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    Education and Closing the Skills Gap

Education and Closing the Skills Gap

Linda Rogers started her professional career teaching math to high school students. Although her focus would eventually shift to her various business ventures, she has had thousands of employees over the years and worked to not only train them to be successful at their jobs she has also tried to instilled important life skills along the way. As hands-on business owner, she is educating nearly every day.

Linda has a continuing passion for teaching and education related issues on the state level as well. Her commitment to Hoosier students and teachers is to pursue the following education initiatives:

Promote local and state initiatives over federal bureaucracy

Linda is not a proponent of Common Core and believes that the states and local school districts should have more of a say in their educational programming. Because no child, no teacher and no community are the same, we cannot take a generic view of education or we risk students falling through the cracks.

Allocate more funding dollars to the classroom

Linda believes that the majority of funding for education should send dollars directly to the classroom where they will have the greatest impact on the futures of our next generation.

Continue to offer expanded education options to parents and students

Parents should have the freedom to choose the best schools for their children using the tax dollars they are already paying towards education. This should include access to high performing public schools, charter schools and private schools. School choice and voucher programs help lower-income student’s access better education forcing public schools to improve or lose out on tax dollars. Private schools are also more efficient spenders of public dollars with an overwhelming majority of them spending less than their public counterparts with better results.

As a business owner who has employed a large and diverse number of folks over the years, Linda knows exactly how important it is to prepare our youth to enter the workforce. Recent estimates indicate that there are 20,000 open jobs in Elkhart County alone and not enough skilled trade’s people to fill them. In order to address this growing problem, Linda will:

Advocate for increased investment in Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Increasing our efforts in CTE means introducing students to skilled trades as an option as early as middle school, offering more co-op opportunities to high school students and creating a clear career pathway including post-secondary apprenticeships and trade schools.

Partner educators with business owners to define CTE curriculum

To ensure that our students are learning the skills they need to succeed in the workplace after high school, we should look to the hiring managers, business owners and experts in the private sector who know these industries best.

Promote a cultural shift that celebrates the skilled trades

Linda recognizes that some of the problem is a result of decades of pushing the myth of “college-as-the-only-option” for our students. The fact is that college is not for everyone – and that is OK! What would our world be without mechanics, semi-truck drivers and machinists? We need to celebrate these career paths instead of promoting the idea that they are somehow “less than.” While this is not something that we can legislate, Linda is committed to using her office as a platform to have this continued conversation.