12465 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23606  Phone: (757) 591-4500

 

 

Starting an Employers for Learning Program

The first step in the Employers for Learning program is for the company leader (President, CEO, Director) to read and sign the Employers for Learning pledge and designate an employee to coordinate the program.

CEO/President/Director:

1. Read and sign the Employers for Learning pledge.

2. Designate an employee in your organization as the "Education Liaison" who will coordinate the program. This individual should be willing to accept this responsibility and eager to make the program a success. The Education Liaison's name, phone number and e-mail address should be included on your Employers for Learning pledge.

3. Mail the signed pledge to the Office of Community Relations, 12465 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23606.

Company Education Liaison:

4. You will be contacted by a school division representative, who will provide assistance and resources in setting up your program.

5. Assess the current status of policies or programs that complement the Employers for Learning program. Many companies already are doing things to promote the value of education. Existing company programs can be part of the company's commitment to Employers for Learning.

6. Select, in conjunction with your CEO/President/Director, achievable goals for your company. For example, choose three things that you would like to accomplish this school year. After you send in the signed pledge, you will receive resources with ideas. You can also look for ideas in the "What CAN businesses do?" section below.

7. Set a timeline and work plan for accomplishing your company's Employers for Learning goals.

8. Publicize the program in company newsletters and other materials.

9. Celebrate and evaluate the Employers for Learning program annually.
  

What CAN businesses do?

Give employees a "flextime" option.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 percent of employees in the U.S. are now offered this option. Employers often mandate core hours in which employees must work, such as 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but give workers flexibility to determine which early morning or late afternoon hours they will work. This provides them with greater opportunities to visit schools. If the business needs its employees most in the early morning or late afternoon, a "lunchtime" flex program may be a good alternative. Some employers may choose to offer flexible days-off schedules to meet the needs of parents or other family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or any caring adult who has the responsibility for raising a child.

Offer job-sharing or part-time work.
Studies indicate that many parents would prefer to forego full-time income for a part-time job that would allow them to spend more time with their children. Some employers have discovered that job-sharing or part-time arrangements reduce burnout and job dissatisfaction.

Make the workplace an information center.
Special lunchtime seminars, such as the "brown bag" workshops offered by Newport News Public Schools, can address parenting issues and also provide information for grandparents, many of whom are either directly involved in raising their grandchildren or make a contribution to their grandchildren's education. On-site libraries can provide books and videos on parental involvement, and business can also offer employees literacy training.

Improve child care options.
Provide on- or near-site child care centers or support centers in the community. Many large companies take advantage of a federal law that provides for Dependent Care Assistance Plans, which allows employees to set aside up to $5,000 of their pre-tax salaries for child care.

Show students that hard work counts.
When students apply for after-school, part-time, or summer jobs, ask to see their school transcripts. That will help you make a good hiring decision and send students the message that working hard in school brings reward in the work world. Also, encourage students to develop their job skills as much as possible by taking the tougher courses in school.

Participate in a school-to-work program.
The School-to-Work Opportunities Act and similar state programs encourage employers to team up with parents and schools to help students learn job skills and perform well at work. Businesses are now working with high schools to create internship and apprenticeship programs. Many schools are also developing industry skill standards that will help employers identify workers who have the skills needed to work in their companies.

How your business can be part of the success story
Three decades of research show that parental involvement really works to make education better. When families get involved, children get better grades, graduate from high school and go on to higher education more frequently, and have more positive attitudes and behavior. For businesses, the benefits of family involvement in education are also great-and go right to the bottom line:

  • Being family-friendly is one of the best investments you can make in your current workforce. It can help you to recruit and keep top workers, improve productivity, and increase employee motivation and loyalty.

  • Family-friendly policies are also a wise investment in community relations. They can help make your company a recognized "community citizen," and that can be a valuable asset in business.

  • By supporting family involvement, you help today's students become tomorrow's well educated, highly skilled, and motivated workforce.

  • Businesses can enjoy many of these benefits with only a small investment of time and resources. Even the smallest business can set aside space in the corner of an office for a family resource center that could provide brochures and videos on parenting techniques or reading to children.

Interested in getting involved? Visit the Starting your program section.