(ROCKWALL, TX – June 23, 2016) Education is a great investment for our cities, our state and our nation – an investment that produces benefits for taxpayers, for businesses and, most importantly, for our kids. Innovative efforts are being led by businesses and schools in Rockwall to help students get ready for the workforce, and there are ways for everyone to contribute to this progress.
With graduation season upon us, high school and college students are quickly looking at continuing their education or examining their real-world options for entering the workforce. While graduates contemplate the world of work with hope and optimism, they probably also have traces of trepidation, as do employers.
Across the state of Texas, companies looking to expand have revealed that their #1 concern is the difficulty of hiring workers with the right skill set. The “right” skill set in this rapidly changing economic environment includes the capacity to understand advanced technology, and this understanding is not exclusive to those having four-year college degrees.
Students who are unable to attend college for financial reasons, or who are not interested in a four-year college education, need to know that they have options. Good options. There is no need to resort to minimum-wage jobs with little room for advancement when there are hundreds of high-paying jobs in the skilled trades. Career and technical education gives students access to these trades.
Rockwall ISD’s contribution to getting kids ready for the jobs that are actually out there is the forthcoming College & Career Academy. The Academy will offer pathways designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore career options and professional certifications in science, technology, engineering and math. Available career pathways will include architecture, audio & video production, computer maintenance & repair, engineering and many others.
Skilled manufacturing jobs are plentiful and require career and technical education, along with a strong aptitude for math and technology. Students need to know that these jobs are available in their own backyard – in their hometown – and today’s modern manufacturing is not your grandfather’s industry. Today’s manufacturing is clean, computer-based and technical, requiring brains more than brawn. Developing the manufacturing workforce of the future depends on reaching high school students while they are still formulating plans for their careers – while they are still in high school. Working as interns is an effective, proactive way to motivate students to consider these careers.
The Rockwall Economic Development Corporation supports local businesses providing internships for students to see the many options available in fields that they might not even know exist. With nearly 1,000 Rockwall students having just graduated, it is imperative for local companies and schools to bridge the gap in educating students about non-college career options that will allow them to be gainfully employed right out of high school.
The REDC looks forward to sharing more insight with you in future issues. Please visit our website rockwalledc.com for more information.
By Sheri Franza, Rockwall EDC President & CEO.
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