When California businesses partner with schools, they can create mutually beneficial programs that give each party an advantage. Businesses that work to support schools with their time and money are thought of as good corporate citizens. Schools benefit in many ways, from financial assistance to increased community partnerships.
When businesses support schools by offering job shadowing and internship opportunities, this contributes to a better-educated workforce. Students receive hands-on experience in the working world that helps them prepare for a career and gives them the skills needed to meet new challenges.
Businesses receive a benefit from this arrangement as well. They have helped to create a better-educated and more equipped workforce for their companies in the future.
There are many creative ways in which local businesses can partner with educational institutions. These partnerships stand to bring young people and the business community distinct advantages. Here are 11 ideas to help California businesses get involved in local schools.
1. Assisting with Curriculum Development
Business owners are uniquely positioned to offer feedback on whether the education system is meeting the needs of local companies. Many school systems have public-private partnerships where businesses consult with educators to assist in curriculum development. When the business community sees that its workers are underperforming in certain categories like math skills, the school is able to step in and bolster those skills at the student level. This will eventually result in a better-prepared workforce.
2. Providing Technology Training
Businesses can also provide technology training to teachers. This helps to keep teachers’ skills current, enabling them to help their students with today’s issues. It is important to keep teachers on the cutting edge of technology.
3. Start a Scholarship
Endowing a scholarship fund is an excellent way to sponsor local education. When local business leaders like Nancy Etz start scholarships, they will help to increase access to education. The Nancy Etz Scholarship is a good example of how business leaders can make a personal impact on education.
Local and national businesses can donate computer equipment to schools, helping to make sure that their facilities have the best possible tools to do their jobs. Businesses can either buy new equipment for donation or refurbish their old computer equipment. This is especially appreciated in communities with financial disadvantages.
Schools often need help with fundraising initiatives. Business expertise can help school administrators design fundraising programs and implement them throughout the school system. Businesses can set up special events and dinners to help to raise money, and they can make financial donations of their own to supplement the cause.
6. Literacy Programs
Many schools have implemented literacy initiatives, especially in areas where English may be a second language. Members of the business community are sometimes encouraged to visit local schools and read to children, or to have the children read to them.
Community literacy is one of the most important factors for a well-educated workforce, so it makes sense for businesses to involve themselves in this way.
7. Offering Expertise
Business leaders may be able to give guest lectures on topics related to their companies. Students may sometimes balk at learning about certain topics because they are skeptical about whether it will be useful later in life, but business partnerships can help to underscore the importance of building skills.
A few examples of areas where businesses can provide help are by explaining new technologies and exploring real-life math problems, such as those learned in banking and retail businesses. When California business leaders work closely with students in this way, they are not only encouraging workforce development but helping these students succeed.
8. Offering Internships and Job Shadowing Opportunities
Summer internships are one of the best ways for business leaders to get involved in schools. Discovering talented students who would be an asset in the workplace can be challenging, but teachers and administrators can help with the application process. Job shadowing is less formal and easier to set up than an internship program, and companies should consider both options.
9. Volunteering in the Schools
A great way to encourage employees to volunteer is to provide paid release time to work with community organizations. Many successful companies like Timberland and Salesforce offer paid time for employees who want to volunteer in schools or with other deserving organizations.
If a business leader is too busy to work with local schools in person, monetary donations are often welcomed. Businesses can donate directly to the schools or to PTO or PTA groups. Giving grants to schools encourages them to provide up-to-date instruction and strengthens the workforce for the future.
11. Sponsoring Field Trips
Many schools have had to cut back on field trips due to escalating costs and lower school budgets. Companies may want to sponsor field trips to local attractions like museums or science centers.
Bolstering Public Opinion
When businesses have positive interactions with community schools, they receive attention from the media and from members of the public. These interactions frequently raise a business’s profile. Being a good corporate citizen not only benefits the schools but the business as well.
When schools and businesses work together, both parties can be helped by the arrangement. While there are 11 ways that local businesses can help schools in this article, the possibilities are limitless.
Author Nancy Etz founded this scholarship to recognize outstanding students and provide them with the resources needed to advance in their disciplines and eventually pursue their dream careers. The scholarship is open to all full-time undergraduate or graduate schools in the U.S.
This article was edited and published by Rick Weinberg, California Business Journal’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief. Click here for Rick Weinberg’s biography.