Union members lead the way in the classroom and the community, particularly members of the Baltimore Teachers Union. Harry Preston V, Director of Innovation and Education at Green Street Academy and BTU Vocational VP for the Teacher Chapter will be taking the helm on a project to structure and lead the Innovation Center at his school. The center will be an all-encompassing facility that focuses on providing students access to Additive manufacturing and bleeding edge technology in 3D printing, laser cutting, and micro-scale computing. This project will also teach Green Street Academy students traditional engineering and construction in a micro-manufacturing environment. This is consistent with the work Preston has been doing around career and technical education (CTE) through the BTU for years. Preston has been a leading expert in the field of CTE providing testimony and analysis to local and state leaders, as well as sharing his wisdom and expertise through AFT-Maryland and AFT national platforms.
This work is aided by the Metropolitan Baltimore AFL-CIO who will be partnering with Preston and Green Street Academy to provide students with micro-apprenticeship classes that allows students to learn and experience different trades as they matriculate through school. Graduates will be eligible for accelerated apprenticeships that will increase opportunity for placement in union jobs. Students at the Innovation Center will be using their technical education to develop tools to make life better and easier for loved ones in their community. Those projects focused on solving problems that affect our community include school safety apps, a specialized robot for Senior Citizens, a water safety device, and a device to help combat the plague of opioid overdoses.
In addition to lending his expertise to policymakers and union roundtables, Harry Preston has won thousands of dollars in grant money for his programs and most recently a state winner for the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition in 2018. He partnered with Green Street Academy’s and BTU member Germi Belin on their win in 2019. The innovation center is scheduled to finish construction in February 2021.