|CAREERS AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
and distribute these activities. Students may work independently or
How has the economic character of your community changed over the years?
Take a look at your community. What are some visible indicators of its
economic health? List these. Then do some behind-the-scenes research
to get a clearer picture of your town’s overall health. For some tips
on how to assess your community and factors to look for, check out Livelyhood’s
Development” resources (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/resources.html).
• See if
your town has an official Web site where you can find statistics and
information about economic activity.
• Talk to sources such as minority business associations, labor unions,
or social service organizations to gain other perspectives on your
town’s economy. Livelyhood
has assembled Tips on Locating Minority Business Associations,
Labor Unions, and Social Service Organizations in Your Area. [You
might want to get an idea or your town's workplace history. To do this,
check out Livelyhood's "Tips to Finding Information on Workplaces in
Your Area" (http://pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/shift/careers.html)
from the "Shift Change" site!]
• Conduct surveys in the community asking people what they think
about the town’s recent economic history and current and future
economic health. Encourage them to share personal stories, anecdotes,
and insights into the way the town has been shaped.
a visual representation of the economic history of the area where you
live. This could take the form of a collage, a scrapbook, a display,
or a time line. You might also include visual predictions about its
economic future. If possible, display your finished product in a public
want to think about how your town stacks up against United States trends
by looking at Livelyhood’s online trend report: (http://pbs.org/livelyhood/ourtowns/trends.html),
or if you are feeling inspired, check out the many groups advocating
for economic or civic health in the “Our Towns” resource section (http://pbs.org/livelyhood/ourtowns/resources.html).
In Segment 3, you saw some ways in which businesses worked with school
administrators to make dramatic improvements to Seattle’s public school
system. Former Superintendent John Stanford stated that community involvement
is essential to increasing performance, and that “without community,
any school system is lost.” Do some research to determine how such partnerships
and community involvement work—or might work—in your area. Here are
some ways to begin:
an article about Seattle’s Alliance for Education (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/ourtowns/business.html)
or an interview with John Stanford (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/ourtowns/iview.html)
to get background knowledge of partnership programs.
out whether an apprenticeship, mentorship, or corporate volunteerism
program currently exists in your school district or any others nearby.
If there isn’t one in your district, brainstorm with other students
about what kind of program could be established. Be sure to check out
Livelyhood’s comprehensive list of organizations that match mentees
to mentors (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/chipping/mentor/linkset.htm)
or list of union links where you can find out more about apprenticeship
to a school official. Ask what kinds of benefits he or she might anticipate
from a partnership with a local business. Also ask how one could be
established. Ask if he or she would have any concerns, or what kind
of investigation would be necessary before partnering schools with business.
are some groups who advocate against business involvement in
schools, like the Center for Commercial Free Public Education (http://www.commercialfree.org),
and you may want to find out about that, too.
to the head of a local company. See what skills and knowledge that firm
might have to offer high school students, and what results they would
want to have come out of a school partnership.
Write up a
plan based on the information you have collected, and offer your own
suggestions for a mutually beneficial business/school partnership.
In Segment 9, you saw how towns such as Alliance, Nebraska have tried
to keep their economies from stagnating by attracting or creating new
industry and by luring tourists with unusual attractions. The economic
developers even maintain an advertising Web page stating reasons businesses
should move to Alliance and surrounding areas! (http://www.bbc.net/bbdc/home.htm).
Begin an examination
of how your community might fight stagnation. Work with a small group
to do one of the following:
the role of a local economic development committee trying to attract
business. To find out exactly what an economic developer does, check
“Economic Development” sites in the Resources section (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/resources.html).
what kinds of businesses you want to try to attract. Then make a list
of reasons why a business should choose your area. Think about what
kinds of businesses would bring new life, diversity, or innovation into
the roles of executives of a corporation looking to find a good place
to locate a major part of your operation. Make a list of things you
will look for in a new location. (You’ll have to decide what kind of
business you have in order to do this.) Again for both these steps,
“Economic Development” sites (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/resources.html)
can help by showing what other communities are doing to attract business,
and on what businesses base moving decisions.
with a group playing the opposite role. See whether you can hammer out
Locating Minority Business Associations, Labor Unions, and Social Service
Organizations in Your Area:
there an Urban League, NAACP chapter, or a minority-run business club
in your town? If you don’t know, check out http://www.nul.org/
or http://www.naacp.org/ or do a
search online. A good resource for finding out about minority owned
business is the U.S Department of Commerce “Phoenix Database” which
lists all minority-owned enterprises doing business in the U.S.: http://www.mbda.gov.
you know anyone who is a member of a labor union? City, county, state
and federal workers tend to have union contracts, as do workers in major
grocery store chains, postal workers, UPS drivers and teachers – to
name just a few. Contact your Central Labor Council, available in the
phone book in most counties and cities, for a picture of your area’s
labor pool. A way to locate labor unions online is through the AFL/CIO
Web site (http://www.aflcio.org/home.htm)
or uniononline.com (http://www.uniononline.com),
which allows you to look up every kind of union from A-Z and locate
you aware of any social service organizations in your area that provide
people with support, or civic groups that meet regularly? Social service
organizations are often directed by cities or counties, and can be found
through your town research, online through a search with a search engine
like Yahoo!, or in the good old phone book which lists main providers
of social services by service and/or division. You can also check out
the business pages of your local newspaper, especially calendar listings,
to get an idea of different groups that are active in your community,
or go the local library and ask a librarian for help locating social
service organizations. Cities and counties sometimes publish “free for
the asking” directories of local services and non-profits!