Organizing an Occupational Advisory Committee
An occupational advisory committee provides the public with an added assurance that community interests in education are being protected. The advisory committee serves as an organized base for two-way communication between the teacher and the representatives from the community. This continuing forum allows the teacher and advisory committee members to discuss their mutual interests and concerns regarding the instructional program. Thus, the community will be better able to ensure that the students in their secondary and post-secondary schools will be equal to the challenges and opportunities facing tomorrow's adults.
A school board or board of trustees, with its limited personnel, does not have the time to conduct continual and in-depth studies of all aspects of the school system or institution. An occupational advisory committee can assist the board by providing information regarding the instructional program. The advisory committee can help ensure that the limited community and school resources are used in the most effective and efficient manner possible. It can help guarantee that current business and industrial practices and procedures are taught rather than outdated ones.
The major efforts of a properly organized and operated occupational advisory committee generally are and should be focused upon benefiting the students. It should be evident, however, that the teacher, school, community, businesses, industries, agencies, and the advisory committee members themselves will also benefit from the strengthening of the instructional program.
The students will benefit from having adequate educational options available to them. Their educational programs will be more relevant and enriched because of the inputs from the advisory committee. Services to students can be expanded as the advisory committee assist with the community-based phase of the instructional program. In addition students can receive recognition from the advisory committee for outstanding learning performance.
The teacher will benefit from advice regarding new technology and its impact on the occupation. Advisory committee members often are able to provide assistance in obtaining equipment and instructional supplies. They can also serve as resource persons (subject matter experts), assist with field trips, help keep the public informed, and assist the teacher in numerous other ways.
Benefits to the school and community result from the two-way communication between educators and citizens. The advisory committee serves as an important forum for discussing school-community concerns. Because of advisory committee activities, the community is more likely to recognize that the school is attempting to fulfill the educational needs of the community.
Businesses, industries, and agencies in the community are potential employers of the graduates of the instructional program. These groups benefit by being involved in the development of relevant curriculum. Through their participation, they can ensure the program standards are realistic and in line with current practice on the job.
The benefits to the advisory committee members should not be overlooked. The leadership abilities of individual members may be developed through community participation. Members provide a service to the youth and adults of the community through involvement in the operation of their schools. Further, members can and should receive recognition from their fellow citizens for service provided to the community.