Through shared forums known as Industry Innovation Councils, leaders from key industry sectors and higher education are working with educators to develop approaches that broaden opportunities for students to learn more and in different ways. These regional councils reflect areas of growth in our state’s economy including health and life sciences, energy and sustainability, biotechnology and agriscience, as well as aerospace, advanced manufacturing and security.
With their focus on economic themes and deep connections to industry and higher education, the councils connect with schools to provide critical, real-world relevance to students who might otherwise lose interest in learning. These innovation councils are helping educators develop a clear framework of optimal strategies to cater to students’ hunger for relevance and to fuel the state’s talent pipeline. Members of the councils leverage connections to the private sector to break down barriers between schools and industry, including:
- Offering work-based experiences for educators, such as industry immersion experiences, field studies and paid externships
- Providing work-based experiences for students, reflecting a continuum of experiences from career awareness activities (e.g., “speed dating” with industry professionals, field experiences) to career preparation opportunities (e.g., job shadowing, mentoring, industry-relevant projects) to career training and skills development (e.g., internships, apprenticeships, support in earning industry-recognized certificates/credentials)
- Collaborating with education professionals in project development and co-teaching
- Creating new paradigms in education/industry partnerships, such as developing industry-relevant performance tasks for use in classrooms across the state and creating innovation challenges for teams of students, guided by an industry professional/entrepreneur
- Fostering public and private strategic investment in education innovation