Education luncheon emphasizes students are ready to be hired

Workforce: Chamber strengthens link between employers and schools

of the HeraldMarch 19, 2014 

Education partners had a message Friday during the Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce’s State of Education luncheon: Students who are coming through their schools are ready for full-time employment.

Chamber members visited with many people from high school and post-secondary schools at the Washington State Fairgrounds’ Fair View Club. The education partners came from Brandman University, Clover Park Technical College, Pacific Lutheran University, Pierce College, the Pierce County Skills Center, Puyallup School District, Sumner School District, the University of Washington-Tacoma and Washington State University.

“We have a $225 million impact on the local community,” said Tim Yeomans, Puyallup School District superintendent. “We want those attending today to know that our students are being prepared for entry-level positions in our workforce, and that they’re ready for post-secondary education.”

Yeomans presented to chamber members, as did Sumner School District Superintendent Sara Johnson and Marty Cavalluzzi, president of Pierce College-Puyallup.

Johnson said each student in Sumner schools is appreciated for the gifts they bring.

“We look at how we can develop each student to be an asset to the community,” she said.

Johnson said student success is about partnership with adults and the commitment they bring to each student.

Both superintendents talked about the importance of servant leadership.

Johnson said students in Sumner raiser more than $50,000 each year and distribute it directly back to the community. Yeomans highlighted Communities in Schools of Puyallup’s March Gladness program, which provides students opportunities to volunteer.

Friday’s luncheon was a first for the chamber. An additional hour was added to the traditional State of the Education address that allowed for interaction between employers and post-secondary education providers.

Puyallup School District also featured four of its magnet programs.

“We hope to talk to business leaders that come through to give them a glimpse of programs available to students, and hopefully they will look at these students to hire,” said Mark Knight, executive director of college and career readiness at the Puyallup School District.

Shelly Schlumpf, the executive director of the chamber, called the event a success.

“I am very pleased at the results, both in attendance, connections made and the information our education partners shared,” she said. “We’re going to build this program over the next three years. We’re hoping, by the third year, that businesses needing to meet with education partners will know to come to the chamber luncheon.”

Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.

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