Tameeka Daniels ; Founder and CEO at PartnerUp Educational Solutions, LLC
Imagine if every business partnered with its local schools in some way… This would ideally address many of our educational needs, right? The answer is Yes! In today’s educational landscape, there is an ever-increasing need for every business to partner with local schools. Matters such as society ills, federal and state budget deficits and lack of school – real world relevance, create endless opportunities for businesses to support local schools’ efforts to educate the future workforce and citizens. Other than the reasoning of “businesses just should”, there are other important reasons why businesses should partner with schools.
1. Improved Community Image and Presence
One of the growing corporate buzzwords of today is Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR. CSR is a company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social). Harvard Business School research found that companies with more corporate social responsibility practices, outperform their counterparts over the long-term both in terms of stock market and accounting performance. CSR is also an effective way to increase a company’s competitive advantage.
When companies decide to use their CSR platforms to partner with schools, an increased presence of their company is created among students, parents, school staff and the community. This presence creates a lasting positive image that in turn increases a company’s profits and competitive advantage. For example, ACME technology partners with Woodrow Hills Middle School. Woodrow Hills forms a great relationship with ACME Technology. As this partner relationship develops, Woodrow Hills acknowledges ACME Technology for its contributions at school programs, on it’s website, on print correspondence to parents and recognizes ACME at partnership activities. Overtime, stakeholders begin to view ACME in a positive regard. The admiration created from this partner relationship results in parents, staff and the local community being likely to consider ACME Technology for its tech needs resulting in a win-win for the company.
A CSR platform in education is likely to not only support local schools, but also lead to a greater return of investment and a sense of pride.
2. Create a More Prepared Workforce
All students should graduate from high school ready for college, careers and life, prepared to pursue the future of their choice. According to the Achieve Initiative, by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs and 92 percent of traditional STEM jobs will require post-secondary education and training. The evolution of workforce preparedness has created the need for K-12 schools to design rigorous curriculum that prepare students to enter the post-secondary options of their choice. This initiative has created a dire need for the expertise of businesses to educate students in a way that is real-world, relevant and meaningful.
Surprising to many, college and career education does not start at the high school level. In fact, it starts at the Pre-K level in many places. Businesses are needed to educate students about various careers available to them after graduation. Students tend to be highly receptive to receiving career education from individuals working in their fields. This can be done through businesses’ participation in school career days, field trips to business sites, shadowing and serving on school advisory boards.
College and Career education that includes hands-on exposure is highly beneficial to students. Ideally, businesses should provide hands-on workforce experience to local students. When students are afforded the opportunity to work in the fields of their choice, they are better prepared for their post-secondary experience. Businesses can assist with this by providing internships for students and hire students to work in their establishments as assistants and apprentices.
College and Career education requires educators to be well-trained and educated of various industries and their requirements. To prepare students for the post high school world, educators must be proficient on the skills, education levels and training required by local companies for graduates. Businesses are needed to provide this training to ensure that students are receiving current and relevant information regarding their industry. In addition, businesses can also assist in creating curriculum for career programs. The wealth of knowledge that is provided from industry players to educators is an invaluable way to ensure that students are graduating from high school prepared for their next steps in life.
3. Community Growth
When students achieve their goals in education, everyone benefits. Business involvement helps to show relevance to students. The students are more motivated to get an education and more aware of how it correlates to success. There is evidence that links business involvement with fewer dropout rates. And when students see the relevance for pursuing a career in a specific industry, they are motivated not only to stay in school but to do their best. This helps create positive growth within the community over the long-term.
Businesses should be vested in education because of their need for a strong pool of local workers to choose from and consumers who can afford their products. There is a wealth of opportunities available for businesses to partner with their local schools. School and Business partnerships create a win-win situation for schools, businesses and more importantly students.
Tameeka Daniels is the Founder and CEO of PartnerUp Educational Solutions, LLC, an educational company designed to empower schools to build strategic school-community partnerships programs by maximizing the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of partnerships. Our vision is a world where the entire community will partner with schools to increase student growth and academic achievement.