Nebraska Loves Public Schools Forum Focuses on Future Nebraska Workforce

Nebraska Loves Public Schools Forum Focuses on Future Nebraska Workforce
Nebraska Loves Public Schools "Ready to Work" forum panelists (L-R) Teresa Smith, Jenny Fox, Mike Schweitzer, Suzie Smith, Angie Palmer, Andrew Ambriz

BROKEN BOW—Approximately 74% of high school students have not worked more than one hour a week at a paying job. This is according to the film “Ready to Work” created by Nebraska Loves Public Schools (NLPS). The nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting public education.

In collaboration with News Channel Nebraska and Broken Bow Public Schools, audience members gathered on Wednesday night to view the NLPS film and participate in a community conversation. (Click here to view a replay of the live broadcast.)

The film “Ready to Work” focuses on the ways public schools inspire career interest in young students and how entire communities benefit when Nebraska students are truly ready to work.

NLPS Communications Associate Bekah Bauman works to connect communities to their young students–who will serve as the future workforce of Nebraska.

“Each of our films has a topic that every community can connect to. The hope is with all of these—especially here in Broken Bow—is that community members can talk about how this is playing into our community. People can maybe get a different perspective of ‘okay, I didn’t realize this goes on in our school’ or ‘I didn’t realize that was something we did.’ It just helps people connect with schools especially if they’re not in school or they don’t have a tie to it,” Bauman said.

Arnold’s School House Graphics Products was featured in the film.

A panel discussion following the film featured community leaders and teachers including Teresa Smith, Jenny Fox, Mike Schweitzer, Angie Palmer, Susie Smith, and Andrew Ambriz.

Panelist Jenny Fox said the future of our workforce has to come from our youth. “That’s the number one thing our businesses are really seeing out there. They’re stealing from each other for their work force right now.”

Panelists discussed the desire to engage students in workforce opportunities and skill sets necessary for future careers in technical education, STEM, the arts, health care, and other careers available to students with or without a four-year college education.

According to “Ready to Work,” employers are looking for the basic skills learned in school as well as problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, active listening, teamwork, and technology.

Teresa Smith said it is never too early to start introducing career opportunities to students. Students as young as four or five are exposed to career role playing and opportunities to earn and budget classroom money.

“As a first grade teacher, I thought it was important to start bringing people into my classroom to show kids some careers that are out there that they may not have thought about,” Smith said.

Suzie Smith works with high school students and enforces basic communication skills necessary to get a job.

Panelists also discussed using technology as an effective tool while still teaching kids how to problem solve on their own without the assistance of a computer.

With a combination of basic reading, writing, and arithmetic plus workplace learning, NLPS and Nebraska communities are hoping to teach young people how to become productive members of society.

Click here to view the entire “Ready to Work” film and the panel discussion: