How Business and Education Partnerships Benefit Students and Teachers

Businesses operate in a very different way than schools and often times, this difference is reflected in partnership issues. These can range from simple misunderstandings to major concerns about a business’ involvement in the education of young people.

Educational partnerships connect school, industry and the community to provide quality learning opportunities. They help prepare students for the future, by introducing them to careers and providing work-based learning experiences.

Benefits to Students

Business-education partnerships are a way for private companies to help students and teachers. Companies may provide internship and job shadowing opportunities for students as well as donate money or materials to a school. These donations can help provide better infrastructure, management and access to educational material. They can also help students gain practical knowledge of the business world and narrow the gap between academic learning and future career possibilities.

However, many teachers are concerned that partnerships with businesses can have a negative impact on the curriculum and student morale. They are worried that corporate ideology and ethos enter the learning experience and that schools are not concerned with the violence and oppression that exist in the world (Hill and McGowan, 1996).

Education is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. Business and industry partners can help fulfill Olathe Public Schools’ mission to “Prepare Students for their Future.” PartnerED provides resources for schools and businesses seeking a partnership.

Benefits to Businesses

Education partnerships benefit businesses because they help develop a skilled workforce. They also give students hands-on experiences that allow them to connect their education with the skills they need in the workplace.

Businesses can partner with schools in a variety of ways including mentoring students, providing work-based learning apprenticeships and making donations. These activities can be a great way to promote the business and build relationships with the community.

When students see business involvement in education they are more likely to pursue a college degree and become a lifelong learner. This helps companies keep employees longer, reduce turnover and reduce the cost of training new employees.

Businesses that invest in education can receive many benefits including a tax deduction on educational expenses and the opportunity to promote their brand to potential future employees. They can also receive valuable feedback from school leaders and other stakeholders on the effectiveness of their programs. They can also collaborate with schools on curriculum development.

Benefits to Educators

In addition to providing students with valuable hands-on learning opportunities, business-education partnerships benefit teachers by helping them stay connected to industry. Often, educators feel disconnected from the workplace because they spend so much time focused on student achievement and classroom activities. Partnering with a local company gives them an opportunity to learn new skills and gain insights into how their students are learning.

Teachers also find it beneficial to partner with companies that have similar goals and values. This helps them maintain the focus of their partnership, and can help them solve issues such as scheduling, measuring outcomes, perceived value, reporting, and financial commitment/value.

Many schools have a program where they work with local companies to solve a specific problem, such as designing a prototype or developing software. These programs are called Clinics and are based on the original model developed by Harvey Mudd College in 1963. Over time, the partnership creates admiration between the school and business and stakeholders begin to consider the partner for their tech needs.

Benefits to Communities

Businesses and schools both benefit from community-based learning partnerships. Businesses gain positive publicity and help to support a local workforce by sponsoring internships, work-study programs or school community outreach events. Schools may receive donations of equipment or services like meeting space and volunteers for special projects.

For teachers, students and administrators, establishing clear roles and communication are key. Developing a memorandum of understanding or another formal agreement can help to prevent misunderstandings and set expectations for partners. Ongoing communication is critical to maintaining a successful partnership and can include newsletter stories, social media updates and events.

Business and industry partners play a vital role in helping schools fulfill their mission to “Prepare Students for Their Futures.” By connecting students with local job opportunities, businesses help ensure that graduates will be available to fill jobs and contribute to the economy in the region. This will ultimately benefit the community in terms of a strong pool of skilled workers and consumer spending.

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