Members at the industry roundtable gather to discuss ideas

More than 30 small and large business, non-profit, government and education leaders came together at Spring Lake Park High School October 13. The conversation focused on how we can continue to strengthen partnerships to benefit students, the workforce and our community.

Participants shared their perspectives on connections that would most benefit their business or industry sector and organization as well as Spring Lake Park High School students. Candid dialogue about opportunities, potential barriers, and specific events and experiences will inform district planning.

“It was thrilling to understand the level of enthusiasm among our partners for connecting with students and supporting their learning,” says Eric Van Brocklin, the high school’s Pathways to Career and College Readiness lead. “There was great energy and concrete ideas for what we can continue to do to benefit all.”

When asked to identify specific areas to strengthen, participants shared many ideas. Many want to welcome students and educators into their workplaces. Some are signing up to be guest instructors. Some are hoping to influence what technical skills are being developed. Some want to match students to opportunities for paid internships.

“Each employer and partner can offer something different,” says Eric. “As a district focused on personalized learning, we know that our approach with partners should offer the same personalization. I’m excited to see what we can develop with each of our partners.”

Exploring careers

Roundtable participants work in all three career pathways offered at Spring Lake Park High School – Business and Entrepreneurship, Health and Human Services, and Technology, Engineering and Design. Each pathway represents a need for future jobs. Multiple courses within each pathway allow students to pick and choose courses across pathways or go deep in one area.

“Our goal is to provide opportunities for students to explore and support the discovery of their passion and purpose,” says Eric. “There are many ways to incorporate industry and community partners into the learning that make it real, authentic and impactful.”

Some students pitch business ideas to business leaders. Some become certified nursing assistants and EMTs. Others learn how to design and make objects on 3D printers. Some build a house. Through pathways, students have a chance to explore as they gain real, applicable skills for their future.

Interested in learning more? Contact Eric Van Brocklinevanbr@district16.org, 763-600-5100.