Officials with school systems and other agencies involved in the various stages of Work Ready Community designation say there are both direct and indirect benefits in participating in the initiative.
Martin County Area Technology Center Principal Martha Williams said the partnerships formed among the schools and other community groups have been “invaluable” to her, citing cooperation among her ATC, Martin County Schools, Community Action, Kentucky Educational Development Corporation, Big Sandy Community and Technical College and Adult Education, among others.
Gretchen Wetzel, curriculum, instruction and assessment specialist for Caldwell County Schools, said she is hoping to see more partnerships and mentorships between business owners and the schools as the county works on its certification. In addition, some school districts, like Caldwell County, have incorporated community service in their soft skills training for students.
This “dummy” helps students learn about their circulatory system in a health sciences class. Checking it out are Laura Bowen and Cody Fields.
In a Marshall County partnership, the district is talking with the local chamber of commerce about al-lowing the gifted and talented leadership class to participate in some activities along with the Marshall County Business Leadership Class.
Josh Tubbs, director of Kentucky Lake Economic Development in western Kentucky, pointed to the overall unifying effect of the process leading up to Work Ready certification.
“In my opinion,” he said, “the biggest benefit of the whole certification program is getting education, industry, adult education, business, small business and your community leaders sitting down at the same table and talking about what the challenges are – not only that, but what are our strengths and how do we capitalize on that and how do we tell a unified story?”