Business and School Partnerships are Moving in the Right Direction

Higher education institutions already appreciate the value of vocational education–you’d be hard pressed to find a university without internship opportunities or a work study program. Why is it then, that we relegate high school students to a purely theoretical learning environment? Many learn better through hands-on experience, many have interests outside of traditional curriculum, and many show promising ability and initiative that is suppressed in the generalized traditional setting.

In order to afford our high school students with the opportunity to graduate with professional skills, and to give them the option to become qualified workers without attending a traditional four-year institution, we must welcome Colorado’s emerging apprenticeship, work study, and extracurricular programs.

In a recent op-ed in the Greeley Tribune, titled It’s time for more public-private cooperation in education, the Independence Institute’s newest research associate and education policy geek Connan Houser features some of Colorado’s premier opportunities in vocational education. Whether a student desires to go straight into higher education, or straight into the workforce, these programs are exceptional opportunities for young professionals to develop real-world business skills and to begin exploring their career interests.

I’d like to be either an astronaut or the Bronco’s quarterback when I grow up, but there’s no vocational education for that yet. However, if I decide to work in medicine, computer science, or own a business, I’ll have the option to get heuristic education and work experience before I graduate high school, thanks to the growing partnerships between schools and the business community.