NSRDEC representatives tour Natick High School for "Future Ready" initiative
November 5, 2012
NATICK, Mass. (Nov. 5, 2012) -- Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center representatives were among business and community leaders hosted Oct. 25, by Natick High School, which kicked off its "Future Ready" program.
NSRDEC's Donna Bulger, Rebecca Engle and Bob Kinney were in attendance as the day revolved around a major question: What does it mean for students to be Future Ready? This question applies to both the workforce and college or other post-secondary education.
"I think (NSRDEC) can assist students through a variety of job/internship/co-op types of assignments, where we can provide them with real-world experience at a young age," said Bob Kinney, business process manager for NSRDEC.
Kinney knows this can be done "through the various work programs and mentoring programs" offered at NSRDEC. "Also, we can serve in mentoring assignments, like the Natick High School Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams working with robotics," Kinney said.
Participants toured the brand-new school, which is complete with a lot of the newest technology, and its facilities offer a lot of "green" features. The whole building is wireless, each student has his or her own laptop, and the school houses an impressive auditorium, cafeteria and gym.
"But, truly, the most important aspect of this meeting is the opportunity to sit with educators, business and community leaders to share ideas on what skills, attitudes and behaviors are critical to graduating Future Ready students," said Rosemary Driscoll, president of the Natick Education Foundation. "We hope to identify other opportunities to continue this discussion and develop even stronger relationships with your organizations going forward."
Students at this school have some of the latest and greatest tools for their education, including resources and personnel like the College & Career Readiness Center, where they can find information about college planning, internships, and a variety of other opportunities.
"I hire a lot of young people straight out of college in my office," said Rep. David Linsky, "and what I'm seeing here is that it is more important that (students) are prepared for the workforce, actually, in high school than in college."
Natick came forward and volunteered to pilot the Future Ready program. Businesses chose to come together and collaborate, which is essential because business partnership is a requirement to become a Future Ready community.
"We're really looking forward to building partnerships and building communication vehicles," said Linda Noonan, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. "Our goal is not only to prepare (students) better for success in higher education, future training, and the workforce, but also to have them engaged in their studies and make the most of what the faculty is doing and what they're trying to help them do."
Discussions took place among participants gathered about what it means to be Future Ready within the organizations they work for. Many agreed that the ability to solve problems and communicate in a collaborative and professional way were necessary skills to have for both higher education and the workforce.
Kinney acknowledged that schools and teachers have a major task at hand. He added that they "are being driven very heavily towards academics while professional and social developments are not emphasized to a great extent. (NSRDEC) should place more emphasis on these aspects in the various work and mentoring programs."