---- — Members of the new private sector/public education task force met for the first time on Nov. 13. The overall goal of the group is to look for practical ways for business and industry to build a partnership with public education in Rush County.
To be known as the “K to Success Committee,” the group will be chaired by Dr. John Williams, Superintendent of Schools.
“I think this initial meeting was, perhaps, the most important step to be taken in the process of exploring ways for the schools and the private sectors to work together,” Dr. Williams said.
There has been broad acceptance of the notion of the private sector and public education working more closely to help insure that area students understand just what’s required to prepare themselves for success in the world of work.
“The path may be from K-12 to post-secondary education and then the private sector or it could be from K-12 to the military and then to post-secondary education and, finally, to the private sector. Another path for some will be from K-12 directly to the world of work,” Dr. Williams pointed out.
It was noted, however, that career success in the 21st century will require more training than just a K-12 education.
Committee member Paul Barada said, “Obviously, some young people don’t think more formal training is the path they want, but part of our job is to try to reduce the number of students who go straight from high school to a job to an absolute minimum, especially if we want to have a highly trained workforce that new employers increasingly require.”
While Rush County Schools offer a wide variety of career-oriented options, there is still a need to directly involve students with representatives from local business and industry in more directly interactive ways.
Mayor Mike Pavey said, “A teacher can tell students that it takes advanced training to become, let’s say, an electrical engineer or a registered nurse, but until someone from those career fields talks directly to students, the message may not be getting through with as much direct impact to really engage their attention. That’s generally the sort of thing I think this group can help facilitate.”
Plans were made to meet with senior management from Intat, Trane and Emerson at the next meeting of the K to Success Committee to explore ways to being building the partnership between the private sector and public education next month.
Members of the K to Success Committee include Chamber of Commerce representatives Sandy Fussner and Karen Meyer, ECDC representatives John McCane and Andrew Buzzard, School Board members Paul Barada and John Wilson, Mayor Mike Pavey, County Commissioner Ken Masters, Partners for Progress member Jason Clemens, and Mary Roller with IVY Tech Community College of Southeastern Indiana.