Taking Advisory Boards to the Next Level: Industry Partners Share Insights and Advice on Crafting Engaged, Sustainable Advisory Boards
Great work-based learning experiences takes great partners. Advisory boards not only support pathways in developing hands-on, community career learning opportunities, but also help inform pathway curriculum, provide feedback on project-based learning presentations, and ensure career-focused learning is relevant to today's job market.
On Tuesday February 15th, we heard from employers about what it takes to keep them engaged. Panelists from across different regions and industries shared their own experiences serving on a Linked Learning advisory board and provided valuable insights into how pathways can successfully engage employers and build advisory boards that best serve the pathway, industry, and community. Moderated by Tatiana Newman-Wade, Work-Based Learning Liaison at Oakland High School (Oakland USD), the panel included:
- Vonn Christenson, Partner, Christenson Law Firm;
- Alejandra Güitrón, Senior Port Communications Specialist, Port of Long Beach;
- Matt Seals, CEO, Seal Construction; and
- Bill Tynan, President, Garner Holt Education through Imagination.
The panelists engaged the audience in an authentic and rich discussion of the value they receive both personally and professionally from serving on an advisory, the impact advisory boards have on student experience, and how educators can work with advisory in a meaningful and engaging way. All agreed that the best thing about serving on an advisory board was working with the students and community. As Vonn Christensen shared, “Pathways provide the vehicle to build your community. What better way to elevate your workforce then to get in at the ground level? It is very rewarding.”
Having a clear “ask” so advisory board members can leverage their expertise was a key takeaway shared by all the panelists. Industry partners want to do, take action, participate and contribute their expertise. While educators may shy away from asking and spend more time reporting, industry partners want to spend more time doing and sharing their expertise with educators and students, the panelists shared.
When industry partners are able to share their expertise and meaningfully contribute to the student experience, it becomes deeply impactful for everyone involved. “It blows students worlds wide open with better understanding for what might be out there that aligns with their interests, talents, and passions; things they may have never known existed or only thought existed as hobbies or things you do on the side,” Bill Tynan said. “It can also help to make the kids worlds much smaller too. It kind of demystifies what it means to talk with professionals doing the kind of things they want to do and hear from us about mistakes we’ve made along the way and things that we have learned along the way. The experiences both make the students’ worlds a lot bigger and smaller at the same time.”
Wrapping up the webinar, Alejandra Guitron shared that relationships matter: “Allowing students and professionals to get together, maybe holding a barbeque or some other gathering goes a long way to encouraging participation and help industry professionals realize the fruit of their efforts.”
We want to thank all the panelists, moderator, and participants for joining this deep discussion on industry partnership. We look forward to seeing you at a Linked Learning Alliance event soon!