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Education and Business working together to build the future

Last week, more than 40 educators from 7 different school districts took part in the Southeast Missouri Show Me Careers program hosted locally by the Missouri Chamber of Business & Industry, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, SE MO REDi, and the Cape Chamber. Visiting more than 20 different regional employers and businesses, participants learned more about the regional employers, but businesses also could learn more about the role they play in developing our workforce.

The weeklong Show Me Careers experience is focused on connecting area educators more closely with the regional workforce opportunities and helping to share information that can be used to better prepare our future workforce. The educators gained valuable information and connections, but the businesses also had an opportunity to learn how they can help improve outcomes and workforce development in a few ways.

First, accountability runs both ways; businesses mentioned time and again the need for students to be prepared for timeliness and commitment to the job. The businesses learned that it’s critical that they hold their employees accountable and make sure expectations are clearly communicated and employees are held responsible. When businesses give in because of concerns over employment that lower the expectations.

Second communication is key; businesses need employees with strong communication skills and the ability to interact with colleagues, clients, and business partners for success. Businesses also learned its important to communicate opportunity to the new generation of students moving into the workforce to help them stay focused and engaged. In the end more communication is better both ways.

Finally, we are in this together; schools, businesses, families, and individuals have to continue to work together to develop the next generation of our workforce and keep business moving. Teachers are doing a great job, but it can’t all be on them.