Butler County Education Summit to address local workforce issues
The first Butler County Education Summit will bring together leaders from education and industry to discuss problems facing today's students and workforce.
“There's so many jobs in the region that are left unfilled either because kids don't know they exist, aren't trained properly or there is no way for them to get trained properly,” said Kierston Hobaugh, results and performance director of the Butler County United Way. “So we want to try to bridge that gap somehow.”
The event, hosted by the United Way of Butler County and sponsored by XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Butler Health System Auditorium, 1 Hospital Way, Butler.
“Wherever we can, whatever community we're in, it's really important to be supportive of our educational system and to get schools and teachers the tools that they need to prepare students,” said Karen Matusic, public and government affairs manager for XTO Energy. The company provided a $5,000 grant to finance the summit.
Representatives from Slippery Rock University, Butler County Community College and local school districts, as well as business industry leaders from Allegheny, Butler, Beaver, Lawrence, Westmoreland and Armstrong Counties are invited.
“The private sector should be very involved and help where they can to help raise standards in schools and give teachers what they need to train the employees of tomorrow,” Matusic said.
One issue the summit will address is whether secondary and post-secondary education line up with the skills regional employers expect.
Stacey Burk, program development coordinator at Butler County Vocational Technical School, said students in the vo-tech program train for specific career paths, making it easier for them to know what employers want.
Students in traditional academic programs have a harder time knowing what skills and qualifications potential employers want.
“I just don't think that the communication is there,” said Burk, a member of the United Way's Education Impact Council.
The summit will feature presentations and four roundtable discussions about technology, early childhood education, career guidance and industry in schools.
Students from area high schools will take part in all roundtables to lend their perspectives, and two students, Knoch High School seniors Natalie Corbin and Maddilyn Thoma, will speak about hurdles they've faced in preparing for life after graduation.
“We can talk all we want, but if it's not actually helping students, and if we're not seeing what the student is doing and feeling, then we're not going to get anywhere,” Hobaugh said.
The summit is the first step. Hobaugh said she hopes officials can follow-up with community and student-lead focus groups.
“The goal is to come up with critical messaging for the community as a whole, as well as ... plans as to where do we go now and what do we need to do to put this in place,” Hobaugh said.
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Daytona Beach passes Butler for longest parade of Jeeps, but festival organizers vow to retake honor
- FBI agent urges Seneca Valley parents to keep up with technology
- Four campaigning for Butler County register of wills post
- Butler commissioner candidates discuss strengthening economy
- SRU students introduce organic coffee company
- Butler County new home sales surge in 2014