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Education Summit Brings Business, Education Leaders Together

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The 2013 Education Summit was held in Greeley, Oct. 2.

Educators and business leaders  in the Greeley-Evans School District – the state’s 13th largest– held an education summit Wednesday aimed at doing an even better job of translating the importance of a strong educational system back into the community.

Educators, nonprofit groups and business leaders mixed to swap information and ideas for improving not only the district, but area education as well.

Jeannine Truswell, President and CEO of the United Way of Weld County said Wednesday’s event was essentially important for the community.

“The reason is in my mind,” Truswell said, “ is getting children to a place where they not only graduate but they are prepared for the workforce that we have indeed people that can then get employed, it is just essential it is the health of our community.”

The health of the community was behind a similar effort to partner business and education in Florida. Alberto Carvalho, a presenter at the summit, is also superintendent of the Miami-Dade public school district, the fourth largest in the country.

“You have a number of elements already in place that create a perfect opportunity for a continuation of this summit,” said Carvalho.

Carvalho turned around the failing Florida district, by collaborating with public and private entities. While his district had billions of dollars to work with, Carvalho says the same practices and strategies could work in Greeley.

“I think you have a better opportunity,” he said. “It’s an issue of scale. Our budget is bigger because we are much bigger community. We have 400,000 students, you have about 19,000 students.”

“You actually have a very solid foundation for business presence here, industry, the likes of which Miami-Dade quite frankly does not have,” said Carvalho.

All of the guest speakers and panelists continually returned to the need for a solid commitment by community business leaders through their expertise and financial assistance.

During her panel session, Aims Community College President Dr. Marsi Liddell charged businesses to commit to an improved educational system which could be created to meet their needs.

“Give us an opportunity to send our students to you, in an internship, an externship, an co-op ship whatever you want to call it, but take those students and show them what it’s like in the real world,” Dr. Liddell said. “Then get back to us! Let us know how they’re doing and what other things we need to teach those students so that they can be successful.”

It’s a sentiment shared by United Way of Weld County President Jeannine Truswell.

“And the reality is we cannot do it without businesses,” she said. “That business expertise is absolutely key in that whole picture of a healthy and successful community.”

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