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Building Bridges: Between Business And Education

Recorded on: January 24, 2014

Air Date: January 27, 2014

In the fall of 2013, City Club embarked on a new adventure with Lane Workforce Partnership (LWP). At the Thriving Community Summit in April 2012 and at the Regional Prosperity Summit in November 2013, we heard about exciting opportunities in the local economy and the disconnect between what industries need and how educators prepare young people for the workforce, among other educational goals. Although real prosperity emerges from many major factors, those meetings suggested that linking teachers and industrialists could make one small contribution.

Adopting a model used successfully elsewhere in the US, City Club developed a program to introduce teachers to some major local companies that participate in LWP programs. Our hope was to build community vision by working with two groups: teachers and industry leaders. We "fostered creative problem solving" by "forging new cooperative relationships." The participants learned a little more about how the other half lives -- and how they might more productively work together.

The experience was structured as an academic course. The first meeting focused on the Lane County employment scene, and the last meeting was a group debriefing. Each of nine other sessions occurred at different companies. The group’s visit included a presentation on the company's work and its place in the local/national/international economy and its corporate culture, and a tour of the premises.

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