This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

February 7, 2001

Business Will Support Education

Several trends and circumstances will intertwine over the next decade, motivating corporations to fund and invigorate education around the world.

Employers face increasing challenges in their efforts to hire competent workers. They need employees who can read, write, calculate, and communicate sufficiently to perform their job duties. This need will become more serious as technology develops and applications demand greater knowledge. The gap between current needs and the capacity of the existing workforce is serious, wide enough to cause costly problems for employers. Their patience is wearing thin.

Education will become increasingly important. Employers will demand better preparation of entry level workers. And they'll ask for more help from schools to re-educate and re-train older workers. Will educators be prepared to respond? Corporate leaders have serious doubts, so they will become more involved with public education to get their needs met. They will be helping their communities, but their underlying motivations will be understandably selfish. Smart educators will welcome corporate collaboration.

Dollars and other forms of support will flow from corporations to schools. Employers will provide funds to sponsor capital expansion and technology upgrades. Look for corporate sponsors to put their names on public school classrooms, libraries, stadiums, and computer labs. Sure, the recognition is well-deserved and appropriate. There are precedents in the university environment, churches, community centers, libraries, and similar public facilities. The advantage in this setting is that employers will place their names in front of prospective employees. Schools eager for financial support will accommodate corporate wishes as much as they can.

Corporations will lend their expertise to schools, much the way they do to United Way fund drives and other community activities. Loaned executives will work side-by-side with school administrators on financial management, curriculum design, capital projects planning and implementation, leadership development, and technology development.

Employers will provide instructors to assist certified teachers, serve as substitute teachers, and even assume part-time or full-time teaching loads-- paid for by the corporations. Teachers will learn on-site from corporations, gaining specialized knowledge in science, technology, and applications of academic subjects.

Everyone will benefit from these emerging partnerships.

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