JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A weeklong industry tour hopes to open communication between employers and educators.
Congressman Rick Crawford was in Jonesboro Monday for the start of his Manufacturing and STEM Education Tour.
A kick-off breakfast was held at the Cooper Alumni Center to discuss the goals of the week.
Education leaders from public schools, Arkansas State University, and other community colleges will join him to visit industries in Jonesboro, Blytheville, Paragould, and other cities across the state.
This is all to open communication between employers and educators to help students who look to go straight to the workforce following high school.
"They don't have the luxury of being able to go to college immediately," Crawford said. "That's a goal we should probably all aspire to, but it's not realistic for everybody. So we are trying to break down the one size fits all, showcase what's out there."
The group will visit industries such as Hytrol, Nucor-Yamato Steel Co., Riceland, Entergy, and American Railcar Industries.
Crawford said this is an opportunity to allow industry employers to voice their opinions.
"Most industries, they'll tell you if you ask what do we need," Crawford said. "It's not just we want a high school diploma, they want maybe a certification program. In some cases, those industries have been able to partner with community colleges to develop a specific training program."
Crawford said the goal is to close the gap between the education system and final career paths for students.
Monday's stops included Hytrol, American Railcar Industries, and Allen Engineering.
Tuesday Crawford will visit Baxter Healthcare and Bass Cat Boats.
Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. and Denso Auto Parts are planned for Wednesday.
Thursday's stops are Future Fuel and Entergy, and the week will wrap up at Riceland and CAVU Aerospace on Friday.
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