Education affects every aspect of our civilization and society. Education especially affects the business community. Without a strong and educated workforce businesses cannot succeed. Am I suggesting that the government be in charge of training our workforce as corporate welfare? No, but we do need a baseline so that we know that employees can read, write, and do basic math. It would also help if they understood a little bit about economics, management, and how to balance a checkbook amongst other things.
Having that baseline in our society means everything operate smoother; our military, our government, our nonprofits, our businesses, and our families and communities. Now then, I would like to suggest that the Chamber of Commerce get more involved in education. Why you ask? Because it seems that we are training people to take corporate jobs, but over 75% of the jobs actually are in small businesses, and 10% of our population is self-employed. We need to teach them how to think and run a business, or at least understand the basics, that is to say how it works and why.
This needs to start at a very early age, many chambers of commerce that I’ve been involved with have had “education day” where business owners go and talk to kids in K through 12. I’ve often volunteered for that, and I’ve also spoken at colleges and universities in their business department to give the kids an idea about what it’s like to run their own business or be involved in an entrepreneurial startup company. That’s very important as well.
When the business community can tie itself into the overall community, and we know education is a big part of any city or town, it’s all good. Also, the colleges and universities should be training kids for the jobs which will be available when they get out. Many of them will have substantial student loans and tuition costs to pay back, so it would be a travesty if they graduated with a degree for something that wasn’t needed in the workforce. Not everyone has rich parents to pay for their school without paying that money back.
Further, it would do those in academia good to listen in and see how the real world works, all too often the professors get too caught up in their own world, forgetting to realize that it isn’t the real one. That’s all well and good, but miscommunication can cause havoc with the workforce in the marketplace. The Chamber of Commerce should be proactive in working with academia and they should have a standing education committee where business leaders, small business owners, and educators get together on a regular basis to talk about real issues. Please consider all this and think on it.