Rushville Republican

August 30, 2013

Partnership will benefit local kids

Rushville Republican

---- — An important first step was taken Aug. 21 when board members from the Chamber of Commerce, the ECDC, the Rushville Common Council and Rush County officials met with members of the local Rush County Schools Board of Trustees to begin the process of building a partnership between the private sector and public education.

“The basic idea,” said Chamber executive director Sandy Fussner, “is to look for new ways for all our organizations and local units of government to partner with our schools to help young people get a better idea of what the world of work is really like.”

According to ECDC president John McCane, “Today’s reception is just the first step, but it’s an important first step in terms of all the stakeholders becoming better acquainted so moving forward can be done cooperatively.”

Jason Clemmons, speaking on behalf of RushShelby Energy, said he felt that most employers in the county will be happy to participate in a program that will help local young people acquire the skills necessary to become employable locally.

“I think it’s imperative that we provide high school students with an accurate picture of what employers expect in the way of education, training, and the soft skills necessary for the jobs that are available locally,” he said.

Clemmons is also a member of the Chamber board of directors.

Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey said, “This is an exciting initiative that can only have beneficial results for the community and the county. This county needs to grow, and one of the obvious ways we can do that is by showing our young people who would like to come back here to live and raise their families what skill sets they will need to qualify for the better paying jobs we have to offer.”

The first step in the process, according to Fussner and McCane, will be the creation of a task force composed of a representative from the Chamber, the ECDC, the city, the county and the school corporation to develop a list of proposals to, in effect, build an on-going partnership between the private sector and the school corporation.

Dr. John Williams, superintendent of schools, said he welcomes the idea of a private sector-public education partnership.

“I can already see several ways that we can build a closer relationship with local businesses and I look forward to the recommendations from the task force,” he said.

Williams also pointed to several ways local schools promote greater awareness of the job skills employers require.

“But we can always do more and with the help of the organizations represented here, I’m confident we can engage private sector employers to help broaden the education of our young people. I welcome this initiative,” he said.

In conclusion, Mayor Pavey said, “Not only is this an exciting new project, but it reflects what I also see as an increasing awareness that we all have to work together cooperatively if we want Rush County to grow and prosper.”

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