ACTE Techniques February 2012 : Page 6

L EADING E DGE Establishing Partnerships BUSINESS AND INDUStRY RELAtIONSHIpS EStABLISHED IN tHE tOUGH ECONOMIC Techniques M A N AG IN G E D IT O R N. Susan Emeagwali / times will sustain us now and help us grow when the economy improves. How do you and your school assess the current relationship with your business community? Is it strong and vibrant, adversarial in nature, or just nonexistent? Let’s pose some questions about your relationship with business and industry in your school district or your state: • Do you know the 10 largest employers in your area? • Do you know how many graduates of your school James W. Comer work for those 10 employers? • When one of these companies decides to expand, is your school one of their first contacts? Or better still, do they call your school when they are discussing expansion to see if you train workers with the skill sets they will need? • Does the HR director or the CEO know your school superintendent or president by first name? • When there is a downturn, do you call and offer businesses support in retraining their employees or upgrading their skills? Company CEOs and other members of management still go by the old axiom, “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care!” Several years ago, due to major blizzards and ice storms in my state, power was out for an extended number of days. Schools were completely shut down for days, even weeks. One of our smaller schools was completely without power. I had located a local company that maintained huge diesel-powered generators mounted on semi trucks, capable of powering an entire school for extended times. The company was ready to send out one of these specialized units, along with technical support. All at no cost to the school. Before the process could begin, the state announced it would provide funds to rent equipment to power schools. The idea of allowing private businesses to help was quickly dropped in favor of seeking state funds to rent equipment. So, instead of building a relationship with a major employer, the school took the state funds. The business community will step up and help in many ways—if we know how to cultivate these relationships and develop new and innovative ways to engage them. Sometimes they will obviously ask, “What’s in it for me?” The answer should be: “Better prepared and educated employees, now and in the future!” Sometimes the question will not even be asked. Businesses often offer support just to be good corporate citizens. Businesses will probably never supplant the necessary support from local, state and federal sources. But they can “soften the blow” as well as allow the growth of new and innovative programs and services for the future workforce. A C T E S TA F F C ONT R I B U T O RS Jamie Baxter / Catherine Imperatore / Ashley Parker / DE S I G NE R Kelly Jenkins / A DV E R T I S I N G AC C O U N T S A L E S R E P Tom Minich / Mel Katz / AD V E R T I S I NG C O O R D I N AT O R Jim Waterhouse, Techniques Magazine 1410 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Phone: 800-826-9972 ext. 332 Fax: 703-683-7424 E-Mail: P U B L IS H ER Association for Career and Technical Education Janet B. Bray, Executive Director H O W T O C O N TA C T A C T E Call 800-826-9972 M E M B ER S H I P S ER V I C E S Techniques magazine is just one of the benefits of joining ACTE. Call 800-826-9972 or visit to learn more. T E C HN IQ U E S E D I T O R I A L Contact Susan Emeagwali by phone at 703-683-9339 or by E-mail at To submit letters to the editor or to send article queries or manuscripts, E-mail to, or mail to Editor, Techniques , 1410 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Information on writing for Techniques is available at . REPRINTS, COPY PERMISSION, BACK ISSUES ACTE members seeking permission to copy limited quantities of articles from Techniques , please contact or fax your request to Andrea Wilson at 800-826-9972,, or fax 703-683-7424. For non-members and large quantity copy permission requests, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center, 978-750-8400. For bulk reprints, please contact IPA Publishing Services at 800-259-0470. For back issues, please contact ACTE member services at 800-826-9972. Members may access the contents of all issues of Techniques from September 2002 forward, on the ACTE Web site, . Online access is subject to prevailing copyright protections and prior written permission from ACTE is required for all reprints and copies. Members can request an additional copy of Techniques for missing, lost or damaged copies, but fulfillment of this request cannot be guaranteed after 90 days from issue date. Copyright 2012 by the Association for Career and Technical Education Inc. The views expressed by Techniques do not necessarily represent an official position of ACTE. Acceptance of ads for publication in the magazine does not imply endorsement of advertised products by the association. James W. Comer President 6 Techniques Februar y 2012

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