In their ongoing efforts to mesh curricula with the requirements of the business world, schools face a moving target: Even as schools try to improve, the world’s needs evolve, keeping educators on their toes.
Steve Schultz, superintendent of Mesa County School District 51, takes a different approach. “I believe the school needs to adapt to the kids.”
One of the changes in recent years has been a focus on a prediction that today’s students won’t have just one job over the course of their working lives — as many of their grandparents did.
“Kids will have different careers,” Schultz said. Moreover, they’re likely to hold multiple jobs within each career.
Such predictions often lead educators to discuss the importance of teaching students how to learn and teaching them the materials needed to move on to the next level.
While some things might be changing, others are not, say some business leaders.
“Businesses are looking for what they have always looked for in employees at all levels,” said Diane Schwenke, president and chief executive officer of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.
In an e-mail response to the Grand Valley Business Times, Schwenke wrote: “Integrity, the ability to self motivate, work in teams and a willingness to learn. These soft skills form the basis of job hiring now and in the future.”
Meanwhile, each career carries its own specific demands and requirements, she added. “Health care, the energy sector, manufacturing and professional services all have their specific educational attainment and certification requirements.”
Schultz said School District 51 and the business world work together in Mesa County.
District 51 officials work with the Mesa County Department of Human Services, Hilltop, Mesa State College and other organizations that serve some of the same people. The various entities try to develop ways to better serve families without duplicating services.
Schultz said the district also is working with the Grand Junction chamber on a forum featuring education and economic development, with details to be announced in a few weeks.