Among the wide range of topics President Obama touched on in his State of the Union address, U.S. education and workforce issues garnered roughly a quarter his time, clearly showing the importance of these issues to the future of our nation.
Business Roundtable agrees with the President about the importance of high quality and cost effective education and workforce training programs. Partnerships among high schools, community colleges and companies can help more Americans develop the skills needed to fill the jobs a growing economy will create.
The President singled out the efforts of two Business Roundtable members in particular, Siemens and IBM.
When Siemens needed to fill specific jobs in Charlotte, NC, it partnered with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) to create an apprenticeship program that allows students from area high schools to work at Siemens while they take courses in Mechatronics at CPCC. Siemens pays the tuition, and students earn a paycheck while getting intensive training and hands-on experience for actual jobs. Siemens and CPCC have also worked together on projects to train its workforce in the areas of pre-employment, new employee orientation and specialized classes.
IBM and the City University of New York teamed up and opened The Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York City in September 2011. The six-year program blends high school and college to produce graduates with an associate degree in applied science, workplace experience and an opportunity at a job at IBM or an industry partner. It has now expanded to five early college STEM schools in a partnership between Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago and five technology companies – Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions and Verizon Wireless.
These programs illustrate the initiatives our members have in place across the country to improve U.S. education and training.
In the coming months, BRT will be exploring programs that can help proven programs have a greater impact on ensuring all American students and workers are prepared to work and ready to succeed, and we look forward to working with policymakers and all stakeholders on these critically important issues for our nation.
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