Through the joint effort of agencies through Partners for Success, Inc., McDuffie County is on the right track to improving the quality of life for all its citizens. This was the reason to celebrate, as well as to remember the mission at the eighth annual collaborative luncheon on Tuesday.
"What is happening here is what needs to happen in more places," the keynote speaker, Dr. Ed Sherbert, said of the collaborative effort.
Dr. Sherbert is the founder and president of Sherbert and Associates, an international human resources consulting firm. Dr. Sherbert also gives advice on workplace issues via his radio show called "Ask Dr. Ed," and teaches graduate and undergraduate classes at several universities.
Approximately 45 collaborative members enjoyed a lunch catered by Ivery's and listened to Dr. Sherbert discuss the effects of education on earnings and career trends. In a PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Sherbert showed statistics such as 23 percent of adults in America did not complete their high school education.
Without a high school education, Dr. Sherbert showed the increased chances of living in poverty, the need for Government assistance and the increased chances of being involved in and incarcerated for criminal activity. He stressed the importance of intervention to keep young people in school.
After discussing changes in the workplace and career trends such as technological advances, the transfer of facilities, and the decline of manufacturing jobs, Dr. Sherbert offered these solutions: We need to educate the workforce to compete in a global economy, to encourage positive influence to strengthen families, and to encourage adults to become involved in their communities.
Although he is an educated man, Dr. Sherbert said he was able to speak on these topics from personal experience. He told the story of a boy raised in a mill village, whose parents were too busy trying to make a living to be involved in his education, and who forced him to work full-time hours on the evening shift in the local mill throughout high school.
"He began having problems with his school work, he struggled to stay awake in school... But he didn't drop out. In fact, he's standing in front of you right now," Dr. Sherbert said.
Dr. Sherbert credits his success to "a scoutmaster who believed in me." After learning of the many programs sponsored by Partners for Success, he said, "I can see how these programs are so important."
Partners for Success brought in $400,000 in grant funds to support programs such as K-12 mentoring, K-5 reading tutoring, First Steps for new parents, promoting safe and stable families, community domestic violence and substance abuse prevention, teen parent support group, young parent support group for depression and anxiety and domestic violence prevention, youth offender counseling, life skills training, abstinence education for elementary, middle and high school, workforce development for out-of-school youth, 21st Century parent workshops, summer school, Cisco Academy, tobacco use prevention, Dearing Good Samaritan Health Clinic and Vision Care for children.