(October 10, 2022) Teachers from all over Etowah County participated in a different kind of field trip on Monday, October 10. The Chamber of Gadsden and Etowah County, along with East AlabamaWorks, Gadsden State Community College,  and a variety of workforce partners, hosted nearly 400 local educators for a day of industry and technical education tours.

EQWIP, or the Etowah Qualified Workforce Immersion Program, is a day-long interactive experience designed to give teachers a hands-on look at the wide variety of career opportunities available in Etowah County. The teachers can then return to the classroom with a better understanding of how to prepare their students for the future, and how to talk with their students about career opportunities after graduation.

This year’s participants represented elementary, middle school, and high school educators from Etowah County Schools, Gadsden City Schools, and Attalla City Schools. Etowah County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Alan Cosby says, “EQWIP is an outstanding and very worthwhile opportunity for teachers as it allows the education community to witness the workings and opportunities afforded by businesses in our county. This allows us to communicate about various post-secondary employment opportunities to our students as well as teach skills that are needed in the workforce. EQWIP is a “win-win” for our school system and business partners.”

The day started with breakfast at The Venue at Coosa Landing before teachers loaded onto ten buses provided by Etowah County Schools to begin their industry tours. Groups were hosted by Buffalo Rock, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital, Evoke Aviation, The Gadsden Fire Academy, Gadsden Regional Medical Center, Hokes Bluff Welding and Fabrication, Koller Craft, Prince Metal Stampings, Stamped Products Incorporated, and ZLA Staffing Solutions. Following lunch back at The Venue, teachers again boarded the buses and toured the wide variety of technical education programs offered on Gadsden State’s three Etowah County campuses.

EQWIP is an annual event, with 2022 being the third year of tours. The goal is to eventually give every educator and school administrator in Etowah County the opportunity to participate in these tours and to improve students’ educational outcomes throughout the county.

CLICK HERE to read the article published by The Messenger newspaper in Gadsden.

Check out the photo gallery below.