Reedsburg Area High School Organic Biochemistry class and Teel staff
For years, Teel Plastics has been hosting tours of its facility for Baraboo High School students and other local groups interested in learning about Teel’s manufacturing, laboratory, and development work.
“It’s important for us to connect with the community,” said Teel Training Specialist DeeAnna Deane. In addition to helping build Teel’s reputation in the Baraboo area, DeeAnna says hosting the tours “draws new employees in.”
DeeAnna sees a special importance in hosting tours for young people. “We have an aging workforce,” she said, emphasizing the need to attract more students to manufacturing. The tours are a way to help students see that “you can really make a good and livable wage by working here,” she added. When DeeAnna gives her presentation to visiting students, she stresses the tuition reimbursement plan Teel offers. When they hear that Teel offers 80% tuition reimbursement to employees, DeeAnna said, “You should see the looks in the kids’ eyes.”
Tours of professional facilities like Teel can benefit students by helping them connect the theoretical knowledge they learn in the classroom to its practical use in industry. Seeing how their academic work applies to, and is preparing them, for a professional career can help motivate more practically inclined students, especially. In addition, tours can acquaint students with the type of work environment they can expect if they were to pursue a particular career.
This May, Teel had the opportunity to provide tours to two classes from Reedsburg Area High School, the first time the school has sent tour groups. The first group was an Organic Biochemistry class that had just finished a polymer unit and the other was an AP chemistry class. Both were taught by science instructor Corinne Fish, who heard of Teel’s tours from her niece, Teel Operations Planning Manager Lisa Zelt.
Lisa Zelt gives a tour of a Teel manufacturing facility to Reedsburg Chemistry students
Fish, who has about 29 years of teaching experience, was happy to have the chance to show students practical examples of what she had been saying in class. “I think it’s extremely valuable,” she said of the tours, as most of her students had not previously been to a manufacturing facility. “To see how much technology there is in every job,” she added, “I think is important for them.” Teel’s analytical lab is a key draw, Fish said, as it serves as a helpful illustrative tool for Chemistry classes in particular. Fish was also impressed with the Teel facility as a whole: “The facility is beautiful. I can’t believe it’s actually been here 12 years,” she said.
Reedsburg AP Chemistry class and Teel staff
After the first tour, Fish held a debriefing with her class and discussed what they had seen. “They thought it was really neat,” she said. Later, one of Fish’s students approached her with a photo on her phone. The student works at a local cheese manufacturer that uses Teel’s bag products. “She goes, ‘Look! I found the bags at my work!’” Fish said. For this student at least, the Teel tour provided a helpful insight into the use and impact of Teel’s products.
Teel’s goal is to provide more such opportunities to students and other groups interested in touring our facilities. Contact DeeAnna Deane to schedule a tour for your class or group today.