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With over 600 school districts educating our students in grades K-12, there is ample room for business professionals to partner and benefit from partnering with these schools. While students may learn some employability and technical skills in the classroom, many would benefit from an employer’s first-hand insight before they entered the workforce. Although the rewards for investing in the K-12 are long-term, businesses can also benefit in the short-term.

What are some of the types of partnerships K-12 schools have to offer?

Depending on grade level and subject area, there are various ways employers can partner with New Jersey’s schools. However, below are the most common examples.

  • Classroom Speakers and Mentorships are opportunities where students can meet with professionals to better understand the world of work. Often at times, these experiences are in the classroom and professionals are able to directly give career advice and industry insights.
  • Student Site Visits and Shadowing allow employers to open their doors and demonstrate their day-to-day operations firsthand. Programs like job shadowing give students a chance to see what a specific job is really like, while a workplace tour can highlight a variety of jobs offered at a business.
  • Host or Assist Teaching a Course on Entrepreneurships allows employers to help students understand the tools and skills required to earn and keep a job either in-school or after-school.
  • Participate or Fund After-School Tutoring provides an opportunity for employers to enrich a student’s learning experience. This can encompass sharing knowledge or providing assistance in subjects in which the employers are qualified, such as science, math or writing.
  • Internship and Apprenticeship Experiences provide students an opportunity to try out a job overseen by an experienced professional in the field. These opportunities vary in time commitment, and apprenticeships are a type of on the job training which may lead to certification.

What are some of the benefits of partnering?

  • Increase visibility and brand recognition – Working with a school can expand your potential market or customer base. Supporting students’ education and long-term goals can help you reach other students, parents, educators and members of the community.
  • Additional sales – Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to patronize good business stewards – companies who have a presence and help their local community.
  • Have a direct hand in student education – Employers will contribute to the job training and education process for these current students, or future job seekers, ensuring they will have the employability skills to succeed in the workforce.
  • Enhance supervisory skills of your staff – Allowing your staff to take on the responsibility of mentoring students in the classroom, after school, or during an internship can enhance your staff’s leadership and management skills and improve teamwork and efficiency on other projects.
  • Cut down on recruitment costs – Hiring interns or apprentices that have an established history with your company can reduce your training and recruitment costs – 77 percent of interns who are offered a full-time job after graduation accept the job offer.

What are some examples of these partnerships?

NJBIA has developed a list of the top partnerships in the state. Check out “K-12 Education Programs Involve Employers and Higher Education: Examples Across New Jersey” for more details.

Who should I contact if I want to partner with a particular school?

The New Jersey Department of Education maintains a database comprised of point-of-contact leaders or administrators in the state’s public and non-public schools. Check out NJDOE’s “New Jersey School Directory” for more details.

For additional support, contact:

  • Melanie Schulz, Director of Government Relations of the NJ Association of School Administrators at 609-599-2900 ext. 119 or email her at mschulz@njasa.net
  • Debra Bradley, Esq., Director of Government Relations of the NJ Principals & Supervisors Association at 609-860-1200 or email her at dbradley@njpsa.org

What are some of the questions employers should ask when looking to partner?

There are several questions employers should ask the school in order to ensure an effective and lasting partnership.

  • What do I hope to get out of this partnership? Are these expectations realistic?
  • How much time and/or resources can I and/or my business commit to this partnership?
  • What does the school and its students hope to get out of this partnership? Are these expectations realistic?
  • Does the desired school already offer a program or an initiative I can support?
  • Are there other employers within my field or in the local community partnering with the same school?
  • Who would be liable if something happened during the time I am able to commit?

For more information, contact:

Andrew Musick at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association at 609-858-9512 or email him at amusick@njbia.org.

Updated: December 18, 2017