and gets them excited about potential careers. These videos will be a great resource for parents too as they help their children figure out what they want to be and the educational pathway to get there. Ultimately, we want our students to get a great education, so they are career and life ready as they step into independent adulthood and Edge Factor is an invaluable partner in the process.”
She is equally excited about Edge Factor’s value for the community as a whole. A Community Hub customized to Davie County will be introduced later this fall and will allow any Davie County resident to create a FREE Edge Factor membership and access collections of high-impact Edge Factor videos that showcase local industries and career pathways. “The Community Hub gives students and residents access to information about our local businesses as they relate to a particular career. It will raise awareness of the wide range of career options available here in Davie County and this will be very beneficial for all of us, but especially our local businesses during their recruiting process,” said McManamy
To learn more about Edge Factor and its role in Davie County visit DavieWorks.com/explore-careers.