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Business and Education

Recent years have been full of governmental and nongovernmental actions to improve many different aspects of private and public education on all levels. Nevertheless, the educational impact on business and vice versa appears to be mostly an academic issue. Here is why: when was the last time anyone saw a proposal from business interest groups to improve education? When was the last time national or international representatives of business interest actively participated in creating and maintaining educational policy?

The first issue that may come to mind is why businesses should have an active interest in education. Though obvious, the answer has managed to be off the table for any serious collaboration. The simple answer is self-interest because virtually all businesses require human capital. The more sophisticated, knowledgeable, logical, rational, and versatile those employees are, the greater the chance for smoother daily operation, which may lead to many other benefits, including the ultimate goal of profitability.

The second concern or issue may be that some very large for-profit entities have a long history of educational donations and contributions to post-secondary educational institutions, such as technical universities and particular departments within the universities. However, this approach is not only short-sighted but is also plainly inadequate. It is obvious that contribution to universities to fund research has a great deal of potential for profitability, yet the underserved demographics such as blue-colored workers and employees in low-paying service and fast food industries are equally important segments of the workforce. They contribute a great deal to our economy yet remain untargeted for educational measures that may assist in increasing their effectiveness and efficiency.

Overall, we are not suggesting that business entities reverse course and start contributing to K1-12 rather than taking additional active roles in forming educational policy, changing or enhancing curriculum requirements, and contributing financial or other assets to enhance the local, regional, and national ability to educate our future workforce as well as effectively publicizing the needs and requirements of their particular industries. Such measures may not only enable policymakers to formulate better and more effective policies but also may assist in sparking the interest of those students to pursue previously unknown fields or disciplines.

Ultimately, it is not farfetched to suggest that businesses and their interest representatives have a long way to go in harvesting the most effective and efficient workforce. It is in their interest and a social responsibility to promote educational growth and availability that will not only serve us as a nation but assist in assuring a competitive, educated, and able workforce that can and will be able to compete in the global economy.

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