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Our Opinion: Businesses join education initiative

A unified vision for education served as the focus in this forum on Tuesday.

We discussed how the public schools will combine instruction and practical application as the academy concept is implemented. In addition, we acknowledged parochial educators for including the religious component in a merger of the physical, mental and spiritual.

Although education is a foundation for accomplishment, learning and doing may be simultaneous and may reinforce each other. That, essentially, is the definition of on-the-job training.

Such training will be available this year to students through the Central Missouri Innovation Campus, a program facilitated by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

The area chamber received $1 million of nearly $9 million in grants awarded statewide.

Education partners are Lincoln University, Linn State Technical College and Jefferson City, Helias Catholic and Fatima high schools. Business partners number more than a dozen local companies, representing technology services, health care and communications.

Participating students will gain practical experience serving internships or in training programs.

The program is designed to accelerated degree completion, reduce educational costs, offer hands-on instruction and enhance job opportunities.

Chamber and business leaders recognized this need and, more important, acted to meet the challenge.

“For many years our businesses have told us that finding qualified IT workers is a challenge in Central Missouri,” Chamber Economic Development Director Missy Bonnot wrote in the August Chamber Today.

And Bob Scruggs, Chamber board chairman, wrote: “Education is critical not only to each one of us individually, but to build the economic vitality of the community.”

The emerging pattern is to teach and train each student so, together, they are prepared to apply their knowledge and skills as valued contributors to our community.

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