The Pal-Item recently reported that of the 12 available Wayne County school board seat openings, only 1 person has added their name to the list of candidates. We know that between now and the August 24 deadline more people will step up, but who?
As we have seen Wayne County grow and attract businesses, we have seen the decline in the number of workforce candidates. In order to affect change, we must continue to partner with K-12 institutions to retain graduates in Wayne County and ensure they are poised for success in college or are ready to meet the workforce requirements upon graduation from high school. The best way to accomplish this is to be present at the table when decisions are made and to ensure the business perspective is available and heard.
Often, we rely on parents and retired educators to fill school board seats. While their insights are also valid and necessary, we need boards that are diversified, which includes the need for business leaders.
There are at least three specific areas that will benefit through industry leader participation:
- Impact the emphasis on students attending a local college/university/trade school upon high school completion. Numbers from Indiana University East alone suggest 80 percent of their graduates remain in the region after receiving their degree. Obviously, the more we can retain students who were raised in Wayne County, the more likely it is that they will remain in Wayne County when they are ready to enter the workforce.
- Communicate the current needs of employers – trending necessary skills and lacking soft skills. This should impact the language used in education as well as what programs to add/subtract, particularly on the career tech side.
- Use the business network to facilitate partnerships with K-12, whether for class tours, classroom visits, mentoring or leading supply drives for local classrooms. The more students, teachers and administrators can develop relationships in the community, the better the outcome for us all.
If you have ever considered running for a school board seat – now is your opportunity.
If you have never considered running for a school board seat – now is your opportunity.
Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce