The Center of Workforce Innovations (CWI), College Acceleration Network (CAN), and READY NWI is hosting a College and Career Acceleration Summer Institute the week of June 23, 2014 at Hobart High School. Monday’s opening event was attended by regional middle school and high school counselors and school administrators and served as a kick off program for the week long STEM workshops for science and math teachers and organized through CAN. The program featured guest keynote speaker, Dr. David Conley, professor of educational policy and leadership and founder and director of the Center for Educational Policy Research (CEPR) at the University of Oregon.
Following the keynote address, a facilitated business panel allowed attendees to hear first-hand, from three Northwest Indiana employers, on hard to fill jobs within their companies and challenges they are faced with when it comes to the future of their workforce. Panelists included Bruce Bechtel, President of Tri-State Industries, Yvette Saxer-Perez, Human Resources Director at Alcoa Howmet, and R.D. Parpart II, Team Lead with the Steel Worker for the Future program at ArcelorMittal.
Math and science skills, working as a team, showing up to work on time, and being able to effectively communicate, were among the most important of their expectations from their employees and job candidates. In addition, having passion for the job or the industry was also considered important.
When asked by facilitator Roy Vanderford, READY NWI Manager from CWI, what message they’d like to send to the school administrators in the audience, they all spoke in one voice as they encouraged the administrators not to push only 4 year college degrees with students. Encouraging them to consider the fact that not all kids are cut out for a 4-year college and that it’s important to let kids know that there are high demand and high wage jobs in our Northwest Indiana region to those who have some sort of trade certification or associates degree. “And don’t make them (the students) feel bad about not wanting to pursue a 4-year degree,” said Parpart. All panelists agreed that in order to get more interest in a certification or associate degree program, there needs to be shift in the mindset of parents and counselors alike, that not all kids are cut out for a 4-year college and that there clearly are options for everyone, where decent wages and a good quality of life are attainable.
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For further information contact Barb Grimsgard, Communications Manager-Center of Workforce Innovations at firstname.lastname@example.org.