Giving Back to My Alma Mater- Through CTE
Rashed Fakhruddin has been working at NES for the last 19 years where he is a senior engineer in the area of system protection and communications. He graduated from Hillsboro High in 1987, Vanderbilt in 1991 and Georgia Tech in 1994. Volunteer boards and organizations Rashed serves on include NPT’s advisory board, Vanderbilt University’s Religious Leaders Advisory Council, STEM Prep Academy Advisory Board, MNPS’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Partnership Council, etc. He has volunteered with Project Pencil in the past and is currently mentoring students through TN Achieves. Rashed enjoys volunteering with the schools, as he has recently developed a presentation for schools called 'The MNPS Professionalism Rubric and How it Translates into Performance Evaluation in the Workplace', and has been presenting to many of the high schools' Freshmen Academies at MNPS. He has three children attending MNPS - elementary, middle and high school. Rashed enjoys playing and coaching basketball.
Being National Career and Technical Education month, I would like to share my experience working with the schools as a business partner from NES. Looking back to 5 years ago when I was invited to serve on the Academies of Nashville Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Partnership Council, I had no idea what an incredible school engagement opportunity this was going to lead to. Plans for teacher externships, student job shadowing, business partnerships with specific academies, etc., were being discussed and shared. There was not a moment of talking and planning that was not followed up with action and implementation. Within a year, NES embarked on engaging with Maplewood High School’s Academy of Energy and Power, and it has been a very fruitful partnership ever since. I had the pleasure to attend the Academies of Nashville Winter Leadership Retreat last December, and I was amazed at the planning, brainpower, details, etc. that had been put into place regarding the academies – we are so fortunate to have such visionaries, administrators, and teachers who work together to carry out this plan.
Through the partnership council, it has been a nice experience working with the Career Exploration Fair every year since its inception in 2009, and interacting directly with the students. I was touched when receiving a thank you letter from a high school student stating, “Your job as an electrical engineer is so interesting. It made me decide to become an electrical engineer. You showed me the knowledge you need for this job, and I just happen to love it.” Wow, honestly, one of the main reasons I decided to pursue engineering since my freshmen year in high school was because I was told that engineering was a good fit for me due to my math skills. Otherwise, I basically had no clue neither what an electrical engineer did nor what it entailed until I attended Vanderbilt and later Georgia Tech.
I had always wanted to give back to my school (Hillsboro) and the school system which I graduated from, and more than 20 years later that opportunity arose through the partnership council. It motivated me to put together a presentation over a year ago named ‘The MNPS Professionalism Rubric and how it Translates into Performance Evaluation in the Workplace’, which by the end of February, I will have presented to more than 2,700 MNPS Freshmen from 7 different high schools during this academic year alone. As President Obama stated, “We’ve got to reach more kids – and we’ve got to do it faster.” I plan and hope to speak to every Freshmen Academy in the Academies of Nashville every year in order to help inspire and place relevancy to this great professionalism skill set that MNPS is trying to instill in the students. These same skill sets are necessary for employees to succeed in the workplace (e.g., communications, quality & commitment, interpersonal effectiveness (including teamwork), etc.). I strongly feel like our workforce in Nashville will have a good pool of highly skilled candidates in the upcoming years and onward through our graduates of MNPS, and the vision stated by Dr. Register during the Chamber’s Report Card- for MNPS to be the highest performing urban district in the U.S. by 2018- will have become a reality.