Rhinelander?s Partners in Education strengthens its resolve
Rhinelander Partners in Education this week took a big step toward the future. The all volunteer organization, a collaboration between business, education and community leaders, has formalized a strategic plan. According to Partners in Education (PIE) President Lara Reed the group has worked hard the past five years to establish an identity –who they are and what they do—and now it’s time to move beyond.
“We’ve always had a strategic plan, but I have felt we haven’t given enough attention to the details,” Reed said. “We wanted find a way to be accountable to the strategic plan, and measure our progress.”
The goal of the organization remains connecting students and business, promoting student success and providing enriched learning opportunities. Mini Business World, Mad Money financial simulation, Careers on Wheels, Heavy Metal Tour are just a few of the programs in which PIE members are involved. Bart Tegen works for member business Ponsse. He said he likes that PIE gives him the opportunity to be involved in the community and schools in a mentoring capacity.
“I spoke to a classroom of high school students about globalization recently,” he said. “It was a great experience, and an opportunity to hopefully make an impact on these kids.”
Helping in classrooms and schools, speaking and offering career guidance are the engagements that PIE is known for, and the newly adopted strategic plan will only sharpen the focus on what PIE already does very well.
“Are we reaching students of all grades? What skill sets are area manufacturers looking for in graduates? Those are the questions we want to answer,” Reed continued. “We also need to learn from community organizations that already have programs in place, such as job shadowing, that would be a benefit on a larger scale.”
Committees have been formed that will help accomplish the ideas outlined in the strategic plan. The membership committee will be working to expand business partners. One group is putting together a very specific survey for local businesses so we can connect the dots between what businesses need, what’s happening in the schools, and how PIE can help.
A new initiative is to recognize teachers and businesses at a banquet, and celebrate the successes of the program. The final committee is tasked with gathering together opportunities that exists for students to get some on the job work experience.
On her third term as PIE president, Reed believes it’s time for people in their 20’s and 30’s to get to work. “I figure if I’m going to live, work and raise a family here,” Reed said, “I better be willing to put in the time to make Rhinelander an even better place to live.”
And a more focused strategic plan could give businesses a broader avenue in which to step up. Bart Tegen says it’s necessary. “PIE is on its feet and going strong,” he reiterated, “so finding a way to implement the plans we’ve made is pretty important to moving forward.”
Anyone interested in volunteering with Partners in Education, contact Reed at [email protected]