Trade Council works with schools to teach students job skills

February 26, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

At the same time the Clinton administration is turning to private business to help strengthen education nationally, a county business group is forging its own links with local educators.

The Anne Arundel Trade Council has begun forming partnerships with the county school system to start several programs that, like the Clinton proposals, would strive to form long-term relationships between businesses and schools.

Officials discussed plans yesterday during an education committee meeting.

This week, the Clinton administration announced tentative proposals to add a 13th year of school and set national graduation standards -- plans that would rely on businesses to offer high school internships and help set standards.

The council's program is designed to teach students to compete in an increasingly tough job market, said Meg Anderson, who heads the education committee. Successful partnerships would give students and teachers invaluable resources and help businesses as well, she said.

"It's important that these students have employable skills when they graduate," Ms. Anderson said. "We always need quality workers, especially at the entry level, students who know to come to work on time and know it's expected that they work hard."

The trade council will launch the first of the programs April 22, with Shadowing Day. Seniors from Glen Burnie, Meade, Annapolis and Northeast High schools will be matched with county business people to pursue interests that range from criminal justice to graphic design and from hospital management to business administration.

For a morning, students will shadow their mentors and, when possible, perform some of the job duties.

"Not only will they get job experience, but they'll be able to get one-on-one experience with an adult who has a vested interest in that person's future," said Cecelia Fenwick, educational projects manager for Maryland's Tomorrow, a state dropout prevention program.

Students also can see whether they would enjoy a particular field, added Ms. Fenwick, who has selected the 50 students her program works with at the high schools.

The chamber also is planning a summer job partnership for this year, in which businesses would hire teachers as temporary workers during the summer.

"The business community feels there are highly qualified summer employees in the form of teachers," Ms. Anderson explained.

She described a third program, a speakers bureau, as the first of its kind.

The program will match professors from Anne Arundel Community College with business people from the same field to visit secondary school classrooms to talk about jobs in their fields and the required training and education.

County business-education partnerships have been limited in the past, Ms. Anderson said. But Superintendent C. Berry Carter II has paved the way for the trade council programs.

"Since he has come in as superintendent, these partnerships have been welcomed by the public school system," she said.

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