• Timothy Lewis

NEW PATHWAYS TO LEARNING (PART 1)

Updated: Oct 11

Given my background, I am convinced that the future prosperity of Dorchester County is in preparing its residents for careers in the workforce of the future.

I am very fortunate to work in a field that is my passion, one for which I am well-suited: workforce education for business and industry. For thirty years I have studied the readiness of our young people and adults for the workforce. I know how well, or not so well, they have been prepared.

If we want to attract new businesses and provide good jobs for Dorchester County residents, we must provide all its citizens with the market-driven skills and credentials they need to be successful in 2025 and beyond. Our young people and adults will remain in Dorchester County only if they can work here and meet the requirements of local employers. My goal as a member of the County Council will be to support education and lifelong learning opportunities our citizens need in a way that is relevant to each of them.

We now have many barriers that stand in the way of creating this workforce of the future.

First, our K-12 schools, our institutions of higher education, and our employers often exist in separate silos. Instead, let’s encourage and promote an environment, and culture where we work together to achieve what should be their common goal: creating a workforce that permits employers to hire locally and keeps residents in our communities.

Second, we think of a traditional college education as the most desirable pathway for all to acquire a good job. This has not been true for a long time. We know there are many pathways to a fulfilling career. We must convince parents, students, school administrators, and government officials to create new pathways to productive careers.

Third, government red tape often strangles new pathways before they can start. We must cut that red tape to permit experimentation, create new curricula and speed up funding to these programs.

Fourth, whatever programs we create must be affordable to all. We cannot in good conscience saddle our students and their families with debt as they try to acquire the skills necessary to obtain success in the workplace.

Fifth, we must recognize that training adults to adjust to new workplace demands is just as important as training young people.

I am experienced at creating the workforce of the future. I have spent the last thirty years designing programs and curricula to prepare adults to enter such fields as construction, banking, finance, and manufacturing. I know what businesses are looking for in hiring new employees. I have a master's degree in adult education, and I've been the dean of a technical school. I was put on this Earth to be an advocate for education.

As a member of the County Council, I will be that advocate. Together we can create the workforce of the future and make Dorchester County prosper.

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