It is important that students have a well-rounded education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse and ever-changing technical world. The solution to narrowing the perceived educational gap may lie in partnering with the very companies and organizations which will ultimately benefit from well-prepared students.

As society pursues a quest for more information, faster technology becomes quickly outdated. We are educating the “microwave” generation where nothing is fast enough. So how do schools, which are notorious for having tried and true core curricula, prepare students to meet the demands of tomorrow? Although there is no single answer to this question, it is imperative that we address the gap in our educational system that may leave students unprepared for the challenges of college and the workforce.

Given the economic realities, schools must do more with less. Although this may seem like a disturbing notion, the reality is that it creates an opportunity to change the status quo and incorporate new and innovative concepts. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, for schools to close the educational gap alone. The old adage “it takes a village” is appropriately applied to efforts to enhance the educational system. Programs which collaborate with businesses and organizations that have the experience, financial resources, and technology to expose students to creative thinking may help to close the gap.

Partnerships designed to create opportunities where students can develop skills to help them succeed, including time management and work ethic, can be invaluable. Such partnerships can also instill confidence which helps to propel students forward and equips them to face challenges.

Classes which focus on reading and writing will remain essential. However, classes which develop technical skills like STEM should also be emphasized at an early age. Interactive workshops and “fun” activities, particularly in areas which lead to STEM careers, should be encouraged. Classes designed to engage students can be enhanced by tapping into existing resources found in professional organizations, museums, nonprofits, and technology companies that expose students to a myriad of careers and stimulate their intellectual growth.