What Business Expects From Schools – Notes from a panel discussion

“What Business Expects of (the local school district) and What Businesses Can Do to Assist (the local school district) in Reaching Those Goals” was the subject of a panel discussion sponsored by the Jackson Public Schools Partners in Education. The panelists included representatives of a medical center, an engineering firm, a life insurance company, an employment agency and an economic developer. Below is a summary of their comments.

– Students need to know how to communicate. That includes speech, dress and nonverbal language. If they cannot communicate well they cannot represent their employer well.

– Students needs to know about time management. For example, a student who spends more time studying for the first test they are taking instead of the more important test they are to take indicates that the student needs to manage time better.

– Independent learning is something that workers will do for the rest of their lives, so students need to understand how to learn on their own as well as with a group.

– Large businesses need all types of skills. Students should no shy away from applying with a company just because they do not have the skills for the company’s main focus. Large companies need accounting, marketing and human resource personnel even though the company may be in a very technical business.

– Social media matters. Students should know that their social media pages, images and comments will follow them for a lifetime and will be used in consideration of employment.

– Employers are concerned that students do not have basic math skills.

– Drug tests are routinely given by many employers at the time of application and randomly during employment.

The panelists pointed out that schools should not be hesitant about asking for business support, but that schools should have specific requests and proposals in mind. Panelists gave a summary of how their companies and organizations interacted with their school partners.

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l-r Mark Bailey – Neel-Schaffer Engineering, Stephanie Hopkins Southern Farm Bureau Life, Phil Hardwick – Stennis Institute, Natalie Gaughf – University Mississippi Medical Center, Carolyn Boteler – Tempstaff.

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