Leaders in Ben Hill County gathered on Monday evening for an education summit on how to better prepare students to enter the workforce.
Representatives from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Communities in Schools and Ben Hill County Schools held the meeting as a way to update the community on where their strengths lie as well as the areas they need to focus on to have a successful rate of student placement after graduation.
"When you're dealing with people and the issues they bring you, you don't start with a perfect product and were not able to finish with a perfect product but we want that product to become everything that they are able to become to enter the workforce," said Ben Hill County Superintendent Nancy Whidden.
Though school officials say numbers aren't everything, they want to keep increasing the achievements the county has seen in the past year. In order to do so, they say they need to have a working relationship with local business' to make sure they can have all the tools needed.
"It's important to already have those partnerships with the businesses in town so that immediately when things come up and are needed for the teachers, for the administrators, we've already got that partnership and that connection made so we can say hey we need this for some of our students," said Fitzgerald/Ben Hill County Communities in Schools Executive Director Becky Gay.
During the summit, each of the county's principals updated the audience on where their school stands. Despite the different grade levels, the common theme was ensuring there are plenty of options available to keep students going.
"Jobs that are out there in the 21st century are going to require something beyond high school. It's just not good enough today to drop out in the 10th grade and expect to get a job. That may have been happening years ago but that doesn't happen today so we've got to preach that message to them," said Wiregrass President Dr. Ray Perren.Officials hope the summit will become a yearly event that will help leaders share ideas and adapt to the ever-changing education world.