The Business Educator's Relationship with Schools & Communities

Instructor: Sherri Nash

Sherri’s teaching includes middle school through college. Degrees include bachelor’s marketing education, master’s adult education and doctorate in curriculum instruction.

The Business Educator's role in maintaining relationships with business and industry and community involvement creates win-win opportunities. Discover strategies for working with business and industry, student recruitment and community involvement.

Value of Business, School and Community Partnerships

Business Educators should establish voluntary partnerships with business, industry and community members through active advisory committees. Business and community interactions can have an impact on student recruitment for your program. Positive perception of your program in the community adds value for students to enroll in your classes. Employers benefit by having a quality, trained workforce available for hiring. Students can have greater academic and graduation success by participating in community involvement activities. The local community benefits by having committed citizens devoted to supporting the community needs.

Let's assume you are the Business Educator at the local Career Technical Center in your town. You need to develop a strong advisory committee and identify effective strategies to work with business and community agencies. Your goal is to recruit students into a quality career preparation program leading to future continuing education and employment success.

Advisory Committee Strategies for Partnering with Businesses

You will need to recruit members of local business, community agencies, post-secondary education, parents and alumni students to serve on your program advisory committee. These members are stakeholders in assuring the education provided in your program meets the needs of employers, community and student success. The majority of the members should represent different companies for a broader perspective of training needs across the program. Community agencies can identify student social and workforce support available. The post-secondary representative provides information on continuing education preparation. Parent and alumni student support identify specific student needs. Another business teacher or academic teacher can provide input into curriculum focuses. The size of the committee should be a manageable size to provide adequate feedback and active involvement.

Structure and communication are key to the success of this partnership. Your school should develop policies and procedures for the advisory committee structure. You decide to email, phone and make personal contacts to build relationships and ongoing communication and conduct productive group meetings at least two times per year. It is important to have a productive agenda and take detailed minutes to capture and act on the feedback provided by these experts. These members are volunteering to assist you in building a quality program and acting on their advice will build future support and involvement.

The Advisory committee members recruit business and community people to provide program advice, support and interaction with students to implement these strategies:

  • Curriculum Input - Advisory committee relationships provide feedback to assure the curriculum aligns with business/industry needs, specific credentials and labor market driven employment possibilities.
  • Career Exploration Experiences - Many students are not aware of the variety of career opportunities. Employers on advisory committees can identify career exploration experiences on job sites including job shadowing and internships, participate in Career Fairs and develop videos of the workplace and skills used on the job.
  • Guest speakers - Business personnel can teach lessons in the classroom to connect the business content to real world applications in the workplace.
  • Evaluators - Employees from various companies can serve as portfolio, performance assessments, and project evaluators in the classroom.
  • Student Organization Supporters - Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a recognized professional co-curricular student organization for business students. Advisory committee members can serve as judges for these competitive events where students demonstrate business skills and assist in fund-raising to support travel to competitions.
  • Instructional Resources - Business advisory committee members can examine the instructional resources in your classroom and lab to assure they are up-to-date with the industry, make recommendations for improvements, provide letters of support for fund requests or grants, and can assist the program in acquiring these resources.
  • Survey Feedback - The members can develop and distribute a link to multiple business and agencies for online survey feedback to identify valuable feedback for program awareness and improvement.
  • Voice - Advisory committee members can provide a valuable, supportive voice for your program to the community, legislators, parents and students.
  • Strategic Plan and Goals - All members can identify specific goals and action steps for the Business program for the school-wide strategic plan.

Impact on Student Recruitment

Word of mouth is the best promotional tool for recruiting students. Once you implemented a quality advisory committee and active strategies, you begin to discover increased interest and enrollment in your Business program in the school and community.

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