When you gather together more than 800 of the top business leaders in West Virginia to talk business, several topics are going to get covered.
That’s the case of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce 78th Annual Meeting & Business Summit at The Greenbrier Resort, where one of the topics later this week will be how to make sure West Virginia students are college or career ready in the 21st Century. A panel of education/business leaders will talk about exactly that on Friday, August 29, with West Virginia University College of Business and Economics (B&E) Milan Puskar Dean Jose “Zito” Sartarelli serving as the moderator.
“How we make sure West Virginia students are prepared for college, the workplace and life is a very important question,” Sartarelli said. The dean, who worked at three Fortune 500 companies during his 30-year career as a pharmaceutical industry executive, said good advising is an important first step to help students realize what is the best fit for them after high school.
“I think this panel can come up with some insights that participants at the Business Summit could really embrace and take away from the program,” said Sartarelli. “This is a comprehensive issue that all West Virginians should really feel they have a stake in for the future.”
Panelists will include the Honorable Lloyd G. Jackson II and Mike I. Green, members of the West Virginia Board of Education; Dr. Michael Martirano, State Superintendent, West Virginia Department of Education; Dr. Jo Harris, President, BridgeValley Community & Technical College; and Jan Hanlon, Secondary Curriculum Director, Logan County.
Sartarelli said part of the charge of the panel is to discuss how to better prepare West Virginia students as they graduate from high school for their next step, whatever that next step may be. He added that the formula for a successful economy is a combination of people in four-year colleges and universities, community and technical colleges, and individuals who go straight into the job market. He pointed to the business epicenter of Europe as a good example.
“Germany is the economic leader in Europe, and this formula for success has been very important as the country has evolved,” he said. “Colleges, universities, and community and technical colleges produce graduates that join with people who have gone straight into the work force to build a strong economy. All of those components play a critical role in Germany’s economy. That would be a great model to follow.”
The panel kicks off the final day of the three-day conference, which is expected to see record attendance this year.