A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Golden Apple Awards go to six groups for successful education-business partnerships


By Tammy L. Lane
Special to KyForward
 

Everyone was on the same page Thursday at Commerce Lexington’s Good Morning Bluegrass breakfast, where the Community Partners Leadership Team and Fayette County Public Schools recognized high-performance partners for 2013-2014. These award-winners invest their time, energy and expertise in the district or particular schools through committed exchanges that ultimately benefit the entire county.
 

Wil James, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, left, and Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton talked about ways to build partnerships and increase communication between business and education in order to close skill gaps and increase the employability of high school graduates. (Photo  from FCPS)

Wil James, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, left, and Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton talked about ways to build partnerships and increase communication between business and education in order to close skill gaps and increase the employability of high school graduates. (Photo from FCPS)

“Bringing educational groups together with businesses creates a really dynamic community,” said Mike Ash, president of Fifth Third Bank, the presenting sponsor of the annual Golden Apple Awards.
 
Alice Nelson, family/community district coordinator for FCPS, announced the latest recipients at the Hyatt Regency downtown:
 
‣ Partners for Youth (community organizations/nonprofits category; districtwide partner)
‣ PNC Bank (businesses; districtwide partner)
‣ Crossroads Christian Church (faith-based organizations; school partner with Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Excellence)
‣ Living Arts & Science Center (community organizations; school partner with Russell Cave Elementary)
‣ Dixie Consumer Products (businesses; school partner with Dixie Magnet Elementary)
‣ UK College of Nursing (postsecondary institutions; school partner with The Learning Center at Linlee)
 

The CPLT, which serves as a link between FCPS and the local community, includes representatives from more than two dozen organizations as well as the Fayette County Board of Education. These supporters provide substantial time, funds and other resources to students, teachers and schools through hundreds of partnerships, mentorships, programs and initiatives.
 
Thursday’s breakfast also included a panel discussion featuring Wil James, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, and FCPS Superintendent Tom Shelton. They focused on ways to build partnerships and increase communication between business and education in order to close skill gaps and increase the employability of high school graduates.
 
“We need to align the education system with the needs of industry,” said James, citing such areas as critical thinking and teamwork. “If we don’t prepare the students to go out there and compete globally, we haven’t done them a good service.”
 
Shelton noted that the school district plans to expand its technical programs and find other avenues to prepare students not only for college but also for careers. One key is identifying their passions and interests earlier – at least in middle school, if not elementary.
 
“We have to start looking at education for what it truly is – economic development,” Shelton said, adding, “We’ve got to show students these opportunities and remove the barriers.”
 
Tammy L. Lane is a media and communications specialist with the Fayette County Public Schools.


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