Investigating the benefits of a school/industry partnership focused on overcoming the skills gap and fostering student success

Dana M. Griggs, Frances K. Kochan, Ellen H. Reames


The focus of this investigation was to discover the participants’ perceptions of benefits of a school/industry partnership designed to overcome the skill’s gap and foster student success. The researcher strove to give voice to the participants through storytelling in Appreciative Inquiry interviews. The perceived benefits presented themselves in four categories: 1) Curricular relevance – Students viewed school as more relevant; tried harder in school; talked to parents and counselors more; and engaged in thinking and learning. 2) World of Work – Students learned real-world work skills; explored a wide variety of careers; clarified college and career readiness; engaged in a reflective process on their decisions; increased attainment of credentials; and improved behaviors outside school. 3) Essential skills – Students learned employability skills; practiced professionalism; learned the power of first impressions; gained confidence; learned the importance of networking; practiced etiquettes and essential skills; and the partners provided authentic audiences. 4) Industry – Employees shared talents and grew; addressed company’s focus on education; provided an educational service to the community; and worked with teachers to develop the future workforce.


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