WESTMINISTER — WESTMINSTER -- Businesswoman Corinthia Y. Elkins isn't sure how she can form a partnership with Westminster High School.
But as owner of Carroll County Personnel Services, she knows she wants to become involved with education.
"Surprisingly, one of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of owning and operating my own temporary employment service has been working with college students," Elkins said. "I've gotten so much satisfaction out of it, I thought I should reach out to high school students."
Elkins represented one of about 25 county businesses, ranging from small manufacturers to accounting and marketing firms, that attended a "Business and Education Partnerships Breakfast" yesterday at Westminster High.
More than 400 firms were invited to the program to learn how
Westminster High can better serve the business community.
The program also served as an opportunity to encourage businesses to become more active in education.
Many of the firms that showed up were involved with fund-raisers, Junior Achievement and vocational-technical programs.
Margaret A. Payne, the school's marketing education coordinator, said 15 firms were unable to attend the breakfast but offered their services to the school.
Principal Sherri-Le W. Bream said the staff, in organizing a Business and Education Partnership, interviewed parents, students, teachers and administrators to determine what needs the business community could fill in the school.
She said that at a time when educators are restructuring schools, the district would be "missing something" if the business community was not made an integral part of the system.
Educators said the needs include:
* Tours of businesses.
* Part-time work and summer employment.
* Resource materials, such as films and brochures.
* Tutoring and mentoring.
"We see these as real needs," Bream said. "It's not just somethingpeople said they wanted."
In return, schools could offer businesses student performances at special meetings (the school's chamber orchestra, for example, performed at the breakfast), use of the school library and conference rooms for group meetings.
"We would like to give something back to you," Bream said.
Payne said school staff will review services businesses offered to provide and school servicesthey could use and then contact them.
Ken Sims, general manager of Sears at Cranberry Mall in the city, said he was unsure how he would become involved in the school system.
"I'm here to learn more about the program," Sims said. "Businesses are looking to better educate the kids for future workers. I've been with the company 21 years, and I've seen a lot of people -- not here, though -- who filled out applications that you couldn't even read."
Chuck Minchik, president of HealthCare Recruiters of the Mid Atlantic, said businesses have anopportunity to become involved in playing mentors to today's youth -- something that wasn't available to previous generations.
"I think the business community has an obligation to and an opportunity to provide something, even if it is from a mentor standpoint," he said.
Walter N. Dyky, Westminster's assistant principal, said the programis a "win-win situation" for both the school system and the businesscommunity.