Workforce Development Partnerships (including STEM and STEAM)
Prepare FCPS students for their future
What: In the K-12 arena, workforce development ranges from professional guest speakers to internships and entrepreneurship, to apprenticeships and many strategies in between, including STEAM.
STEAM education in FCPS is an inquiry approach to teaching and learning where students integrate science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to solve real-world problems.
A goal of workforce development is to place students in work-focused situations or work-based settings where careers connect to their schoolwork and they learn the skills necessary for work.
Fairfax County Public Schools seeks partners to support strategies in:
- Career Awareness: Partnerships typically happen on FCPS property or through group field trips. Examples include inviting guest speakers into schools, providing work-based tours, supporting college and career fairs, and supporting informational interviews. These partnerships can happen at any grade level, but more often occur with our younger students.
- Career Exploration: Partnerships are those that have students working independently or in smaller groups, on the partner's property, in an internship or in service learning projects, in a job shadow program, or participating in career mentorship. Middle and high school age students are the primary recipients of Career Exploration partnerships.
- Career Preparation: Partnerships for our older students include student enterprise, cooperative education, clinical experience, registered apprenticeships, youth registered apprenticeships, and supervised agricultural experiences, all of which are mostly conducted off FCPS property.
In schools and in all partnerships, stressing the necessary soft skills (dress code, resume writing, and etiquette), and essential work skills (communications, problem solving and teamwork, technology, and more) is always encouraged.
Why: Today's students will become tomorrow's workforce and future taxpayers. Education develops human capital required to create a skilled workforce, improve productivity, and drive business growth.
In Fairfax County, the top hiring industries* in Northern Virginia as of late 2017 include:
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (STEAM) 30.8%
- Health Care and Social Assistance (STEM-H) 11.2%
- Finance and Insurance 10.5%
- Retail Trade 9.5%
- Manufacturing 9.2%
Who: We're seeking businesses and community groups with the capacity to support these efforts through leadership, volunteers, and financial support. There are engagement thresholds to be an Ignite Partnership level workforce development partnership–please see below to learn more.
When: There is no set or established time in which the activities of basic workforce development occurs in our schools. When partnered with a school, opportunities will be discussed and a calendar of commitments created.
Where: On and off school property, depending on the activity selected. Off school property activities require additional "risk management" work on the part of FCPS and the partner which is laid out in the relevant partnership agreements.
Requirements—Business or Community Group
Engagement Thresholds: To support an essential workforce development program, we request a minimum of ten volunteers, and that you work to serve 20+ students for a full school year. If beginning after November 15, we seek partners who can complete their work at the school in which they start, and serve the following year.
Minimum Number of Employees: FCPS aims for sustainable partnerships. With a team of at least ten volunteers, your group can provide job diversity at career days, the effort required to coordinate soft skills training provides value for FCPS, and interns have options. If your business or community group does not have at least ten volunteers willing to commit to an entire school year, you are encouraged to work directly with a school near you. We suggest starting with the counselor or counseling team, or the FCPS service learning resource teacher. All of the regulations impacting partnerships apply whether a partnership is at the Ignite Partnerships level or is site or school-based.
Time Commitment: A workforce development partnership offers varied program elements and, as such, unique scheduling. Career days are typically a one-time event, soft skill training could be a one-time event or as seminars occurring with more regularity, while an internship can be long-term and may include time in the summer. In service learning and through the service learning resource teacher, there can be one-time or ongoing events. Partners are asked to commit to one full school year—September to June. If beginning after November 15, we ask for a commitment for the following school year as well.
CEO-VP Commitment: Because these programs involve volunteer time and the potential for financial commitment, we prefer CEO support but understand that in many companies and not-for-profits, authority can extend to the VP level.
Financial Requirements: There is the potential for financial support. A discussion will help us meet your needs.
Establish an Ignite Partnership (10+ volunteers required or support of 20+ students)
Jay Garant, 571-423-1225, Business and Community Partnerships
Work with Your Local School (fewer than 10 volunteers / 20 students)
Contact the school directly via the Schools and Centers directory. Typical contact is the assistant principal or counselor.