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When your program gets to high school: partnering with local businesses

February 23, 2013

From those great folks at the Asia Society

How Schools Can Successfully Partner with Local Businesses


Businesses have a vested interest in their communities. They need a strong pool of local workers to choose from and consumers who can afford their products. Many businesses want to give to the community and invest in it, but sometimes they aren’t sure where to start. Schools can also benefit from these partnerships, providing students with opportunities for success in the workforce.

Charlie Katz, Director of Corporate Engagement at the National Academy Foundation (NAF), a network of 500 academies serving over 60,000 students across the United States, says that business partnerships can address the new Three R’s: rigor, relevance, and relationships.

A lack of relevance is a key reason why so many students today drop out of school, especially in urban areas where many of the NAF academies are located. However, by building strong partnerships with over 2,500 businesses across the country, NAF has seen their graduation rate soar to 97%.

Katz recommends engaging business partners for many roles: guest speakers, job shadowing, student conferences, mentorships, and internships. These types of activities can make learning more relevant by providing real-world examples.

For instance, Katz once sat in on a high school accounting class with a teacher who was good, but very dry. When he was invited to speak, he illustrated the same lesson with his real-life example of calculating inventory for Ford Mustangs. The class perked up when they realized the relevance of the lesson to a good, interesting job.

Please read more here.

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