It has been many, many years since I have had to put together a presentation for a schoolteacher, so when I learned that I had to face down five of them at once, you can imagine my angst!  Fortunately, I was not being graded and this group of teachers was here to learn from me – and my colleagues.


For 4 days in July, DBI played host to a group of middle and high school teachers from Loudoun and Prince William Counties as part of a program through George Washington University called the Teachers in Industry Program (GWTIP).  The three week program is designed to connect teachers with the business community in an effort to “connect the dots” between what they are teaching and the real world application in business.


The full group of 20 teachers spent time with the GW faculty reviewing the project and learning how to view their content areas from a workforce perspective.  They then broke into teams of 5 and each participated in two externships with local businesses where they learned the day to day operations of the companies.  The program wrapped up with representatives from the university and the selected firms coming together to hear what the teachers had learned.


We kicked off our four-day stint with a broad overview of our firm, its values and culture, and the industry we serve.  Over the next few days, key staff rotated in and out to share their expertise in areas including architecture, interior design, sustainability, building information modeling, furniture and marketing.  The conversation was dynamic and interactive, and everyone involved was enriched by the experience.


My role was primarily to put together the agenda, and orchestrate the four-day externship, though I did get to participate directly during the marketing module.  The highlight for me, however, came at the end of the program when I had the opportunity to learn from the teachers what they gained from the experience.  These teachers are the future of our workforce and community, and it is so encouraging to know that you have played even a small role in arming them with additional tools to enrich our students.  DBI president Al Storm was so enthusiastic about the experience, he has already signed on for another year.


You can learn more about George Washington University’s Teachers in Industry Program here:


Written by:  Kathryn Ciliberti, Director of Business Development