Let the partnership grow and evolve.
"When we started the MLI, it was initially discussed [as] a program. I said, 'I don’t do programs. I do initiatives.' Programs never sunset. We always knew the MLI would sunset somewhere in the future."
By the time the MLI “sunsetted,” many of its key board members had moved into state leadership positions. For example, Robbie Barnett, formerly of Honeywell, retired from his position and took a new job at the state Chamber of Commerce. Another former board member became the state director of adult education, and others took leadership positions in the South Carolina Technical College System and South Carolina Department of Commerce. With their MLI experience behind them, these business leaders are now strategically positioned to affect education policy. As Barnett acknowledges, “We realized that we needed to take these things to scale within South Carolina, not just within the Midlands.” Around the same time, the United Way of the Midlands reorganized, keeping a focus on education and workforce development through the creation of the Education, Jobs & Life Skills (EJLS) committee. In the Midlands, business involvement in adult education was able to evolve from local partnerships supporting workplace training programs to state-level advocacy and policy work.Help strengthen the capacity of state educational systems.
One motivation for business interest in state policy was the chance to improve the graduation rate and the quality of the state’s workforce. Businesses participated in every stage of developing the EEDA and served on a state education and workforce task force. The legislation created regional education centers, which connect students and adults with career resources, and other programs in high schools to introduce students to careers. The next phase of the legislation will likely address adult education more directly.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has taken a lead role in the implementation of the EEDA, making sure that business is represented. As part of this process, the chamber meets with local chambers and their members and educates them about the law’s timeline and goals.
Benefits to Business
"South Carolina businesses have difficulty finding employees with the basic skills needed to be successful in the 21st-century workplace. It was easy to enlist their support for the MLI."
Some benefits to businesses of their involvement in state policy include:
Benefits to the State
Some benefits to the state of business involvement in policy include:
The following resource has been compiled for further reading on topics related to business-adult education partnerships. A pop-up window with a link to and description of the resource will appear as you click on the title. Resources may be categorized below as: Business Partnerships (descriptions of the business-adult education partnerships referenced above); Partnership Profiles (related examples of other community partnerships); How-Tos (guides and tools for establishing partnerships); Research; the Case for Business Involvement; and Web Sites. A complete list of resources related to business-adult education partnerships is found in the Workforce Issues section on the C-PAL Web site.
Midlands Literacy Initiative