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NEBA Examines COVID-19 Changes for Business, Education
The Northland Education and Business Alliance (NEBA) recently discussed issues ranging from remote learning in local schools to virus screening at area businesses.
The June 2 meeting involved nearly 30 participants, almost evenly split between attendees at Gladstone iWerx and others who logged in via Zoom Video Communications.
The meeting began with a review of 2019-2020 NEBA-sponsored events, from health care and technology “fairs” for students and parents to CEO roundtables that include discussions on challenges to growing area employment.
Adam Jelenic of LMV Automotive Systems noted that the roundtables were especially helpful for area businesses, offering assistance with difficult topics like dealing with COVID-19. “It’s one thing to hear things on the news and another to talk with people from around this area,” he said.
Ray McCartey, president of Associated Industries of Missouri, shared with the group that Clay County and NEBA are being used as a model for statewide expansion of programs like the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS). His organization is working to create a central location for information. “We can learn from each other,” he said.
Jelenic also noted that both schools and businesses have experienced challenges in the past few months adapting to issues raised by COVID-19. A widespread issue in recent weeks involves bringing back employees safely, with issues from testing to workplace modifications for social distancing and more.
“Offices are changing,” he said. “We even have our rules posted at the entrance, like no handshaking. We want people to know up front what we expect.”
Schools have also changed procedures. Colleen Jones, Liberty School District, said that summer school numbers have held at over 1,000, but the June session is largely online, and July programs will be combinations of virtual and face-to-face classes. Other schools reported some reduced summer attendance and extensive planning for COVID-19-related alterations.
Many solutions won’t be easy. NEBA Chair Brian Noller brought up that the Northland Career Center and similar organizations will be challenged because of their unique programming. “It’s hard to do vocational education virtually,” he said. “We’re examining several options, but it will be challenging.”
An EDC affiliate, NEBA is comprised of nearly 90 Northland leaders from business and education. The next meeting will be a work session July 7 and include planning for fall fairs to help students and parents better see the many new options to careers in healthcare, advanced manufacturing and information technology.
Noller concluded that NEBA had achieved several successes over the past year, promoting information to parents and students, while sharing information between educators and business leaders.
“It’s important for people to stay connected,” EDC Executive Director TJ Berry said. “This is a good place to bounce ideas and learn new ones.”
For more information on NEBA and its programs, visit www.nebaworkskc.org or call (816) 468-4989.