Employers, educators discuss student preparation for work

August 26, 2013

From beloitdailynews.com: “Employers, educators discuss student preparation for work” — By Hillary Gavan – Representatives from business and education joined together to discuss new ways to get students trained for the workforce at the 7th Annual Business Education Summit held Thursday at the Eclipse Center in Beloit.

Sponsored by the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, School District of Beloit and Beloit College, the day’s theme was “Workforce Development – Are You Ready?”

At the event the 2nd Annual Business/Education Partnership Award for the business sector went to Blackhawk Bank accepted by CEO Rick Bastian. The award for the education sector went to the School District of Beloit, accepted by Superintendent Steve McNeal.

Beloit City Manager Larry Arft and McNeal welcomed crowds, and McNeal said it was a blessing to have forward thinking people to move the school district ahead.

McNeal noted there is non-referendum money being put into the Beloit Memorial High School’s new Technical Education Programming Space demonstrating the district’s commitment to getting kids into jobs. The School District of Beloit and City of Beloit, he said, are undergoing joint efforts to train kids for the workforce which rival any in the state.

After the Vice President of ManpowerGroup’s Global Strategic Workforce Consulting Practice Rebekah Kowalkski gave her keynote address, Economic Development Director for the Rock County Development Alliance James Otterstein gave a presentation on Inspire Rock County, a web-based career readiness platform which connects students with businesses and mentors and other resources to investigate careers and apply for jobs.

Susan Dantuma, from Blackhawk Technical College, talked about the college’s youth apprenticeship programs and Bob Borremans, from the Southern Wisconsin Workforce Development, spoke about the Work Today Program where employers in the program pay to have workers trained for job openings at their companies.

Business/Education Partnership Committee Co-Chair Jim Agate said he was pleased with the roundtable discussions which returned this year so educators and the business community could brainstorm together. In the past he said takeaways from the discussions included ideas which were implemented such as mock interviews and the lunch and learn program.

Agate said after Thursday’s events new plans would begin forming.

“We will put all our notes together and move forward,” he said.

Business/Education Partnership Committee Co-Chair Rick Barder said all of those on the Business/Education Partnership Committee put together a program and agenda that was relevant in today’s world with many takeaways for both the businesses and the education community.

Beloit City Manager Larry Arft said the event was a unique opportunity for educators and business as well as government leaders in the community to interact and to share perspectives regarding the needs of public education.

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