Educators and employers alike attending our Future Ready Partnerships Conference earlier this month found plenty of leads to follow up.
Expressing a sentiment heard widely during the daylong event, Deer Lakes School District’s Assistant Superintendent Bobbi-Ann Barnes said, “I have a lot of emails to send out and phone calls to make—I’m excited.” She noted particular interest in finding out whether her district’s students might be able to tap into internship opportunities she’d learned about.
Part of the impetus for the Conference was to spur those kinds of connections. Additionally, the event was designed to showcase replicable models for school-business partnerships and give students and adults opportunities to share wide-ranging ideas about helping young people become future ready.
Breakout sessions presented replicable models for partnerships ranging from apprenticeship training programs that the German American Chamber of Commerce is creating with local companies, to a Small-Group Career Mentoring program the Consortium piloted with BNY Mellon.
“We structured the Conference to reignite the great collaborations that schools and businesses had begun before the pandemic,” said the Consortium’s Executive Director Mary Kay Babyak. “With COVID-19 restrictions easing, we need to bring employers and schools back together to create more of the kinds of partnerships that enable students to explore careers and plan their post-secondary paths.”
The event drew more than 100 representatives from 29 school districts and 27 employers.
Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) President Quintin Bullock, DDS, and Partner4Work’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Cherry, both set the stage, discussing partnerships their own organizations have established with businesses to create employment pipelines to industries as disparate as banking and health care.
“We want to work with guidance counselors and educators to form a strong career pathway roadmap,” beginning as early as middle school, Cherry said, inviting schools to reach out so that Partner4Work can help connect them and their students to emerging opportunities.
In our next edition, we’ll feature insights that employers and educators at the Conference shared for preparing students for the workforce and supporting new hires.