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In a new collaboration, Entegris, a leader in advanced manufacturing, hosted an immersive day-long externship for Academy District 20 (D20) engineering and technology teachers. This unique opportunity allowed educators to gain firsthand experience in advanced manufacturing processes, aiming to bridge the gap between industry and education.  

Participating teachers included Adam Truex from Air Academy High School, Michele Holmes from Chinook Trail Middle School, Sara Ballard from Eagleview Middle School, and Kendra Tate, D20 Career and Technical Education Coordinator. Together they explored Entegris' state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, renowned for its production of wafer carriers for the semiconductor industry. 

Joe Ramos, Lean Master Manager, provided information demonstrations of the company’s customizable injection molding process, allowing attendees to gain valuable insights into the intricate manufacturing procedures and see real-life examples of the products. 

Teachers also observed Entrgris’ Quality Engineers explain the company’s root-cause analysis system used for error tracking and the Manufacturing Execution System allowing them to connect monitors and controls complex manufacturing systems and data flows, showcasing the integration of technology in manufacturing. 

Connecting Classroom to Industry 

As educators toured the plant, they observed the presses and automation systems, drawing parallels to their classroom curriculum. They posed targeted questions to the Entegris team, deepening their understanding of how concepts are applied in a real-world setting.  

“The hands-on experience our teachers gained at Entegris is invaluable. It not only enriches their teaching but also opens up new pathways for students interested in high-tech careers, said Dr. Jamon Peariso, Director for College and Career Services. “This partnership exemplifies the collaborative spirit that drives innovation in education and industry alike.” 

In 2025, Entegris is poised to open a new manufacturing center in Colorado Springs conveniently located near D20’s Eagleview Middle School (EMS).  

Sara Ballard, EMS’ Gateway to Technology Teacher is already planning future visits for her students.  

She said, “Having such a high-tech manufacturing facility nearby presents a fantastic opportunity for our students to see advanced manufacturing in action and explore the diverse career paths available.” 

The Entegris externship underscores a significance of real-world industry experiences for educators. By fostering stronger connections between classroom learning and industry practices, such initiatives enhance student learning and career readiness. 

Dr. Peariso added, “Witnessing the direct application of classroom concepts in a real-world setting inspires both teachers and students. It's this kind of engagement that truly prepares our students for the future.” 

This partnership exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to education, preparing D20 students to meet the demands of the ever-evolving job market. 

As D20 continues to explore forward-thinking approaches to education, this partnership is yet another example of how innovative approaches help prepare students to the demands of an evolving job market.