Bridging the gap
Conduit U looks to bridge the disconnect between business and education through career-oriented videos, skills-based lesson plans and an authentic hands-on learning experience.
Research suggests that embedding contextual learning (in the context of a career) helps students to better apply their knowledge and to see the relevance of what they’re learning. Evidence shows that hands-on learning and real world applications are more effective at engaging pupils interest in- and recall of- material.
A decade ago, the work of Economic Development organizations centered almost entirely around the concepts of building and land availability, business retention and expansion, tax incentives, and local utility capacity. As municipalities have fine-tuned their efforts to be more competitive in these areas, it has created a much more level playing field throughout regions, states, and the nation as a whole. It has also forced Economic Development professionals to shift strategies and resources toward the latest differentiating factor: workforce.
The declining rate of labor force participation throughout the US has become the new frontier of Economic Development. One cause of this decline is a simple matter of an aging workforce; a trend that will only intensify in the coming years. Additionally, middle-class jobs require higher skill levels today than in years past, though not all skills will require the higher education that Americans were indoctrinated into over the past few decades.
If Economic Development organizations hope to offset these trends, they must find new and creative ways to enlarge the labor force and increase productivity- a task that most agree will require the collaborative efforts of businesses, educators and public/private organizations. With this in mind, the Norwalk Economic Development Corporation developed Conduit U; a program designed to introduce Norwalk area kids to local career possibilities.
Our mission, through Conduit U, is to connect students to future career opportunities through engaging instructional videos, career fairs and industry tours. This is made possible through a strong partnership with Norwalk’s public and parochial schools, area businesses and secondary educational institutions to create a pipeline of workers by exposing students to the many career options available right here in Norwalk.