Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools to Host the 2020 Business and Industry Summit
Society is moving at an incredible pace. Will students at Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools be able to keep pace with the demands of the twenty-first century after graduation? Before answering, take a moment to consider these facts that convey the rate at which our civilization is transforming:
- The amount of data in our world at this very moment will double every two years.
- Half of what students learn during the first year of technical college will be outdated by the time they graduate.
- Sixty-five percent of grade schoolers will hold jobs in the future that don’t even exist right now.
As a school district, we recognize that today’s learners need an edge to find success in an environment such as this. We already provide students with needed foundational proficiencies, but we know that they need new learning that extends beyond what we consider basic knowledge.
Superintendent Aaron Sinclair explains why this new type of learning is important.”The more experiences our students have, the more prepared they will be to function in a world that is constantly evolving. Experiences that inspire curiosity, creativity, initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking and empathy will prepare our students to be life-ready.”
Students are able to acquire these skills with district partners and community members who challenge them in ways that broaden learning. For example, Sauk Rapids-Rice High School’s DECA members have opportunities to personally connect with the Coborn’s Inc. leadership team to ask questions about current business trends and company marketing plans. Students gain insights about how real businesses operate in up-to-the-minute and authentic spaces. Teachers and staff know learners benefit when the whole community participates in experiences that help students envision themselves in future careers.
Superintendent Sinclair wants to foster more of these kinds of partnerships. On Tuesday, February 18, Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools will host the 2020 Business and Industry Summit at the high school. Approximately 50 local businesses will meet with district staff to discuss how schools can prepare students for life and work. Educators will learn what local businesses do and how to connect with these organizations to enhance classroom lessons and projects. A panel of business leaders that includes GeoComm, BCI Construction, Park Industries, Coborn’s Inc. and Rinke Noonan Attorneys at Law will be available for conversations about how education and business intersect.
Gail Cruikshank, talent director with the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, has worked with Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools to create the summit’s vision. Cruikshank knows it is critically important for educators and business leaders to engage. She explains, “Business and community partners should collaborate with educators because education provides the groundwork for skills that can be put into practice through the support of employers. Educators provide students with a clear idea about what abilities and experiences they need to succeed and about in-demand careers. Employers are eager to showcase these to students and staff through tours, job shadowing, mentorships and more.”
Several organizations will co-host the summit: The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, the Sauk Rapids Chamber of Commerce, the Rice Chamber of Commerce, the Benton Economic Partnership, Career Solutions and the United Way’s Partner for Student Success. All have participated in the event’s planning.
St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Development Coordinator, Kelti Lorence, knows businesses and community partners rely on young people for continued growth. She believes organizations need to understand the people who will soon work for them. The summit is an opportunity to find out how to connect with future employees. “Businesses need kids to be in their work spaces now so students discover job options. Organizations need an understanding of what the next generation is looking for in work culture.”
Lorence hopes to see a complete change in perspective through events like the summit. She wants the community to know that students do not necessarily need to leave the area to find prosperity. She firmly feels central Minnesota has the needed resources and people to foster life and career success. “Everyone just needs the right connections,” she says. Superintendent Sinclair agrees. “Ultimately, this event will foster connections that help our school system identify how we can design and give equitable access to learning experiences for students in our district and community.”
Family and Teacher Support
Ways families and teachers can help students gain job skills and experience:
- Listen to your student as they talk about passions and abilities. How might these interests align with a career path?
- Remain open to career paths which may be unfamiliar to you but are interesting to your student.
- Assist with research about your student’s career interests.
- Create a plan with them that lays out how they might achieve their goals.
- Connect your student to employers in their fields of interest and encourage them to pursue a job shadowing opportunity, find a mentor or conduct an informational interview to confirm that they are pursuing a path right for them.