Education and Economic Development are inextricably linked, and the LVGEA works hard to ensure that our public education systems produce the workforce necessary for the 21st Century Global Economy. Find out about some of our education initiatives below.
Fostering Collaboration between Business and Education
Since its inception in 2013, the LVGEA has made the betterment of Southern Nevada’s K-12 and higher education system a strategic priority. The LVGEA believes that education can learn a lot from business and business can learn a lot from education, and the organization has partnered with a number of community and business partners to engage with the system and affect positive outcomes for Southern Nevada’s students
The LVGEA Education Council
In 2014, the LVGEA formed the LVGEA Education Council, a group of business and community leaders dedicated to modernizing the P-20 education system so that Southern Nevada students can compete in the global economy. Chaired by LVGEA’s Chairman Emeritus Glenn Christenson and Terri Janison, the Vice President of Community Development for the United Way of Southern Nevada, the group helps the LVGEA understand public policy around education and provides a framework for engagement with the education community.
Forming Partnerships between Business and Education Unions
As the regional economic development authority, the LVGEA has forged relationships with a broad swath of business and community groups. Ahead of the 2015 Legislative Session, the LVGEA formed a unique partnership with the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) and several other community groups. Though there are many areas where business groups like the LVGEA and teachers unions like the CCEA disagree, there are many more areas where business and unions can find common ground.
Bringing Business Practices to School District Administration
The LVGEA believes that, while some business practices have no place in education, others can be leveraged to provide positive outcomes to kids. In 2014, at the request of Clark County School District (CCSD) Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, LVGEA partnered with CCSD, the Lincy Institute, Nevada Succeeds and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce to form the Superintendent’s Executive Advisory Group. The group advises the Superintendent on CCSD’s business practices and is helping him to develop a framework to measure the return on investment (ROI) for district programs. The Superintendent’s Executive Advisory Group’s work focuses on three expenditure categories:
- Academic Program Evaluation
- Administrative Program Evaluation
- A measure of the effectiveness of individual schools given their expenditure level
The work of the Superintendent’s Executive Advisory Group is informed by best practices in business accounting and academia, and is helping CCSD in its effort to transition from line item budget to a program-based budget.
Leveraging Business Expertise to Strengthen the Teacher Pipeline
In business, success often depends on the strength and skills of the workforce. In the business of education, this is especially true. All over the country, school districts are struggling to find teachers for their neediest schools, and CCSD is no exception. Businesses have a similar struggle. All over the country, companies struggle to find qualified candidates for high skilled positions. Over the past few decades, Southern Nevada’s business community has proved adept at finding the workforce that it needs to be successful. The LVGEA believes that business can be a helpful partner in finding the workforce that our schools need to be successful.
Coming Together to Grow the Teacher Pipeline
The LVGEA has partnered with a consortium of teacher training programs and education leaders to evaluate, help support, and grow the number of qualified candidates for teaching positions in Southern Nevada. The consortium, led by UNLV Dean of Education Kim Metcalf and Teach for America head Victor Wakefield, has spurred a region-wide conversation about the long-term workforce needs of the Clark County School District.
The LVGEA has also been an advocate of Teach for America and using workforce development resources for the expansion of programs that would allow under-employed bachelor degree holders to “train up” to become teachers in Clark County. Finally, the LVGEA partnered with the Clark County Education Association and other groups to help pass SB511 in the Nevada Legislature, a measure that would direct $25M over two years to signing bonuses and teacher preparation programs.
Aligning Higher Education Research to Economic Development
Academic research drives innovation, especially when that research is aligned to economic development. Following the lead of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the LVGEA has made the alignment of academic research and economic development a strategic priority.
Using Business Expertise to Evaluate New Technologies
Large research universities, like the University of Nevada Las Vegas, develop dozens of new patents and technologies each year. Some of those technologies are commercially viable; others are not. To maximize the potential of new technologies, the LVGEA and its investors partner with the UNLV Tech Transfer program to provide business expertise to university faculty.
Fostering the Burgeoning Water Industry
In partnership with the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and a number of other community partners, the LVGEA helped to launch the Nevada Center of Excellence, a unique partnership in the water technology industry, the Water Center of Excellence seeks to be the world leader in water technology, research, and commercialization.
Supporting Research Aligned with Southern Nevada’s Economic Development Priorities
The LVGEA is an integral partner to a number of initiatives housed at area higher education institutions that further the region’s economic development priorities. The LVGEA is a key supporter of the Center for Personalized Medicine at UNLV, a program that uses big-data analytics to develop commercializable technologies for the heath care sector. The LVGEA is also a key supporter of the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, an effort led by the Nevada System of Higher Education that develops research and policy around autonomous and unmanned aerial systems in Nevada.
"Cracking the Code" on STEM Education
In 2014, the LVGEA partnered with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program as they developed a landmark report on Science, Technology, Education, and Math (STEM) education. The report, entitled “Cracking the Code on STEM Education: A People Strategy for Nevada” suggested a number of policy reforms to strengthen Nevada’s high tech workforce. LVGEA is working on a number of these recommendations, among them:
Strengthening the Relationship between Economic Development and “Career & Technical Education”
Southern Nevada has a number of specialized high schools, known as “Career and Technical Academies,” that help to train the workforce for the region’s advanced industries. LVGEA actively works with the Clark County School District to ensure that curriculum is aligned to economic development priorities and that new firms relocating to the region are aware of the opportunities for partnership with Career and Technical Academies. To learn more about Career and Technical Academies, please visit: http://magnet.ccsd.net/.
Supporting STEM Oriented Professional Development for Teachers
In order to produce a workforce with STEM skills, our local education institutions need instructors that are ready to teach STEM curricula. That’s why, in partnership with the Clark County School District, the Clark County Education Association, Nevada Succeeds, and a number of other community partners, the LVGEA has supported and advocated for better professional development within the Clark County School District for STEM education.