In my role as the HR Director for a school system, I now have the chance to see firsthand the efforts needed to link education with the skills needed by employers after a student’s graduation. Given the growing reliance on standardized testing as a measure of success in education, I believe we are in danger of losing an essential element of competitiveness; the ability to think critically and connect disparate elements into new and innovative ideas. Companies outside of education must begin speaking out about their needs and what they are getting from the schools.
There are corporate partnerships aligned with educational institutions that create value and link the knowledge that can be taught in schools with the skills needed by employers. Creating relevance is key to many students (one of the R’s touted by our superintendent) and having someone to show these real world applications to students can make a difference in both the classroom and the workplace.
Whether we like it or, boosting education attainment is a workforce issue and it is essential the companies step up to declare what they need, how they can help get it, and partner with as many entities as needed to get what they need out of the educational system.