Thursday, January 20, 2011

Partnering with schools: one of the best investments in your country

Sometimes an Economic Recovery Advisory Board has got interesting things to say. In October, they talked about what President Obama called “one of our most important economic issues of our time: the skills and education of our workforce, because every business leader in this room knows that the single most important predictor of America’s success in the 21st century is how well our workers can compete with workers all around the world.”

“All of our education institutions — from our pre-schools to our universities — have a critical role to play here,” the President said, but especially vocational and technical colleges “serve as a pool of talent from which businesses can draw trained, skilled workers. Unfortunately, they receive far less funding than four-year colleges and universities. Not only is that not right — I think it’s not smart, not at a time when so many other nations are trying to out-educate us today so they can out-compete us tomorrow.

We need to be doing more, not less, to equip our workers with the skills and training they need in the 21st century. It’s an economic imperative.”

We need to make “an unprecedented investment in our community colleges — upgrading them, modernizing them, and challenging these schools to pursue innovative, research-oriented approaches to educating.”

A key strategy according to the Board is developing new ways for businesses and educational institutions to connect, work together and share knowledge about what practices work best. Specialists identified public-private partnerships as one of the most effective ways that we can improve the skills and credentials of workers and students.

Some of the best quotes from the 21-page meeting minutes:

•Every state should have at least one strong partnership between a growing industry and a community college.
•Schools and employers should create programs that match curricula in the classroom with the needs of the boardrooms.
•Always maintain commitment to education, i.e. never cut back on education investments that are directly related to our long-term economic performance. “Now is not the time to sacrifice our competitive edge in the global economy. This country will be stronger if all of our children get a world-class education.”
•Companies must invest their skills, their expertise, their people and dollars to support and create a more high-impact partnership with schools.
•We believe putting the resources into a real public-private partnership for training and development of workers is one of the best investments that we can make in our country.
•Community colleges are usually incredibly flexible to work with companies on designing a two-year curriculum to meet the needs of a high-tech employer who says: ‘I’ve got a thousand folks that I’m willing to hire if they get the right training.’
•Caterpillar dealers have built partnerships with about 12 colleges that have a great curriculum to develop skilled service mechanics to do field service work. And these skills are transferable to other industries. “Now we have four new plants being built in the United States and every one of those cities has community colleges partnering with us on the training that we need for the people coming into those facilities. So I couldn’t be more positive about this program”.
•We need to rebalance our economy in order to succeed globally, because if the United States is going to be a high-wage, high-performance, wealthy economy, the first thing we need to do is invest much more in education and lifelong learning.


  1. Rich
    I think this a a great effort. I'm out of the "employment" arena for now. My new life is as a supplier to the many listed companies. If the precision Machine program runs it coarse than this will be a GREAT LOSS for our community. Another blow to the Mahoning/Trumbull county area. We have politicians who should be helping in keeping this "ASSET" going!!!!!
    I'll try to help in any way I can.
    Bill White,Sale
    The Huston Group

  2. Hi Rich,

    It is great to hear from you. Thanks for sending Mike and I the article and the link. I will send this out to the other Precision Machining instructors. Keep up the great work!

    Best Regards,


    Eric J. Troy, MA

    Assistant Director

    Ohio Department of Education

    Ph: (614) 466-7711

  3. In response to Richard, you would think with all of the reality TV shows like Orange County Choppers and the like that the youth would be interested in making things. My opinion to your problem would be to get your local industry involved in work fairs and local industrial expos.

    Posted by Tim Isbell

  4. Hi Rich,
    There's a lot of us working on the challenge of getting more people to understand the value of manufacturing and, in the words of another collegue in a local college ,"to have a life and earn a degree' but it may be that the MCCTC program requires a direct outreach to the potential student population .

    Is the question how to get directly to the students in the area MCCTC would draw from? Your idea on the businesses visiting the schools is great. Perhaps the local businesses could also address the Chamber of Commerce. The school might consider joining the Chamber in order to get access to the business owners who could promote the value of the program to their local schools.

    Getting the direct attention of the students is likely more complicated as I don't know if MCCTC could get any direct contact with the feeder schools.

    Has MCCTC thought about linking to the Facebook pages of the local schools ? Presuming the students keep track on the school status, this could be a way to get links for the MCCTC programs or YouTube flims promoting machining careers directly to the students.

    I think your comment about 'I have jobs, I need students' and the point that a student can emerge from your program with work ready skills that will let a student earn a living while earning a degree could be the beginning of a great article in the local paper or TV station.

    Best regards,
    Jo Ann