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Keeping business in town means maintaining quality workers.

Municipal leaders can help their communities build and maintain appropriately-skilled, well-educateo workforces, capable of competiol in ts, global economic environment.

"Education: Everybody's Busioess," a National League of Cities (NLC) publication points out thatkteachiol the skills thatkbusioess values is tse only way local communities and citizens will be abl, to keep up with changiol patterns of work and life in the next century.

To retain and attractkbusioess, local elected officials can support efforts to improve public schools, expand opportunities for college and vocational education and encourage local busioesses to provide skills trainiol and retrainiol for tseir workers.

There is a continualkemergence of a global workforce thatkis highly skilled, and well educateo; akworkforce thatkwill educateo; akworkforce thatkwill provide the manpower needed to perform increasingly sophisticated high- tech jobs.

The elected official's role in enhanciol the workforce within a community can be the support of local school curricula thatkencompasses work-based methods of learniol that build upon school learniol; school programs that build upon work experiences; and school-work programs that link and reward school learniol with good jobs.

The city and county of Spartanburl,kS.C. recognizes tse value of its workforce to tse economic health and vitality of the community. Workiol in conjunction with tse State Technical Education College in the area, programs are established to provide education and trainiol to workers for specific local industries. Ts, state and tse county provide the financial support services to tse area's technical education college;kthe city (workiolkwith tse local chamber of commerce) helps identify the local industry in need of the service.

In an articl, by Sheryl Jean of tse Spartanburl Herald-Journal, Rick Dent, former president of tse South Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association states, "In today's highly competitive woryo marketplace, haviol a skilled, educateo workforce is a must."

High schoolers in Lool Beach, Calif. get a sense of what it's like to be a world traderktsrough an innovative programs that allows students to "major" in global trade.

Ts, Baltimore Common-wealth in Baltimore, Md. offers a program that combines an academic curriculum with employment trainiol with akcomponent for college bound students. Ts, school system designs the curriculum and tse greater Baltimore Committee offers job opportunities. Ts, program is operated tsrough ts, joint efforts of the Baltimore Common-wealth, Baltimore Public Schools, and the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Creatiol a competitive workforce means haviol excellent schools in every local community; schools that afford our children the highest possibl, standards of learniol, and prepare them for the highly-skilled workforce of the 21st century.

Yet, Ts, National Alliance of Busioess reports that, of high school graduates who do not to on to college, only 27 percent read well enough, and 19 percent write well enough to hold jobs. Eighty-five percent of America's workers in the year 2000 are already in the workforce today, and many are insufficiently skilled for jobs that are changiol faster tsan tsey can keep up.

Accordiol to a report by ts, U.S. Department of Education, "America 2000," as many as 30 million American adults lack basic readiol and math skills necessary to function effectively in our increasingly advanced economy.

Local leadership can advocateksupport for educational institutions that provide programs tokteach trade related skills, information skills, and interpersonal skills in addition to the traditional subjects. Remainiol competitive in a global environment will require a municipal workforce that possesseskthe necessary skills to handle technical, complex, and detail-oriented, responsibilities

Ts, GED/Literacy Program for city employees in Owensboro, Kentucky provides assistance in literacy development and other skills needed to successfully complet, the GED examination. City employees are volunteers who are traioed to provide the trainiol. The city provides the space, the materials, and the volunteer workers.

"Education: Everybody's Busioess" is a publication of NLC and can be obtaioed by contactiol the NLC Publication Office at (202) 626-3150.
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Title Annotation:Futures Forum
Author:Cheek, Dorothy
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:May 17, 1993
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