There will be a virtual meeting of the minds on Thursday between the education and business communities in Fort Worth with a focus on meeting “workforce needs in a post-COVID-19 world.”
“Fort Worth: Where the Best Begins” will be a virtual summit that will feature input from various leaders, including:
- Dr. Kent Scribner, Superintendent of the Fort Worth Independent School District
- Mayor Betsy Price, City of Fort Worth
- Eugene Giovannini, Chancellor of Tarrant County College
- Brandom Gengelbach, CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
- DeVoyd Jennings, President and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce
- Anette Landeros, President and CEO of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
“We are eager to continue this conversation toward developing a dynamic and prepared Fort Worth workforce that is homegrown,” Dr. Scribner noted in a statement, in reference to previous, official conversations between the interested parties about how to best prepare the students and young professionals of today for the local job market.
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The heads of the various chambers of commerce each noted that there are known logistical concerns that sometimes prevent otherwise able students from participating in the education and job training that could give them a leg up.
“Case in point we have, in east and southeast Fort Worth, probably a good labor pool, but because maybe of transportation issues these students are not able to connect with Alliance Airport, or with DFW Airport, or with Arlington. that’s all just within 5 to 20 miles away from them,” said Jennings of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to transportation concerns, Jennings stressed that too many young people are simply unaware of the variety of educational and vocational opportunities that are available to them, including apprenticeships and internships.
“We need to find a way to make sure that education gets to them,” Jennings said. “I think that’s a real problem in society today. We have some jobs and we have some opportunities, but I don’t think we are matching them to where the students are.”
There are already strong ties that exist between the business community and the educators, according to Gengelbach of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. But the challenge of connecting the prospective workforce of tomorrow with the education they need today is an area that can be improved upon, Gengelbach said.
“We continue to hear from businesses that workforce is the number one issue,” Gengelbach said. “And the reality is it’s a big challenge, the workforce piece, but not as much effort is being spent in trying to help that from the business perspective.”
Gengelbach and Landeros, of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, both noted that they are interested in hearing from the education community about ways that business and industry can help.
“It really is just finding the solution that Brandom has said, to make sure that everyone’s needs are met,” Landeros said. “And that every rising young adult has the opportunity to really thrive in whatever is the right fit for them.”
The virtual summit begins at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and can be viewed on the Fort Worth ISD’s YouTube channel, and on Spectrum Channel 192.