ACTE Techniques February 2012 : Page 28

FUNDING AND CTE Advisory BoArds: Gateway to Business Engagement BY HANS MEEDER AND BRETT PAWLOWSKI I n every conference we’ve attended this year, we’ve seen sessions about how to build or manage an effective business advisory board. Interest has been growing quickly in these types of models for two reasons: First, because career and technical educa-tion (CTE) programs can only succeed by staying relevant to the needs of local businesses; and second, because advi -sory boards are one of the most effective vehicles for generating support of all kinds from the community. Workshops on this subject often ad -dress an important set of issues, which we will cover in this article: • Do we need to create a business advisory board for our program? • How should we go about building and managing a board? • If we already have a board, how do we focus and energize the board? Do We Need to Create a board? On a recent site visit in Illinois that Hans Meeder conducted, he heard from the teacher/manager of a well-regarded CTE program. This particular engineering pro-gram uses a national curriculum; as part of the program certification visit three years beforehand, the program leader was reminded of the need (a requirement) to create a business advisory board. The program leader explained that when he created the advisory board, it unleashed a torrent of business interest and involve -ment. The business members became very excited about the program, and as they surveyed the real needs of local businesses, they realized the existing engineering program wasn’t expansive enough. They determined that an advanced manufacturing/precision machining program was also needed to comple-ment the current engineering program. With the advisory board’s guidance and “The program leader explained that creating a business advisory board had nothing less than ‘a transformational effect’ on his program.” advocacy, the school district agreed to create the ancillary CTE program and hire an additional teacher to support it, thus broadening the overall scope of the program. With business donations and district funding, several hundred thou -sand dollars worth of high-tech equip -ment was procured, and the program now boasts a state-of-the-art lab. The program leader explained that creating a business www.acteonline.org 28 Techniques Februar y 2012

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