Engage Business Leaders as Partners in Education
We have all heard the statistics; the United States has a skills deficit in our workforce. Administration officials and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce often speak about attracting businesses to the Commonwealth and the importance that education plays in economic development. We must continue to improve the quality of our workforce to maintain our competitive position within an ever-changing, fast-paced global economy. Business leaders can be key partners in education. If they are appropriately informed, they can serve as advocates for your school division with your community and fellow business owners.
Over the next month, take time to meet with your Chamber of Commerce, economic development association and local business owners. Invite them to attend and present at your school board meeting to share their work, or visit your schools to highlight your CTE programs. Discuss your successes and challenges, provide information so they can share your message about public education, look for ways that they can partner with your students and schools and listen to their needs as local business owners. Whether it’s providing financial resources for a specific program, mentoring students, or being a vocal supporter of public education, business leaders can make a positive impact. To assist with your advocacy efforts, please utilize the VSBA Grassroots Advocacy Guide for policy topics to discuss and good questions to ask when engaging with business leaders.
Just a quick reminder that November is Take Your Legislator to School Month. During your advocacy meetings this month, we encourage you to invite your legislators to visit your school division in November. This year, the VSBA encourages school divisions to choose an area of focus for your legislative visits. For example, you may decide to have “VSBA Take Your Legislator to CTE School Month” or “VSBA Take Your Legislator to STEM School Month”. This will allow you to emphasize particular aspects of the division that you are most proud of or wish to highlight. To learn more about Take Your Legislator to School Month check out the 2014 VSBA Guide.
Your voice can make a difference in your schools, community and in Richmond. Take just a few minutes to advocate for your students and engage with local business leaders now!
Questions, ideas on ways to advocate and engage your community, or success stories to share? Send them to VSBA Government Relations Coordinator Emily Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.