Nothing has better illustrated the importance of cooperation between the public education system and the business community than the two-year pandemic. Prior to 2020, many business owners and decision-makers within corporations tended to focus on education in terms of fostering future generations of skilled employees. But as schools shut down, other essential aspects of the public school system came to light, including the fact many parents could not work outside the home when their kids no longer attended school.
This had far-reaching consequences for the entire community while illustrating an important lesson. If communities want to fulfill their potential, they must improve their education systems. This is a lesson that many Northern Nevada companies take seriously as evidenced by the ways they support education. Spearheading the relationship between local companies and the public school system is Education Alliance of Washoe County.
Find out more about Education Alliance’s programs and initiatives, in partnership with companies, and how they’re making education better.
Making Education Better for Northern Nevada’s Students
Developing the best ways for enterprise and education to partner in Reno-Tahoe has evolved over the decades. The Education Collaborative of Washoe County, Inc., was founded in 1994 when Partners in Education, Inc., combined with the Washoe K-16 Council. Both organizations had operated in the area since the 1980s, and they merged services to achieve a more streamlined and effective approach to facilitating communication, cooperation, and partnerships between local educational institutions and business entities.
This organization would go on to unite with the Washoe Education Foundation spearheaded by Nevada Senator Bill Raggio, creating Education Alliance of Washoe County, Inc., still active community-wide today. Education Alliance operates as a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Its stated goals include improving efficiencies, streamlining programming, and developing opportunities to positively impact the education system through partnerships with local businesses and other community organizations.
More specifically, Education Alliance facilitates education partnerships between businesses, nonprofits, civic and community organizations, and local and state government agencies. Education Alliance remains committed to “uniting [the] community to illuminate and clear pathways for every Washoe County student’s brightest future.” This is outlined in their Strategic Plan 2021-2024, which focuses on three main strategies: engagement, cultivation, and advocacy. How are these goals being realized today? Through Education Alliance’s many programs and initiatives.
“We are fortunate to live in an area filled with generous partners and donors. When there is a need, companies and individuals alike spring into action,” says Kendall Inskip, Executive Director of Education Alliance. “After the pandemic hit and students began distance learning, our community rallied together raising $680,000 to bridge the digital divide among WCSD students. Those same supporters continue to fill gaps for students and educators through Partners in Education, Caring for Classrooms, and other programs we offer which are laser-focused on the current needs of WCSD students and educators.”Kendall Inskip, Executive Director of Education Alliance
Education Alliance’s Programs and Initiatives
Education Alliance’s flagship program is Partners in Education (PiE), which began in 1988. Over the decades, this program has resulted in hundreds of success stories highlighting the importance of partnerships between various local sectors: industry, business, government, and nonprofits.
These partnerships have ramped up the quality of education in Northern Nevada and provided a skilled and dedicated volunteer base for schools. In turn, they’ve generated positive publicity and brand awareness for the organizations involved. By expanding corporate engagement, Education Alliance has also provided opportunities for employees to volunteer, improving employee retention rates and motivation.
More Programs That Benefit the Community
Besides Partners in Education, Education Alliance helps local schools in a variety of other ways. These include Caring for Classrooms, which serves more than 100 Washoe County School District (WCSD) schools. Caring for Classrooms raises funds used to address various issues facing area schools. From funding educational excursions to student engagement, teacher and staff recognition to student health and wellness, more than 61,000 students have been positively impacted by this program.
Other resources include ISEEE!, a resource portal for teachers that assists them in coordinating on- and off-campus educational excursions with community partners, enhancing specific academic objectives. There’s also the Teachers’ Warehouse, permitting educators to shop for much-needed classroom supplies at no expense. And the P-16 Advocacy Council works to streamline the educational system, encouraging students to achieve their life and career goals.
Supporting Education in Northern Nevada
The best partnerships between local business and education encourage students to pursue fulfilling and rewarding careers. They also create mutually beneficial opportunities for all interested parties. How does Education Alliance achieve this in Northern Nevada? By cultivating relationships, founded in common objectives, that provide numerous ways for participants to stay involved and active.
Fortunately, the education system’s pursuit of skilled and engaged graduates dovetails beautifully with the interest of companies in drawing from a talented workforce. As a result, making education better should involve partnerships between the private and public sectors.
Are you interested in learning more about how Northern Nevada supports education and the development of a skilled workforce? Or perhaps you’d like to work for a company that puts students first through its relationship with Education Alliance? Browse hiring companies now to find out more about the rich opportunities available in Reno-Tahoe to those who want to give back to the community and invest in the region’s future.
Work Live Play Reno Tahoe is a community-wide initiative powered by EDAWN to recruit skilled workers with all levels of expertise to join the Northern Nevada workforce. Get started by submitting your resume, browse hiring companies, and connect directly with Lindsey, our Community Liaison who will help lead your quest for employment. Working Remotely? Check out our extensive list of Remote Worker Resources. Students can also participate! Visit our new Student Portal to start making connections for your future.
Engrid Barnett is an award-winning travel writer and digital content marketer based in Western Nevada. Recognized by the Nevada Press Association in 2019, her work has been featured in Nevada Magazine, Northern Nevada Business Weekly, Tahoe South, Rova, American Trails, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and more.
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