Teachers at Independence Local Schools Gain Insight into Preparing Students for the Global Workforce

Thanks to an ongoing partnership between the city and schools to prepare students for life after high school, teachers at Independence Local Schools received an inside look at the skills students need to thrive in today's evolving job market during a recent professional development day.

The event, held at the Independence Civic Center on November 7, brought together educators and local employers under the theme "Culture of Work: Employer Perspectives on Hiring and Working in the Current Global Economy."

In opening remarks, Superintendent Ben Hegedish spoke about the district's partnership with the city to ensure students are "future ready."  Jessica Hyser, Economic Development Director for the City of Independence introduced the morning’s speakers.  They included Lesa Evans, Chief Human Resource Officer, Senior Managing Director and Jim Perrine, Financial Planning Team Leader, Managing Director from MAI Capita; Kevin Kramer, Practice Leader and Dale Kime, Business Development Manager from Alliance Solutions Group; Nate Kelly, President & Managing Director from Cushman & Wakefield/CRESCO Real Estate; and Ben Tyrrel, Assistant to the Special Agent in-Charge (ATSAIC), U.S. Secret Service. They all offered their perspectives on the skills and abilities high school graduates need to launch successful careers.

Teachers toured a Secret Service armored vehicle and brainstormed curriculum updates to align with workforce needs. They left equipped with new knowledge to instill career readiness in Independence students - no matter where their paths may lead.

"Whether pursuing jobs locally or beyond, our students must be prepared to collaborate across cultures and think critically to solve complex problems," said Hegedish. "This training gave teachers insight straight from major employers. We continue to build these robust connections while we help our own teachers understand future readiness and how to embed that into the classroom.”

“The City of Independence has always had a close working relationship with Independence Local Schools,” said Mayor Gregory Kurtz.  “Today more than ever, it is important to provide a well-rounded education that includes gaining real-world skills and experience beyond the classroom while young people consider post-graduation careers.”

In the spring, the City’s Economic Development Department worked with Independence Local Schools to develop the Road to Readiness program to help students gain insights into potential career paths from local business leaders. The goal of the “Culture of Work: Employer Perspectives on Hiring and Working in the Current Global Economy” program was to expose all Independence Local Schools’ teachers to various career paths and opportunities so they could take this knowledge and integrate what they learned into their classroom lessons. 

More than 800 businesses representing a wide variety of industries operate in Independence.  These types of career exploration/readiness programs provide unique opportunities for the students in each graduating class to gain first-hand experience before they graduate from high school.