By Jami Gibson

Last month, I wrote about how one of the most important ways to ensure your area’s prosperity is by keeping your talent pipeline full. This month, I want to focus on how that is achieved through education, using my town of Holland, MI as an example.

In 2008, Holland/Zeeland, MI created the Ready For School (R4S) initiative in response to concern about the future development of our area. According to R4S, less than half of our children were equipped with the skills they needed to enter kindergarten. They are hoping to radically change that percentage, and are already seeing success. R4S’ goal is to work with kids ages birth to five to prepare them to enter kindergarten. In order to expand early learning opportunities for children, R4S has partnered with many local preschools, daycares, businesses, hospitals, and churches. This kind of community involvement provides numerous growth experiences for children to help them prepare for success!

Older students in middle and high school also have opportunities to grow and gain real world career experience through FuturePrep Connections. This program links schools and businesses to provide students with employer-based learning opportunities and inspires them to think of their future careers.

As a more immediate answer to talent gaps, Ready NOW! are periodic events that link businesses and unemployed workers. Registrants attend a 3-day event to take part in workshops geared toward resume writing, team building, career exploration, and more! Once completed, they are given the opportunity to interview with participating businesses.

These are just a few of the programs in place to help fill and retain our talent pipeline within our community. Has your community invested in education to ensure their future development?

For further information about the education-prosperity link, please read this recent article from the Wall Street Journal, “The Vital Link of Education and Prosperity.” A huge thank you to Bill C. with Gilbane, Inc. for sending this our way!