Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:41 pm
Real estate focuses on location, location, location. In any region of our country, jobs and job growth focus on education, education, education.
In those geographical areas where this connection is acknowledged and nurtured, the economy and earning levels have flourished. A universally accepted measurement or benchmark of a successful effort is the number of four-year degrees and the number of increased jobs.
This link between jobs and education is often discussed, studied and the object of much "strategic planning" efforts. Unfortunately, few concrete steps are taken to elevate our region out of the stagnant status and back to one of innovation and leadership.
The action that is needed is the development of new engaged partnerships. The partners should include the universities, colleges and school districts. Parents and students must be engaged also. The key partner to complete an action-oriented analysis and plan development is the employers. Large and small employers, locally owned and nationally owned, including traditional and cutting-edge operations. play a critical part in education.
Among the education partners, the fledgling first steps between some of the institutions are a great beginning, but so much more is needed. Create a collaboration that would link and enhance strengths of each school to meet the needs of the region’s students. Public and private institutions must break out of traditional boundaries and find the synergy this broadening of effort can create. Above all, they must understand the students – traditional and non-traditional – and develop programs and schedules to meet their needs in a quest for personal development.
Parents and students have a responsibility to understand the pathway to a job/career. This analysis should begin in the middle school years to enable students to gain the fullest benefit from their high school curriculum and extra-curricular activities.
Finally, and I believe so important to this partnership, is the active involvement of the business community, which includes all shapes, sizes and industries.
Waiting for graduates to emerge from high schools, technical colleges, universities and all higher education institutions, only to discover a lack of graduates to fit into their particular workforce is probably too late for businesses sitting on the sidelines until graduation day!
Businesses must become familiar with all schools, at all levels, for an awareness that must lead to a healthy dialogue with educators. It should involve solutions to prepare the students for the career that will raise them and the region to new heights of success.
When is the last time a typical college instructor or professor stepped on the floor of a workplace or in a high school, other than a visit with a child or grandchild?
When is last time was a parent and/or student visited businesses or main street, or a commercial park in the region to understand what is done and what it takes to do it? Opportunities abound if qualifications can open the door.
When is the last time a business person visited schools at all levels to become aware of what is happening, what goals are being set and what curriculum is being developed?
When was the last time a business human resources person checked the availability and schedule of education courses and reacted to the various institutions so their employees could be better served?
Jobs need education, but successful education to build jobs relies on partnerships.
What have you or your workplace done lately?
Former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow, Elm Grove, is the founder and president of the Waukesha County Action Network. She can be reached at (262) 510-8112. Additional information is available at www.thewcan.com.