Business-Education Partnerships and College and Career Readiness

The National Academy Foundation (NAF) and the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted a Webinar on January 10th, 2013, entitled College and Career Readiness for All Youth: The Role of Businesses. The event focused on business-education partnerships, specifically those aimed at preparing high school-aged youth for college and career. Moderated by Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise, the panel consisted of Jule Baradi, senior director of learning governance at Marriott International Inc.; Doris Bodnar, chief executive officer of Bodnar Group; and Charlie Katz, director of corporate engagement at National Academy Foundation (NAF).

Katz spoke on how businesses can help schools address what he calls “the new Three R’s:” rigor, relevance, and relationships. All three of these, he said, can be influenced through work-based learning activities, such as mentorships, internships, student conferences, mock interviews, job shadowing, and other business programs. These experiences provide students with 21st century employability skills and soft skills, such as collaboration, communication, and confidence in dealing with adults and authority figures. Baradi offered advice to larger businesses looking to become more involved in education and helping youth succeed. She suggested that corporations first think about the type of contribution they wish to make—something that is specific and tailored to a local community or a more extensive program. Baradi pointed out that Marriott International started off small, and gradually grew to provide its four current types of programs: career mentoring, shadowing, mock career fairs, and internships and work-study programs.

For smaller businesses, Bodnar offered advice around working with existing resources, and pooling them where appropriate. Although a smaller business may not have a large enough budget or staff to provide multiple of these programs, they may be able to employ a shadowing program, or hold mock interviews for high school students. Bodnar also recommended that small businesses recognize potential partners in the community, and recruit other local businesses as partners in providing more and better resources for their educational institutions and youth. Katz shared that regardless of a company’s size, he has found, through his work with NAF, that the common denominator in all-sized businesses, from the top of an organization on down, is the importance of passion.

The panelists also touched on the return on investment for businesses, as they gain potential future employees with skills, experience, and familiarity with the company. The full Webinar is available here. Learn more about the National Academy Foundation and Alliance for Excellent Education by visiting them on the Web.

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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