KIDS Consortium's Blog

Service-Learning Is Good for Business

Posted in Uncategorized by KIDS Consortium on December 10, 2010

“The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004. We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” This is just one of the statements in the “Did You Know?” video on the progression of information technology.

Chamber of Commerce breakfastKIDS Consortium Executive Director Fran Rudoff chose to open her presentation to the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce at their regular breakfast meeting December 9 with this video. The trends described—the explosion of information technology and online connectedness, shifting demographics, the changing nature of the problems we address daily—underscore the importance of developing specific 21st century skills in our youth.

Titled “Service-Learning: How Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations Can Partner with Schools,” her presentation discussed how service-learning builds the skills that employers want and need, particularly collaboration and critical thinking.

Through service-learning, students identify, research, and address authentic problems and needs in their communities, using knowledge and skills gained in the classroom. This structured, student-led approach to problem-solving is targeted toward fostering problem-solving skills that can be applied to those as-yet-unknown problems of the future.

Fran Rudoff speaking at the Chamber meetingFran offered several ways that businesses can partner with schools on youth projects:

  • Be a Partner: Businesspeople live and work in the community, and may see a problem or need that can be addressed by students. Businesses can benefit from youth voice on advisory boards, too.
  • Support Student Projects: Businesses can get involved with student-led projects. Expertise, supplies, and other resources are needed.
  • Support a Teacher: Service-learning is a teaching strategy that, like any other skill, needs to be developed. Businesses can sponsor professional development for a teacher or school, or provide space for trainings.
  • Advocate for Service-Learning: Everyone can be an advocate for engaged, active education. As school board members, parents, grandparents, friends, and community members, advocates can make a difference in making service-learning a part of the way schools serve kids.

KIDS Consortium has enjoyed partnerships with many businesses through the years, including State Farm, Downeast Energy, LL Bean, Renys, Unum, and dozens more. We look forward to continuing to work with the business community to foster great youth projects for years to come.

The Chamber meetings are always a great place for ideas about where Lewiston/Auburn, Maine, and the world are going next. We appreciate the opportunity to engage Chamber members in thinking about ways to involve young people in our region in hands-on authentic learning experiences.

Note: The “Did You Know?” video was originally researched and created by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Brenman, freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike license.

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