Why Businesses Should Partner with Schools

by Sheri Heiney, President & CEO, Prescott Chamber of Commerce

Imagine if every business partnered with its local schools in some way. This would ideally address many of our educational needs, right? The answer is yes!

In today’s educational landscape, there is an ever-increasing need for every business to partner with local schools. Matters such as society’s ills, state budget deficits and lack of relevance to the real world create endless opportunities for businesses to support local schools’ efforts to educate the future workforce and citizens.

Other than the reasoning of “businesses just should,” there are other important reasons why businesses should partner with schools.

All students should graduate from high school ready for college, careers and life, prepared to pursue the future of their choice.

Students tend to be highly receptive to receiving career education from individuals working in fields they’re interested in. This can be done through businesses’ participation in school career days, field trips to business sites and shadowing and serving on school advisory boards. College and career education that includes hands-on exposure is highly beneficial to students.

Ideally, businesses should provide hands-on workforce experience to local students. When students are given the opportunity to work in the fields of their choice, they are better prepared for their post-secondary experience. Businesses can help with this by providing internships for students and hiring them to work in their establishments as assistants and apprentices.

When students achieve their goals in education, everyone benefits. Business involvement helps to show relevance to students. Students are more motivated to get an education and more aware of how it correlates to success. There is evidence that links business involvement with lower dropout rates. And when students see the relevance for pursuing a career in a specific industry, they are motivated not only to stay in school but to do their best work. This helps create growth within the community over the long term.

Businesses should be vested in education because of their need for a strong pool of local workers to choose from and consumers who can afford their products. There is a wealth of opportunities available for businesses to partner with their local schools. Partnerships between schools and businesses create a win-win situation for schools, businesses and most importantly students.

For more information about the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.prescott.org or call us at 928-445-2000 or 800-266-7534, or stop by the Visitor Information Center at 117 W. Goodwin St., Prescott, AZ 86303