May 19, 2014 - 5:00pm

Small Business and Common Core

Senior Manager, Communications, Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation


Quality Float Works Sandra Westlund-Deenihan (right) writes that the Common Core State Standards will provide Illinois students with a foundation to succeed. (Photo: Ian Wagreich/U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Small business owners like Sandra Westlund-Deenihan understand that companies—large and small—need a pipeline of qualified workers in order to grow and compete in the future. Westlund-Deenihan’s support for the Common Core is rooted in her difficulty finding applicants with the skills her business needs. She recently penned an op-ed in the Daily Herald advocating for the Common Core State Standards in Illinois.

As a third-generation manufacturer, I have seen the workforce change dramatically. There are fewer workers available with the skills required to be productive in advanced manufacturing—and the required skill levels for workers are continually rising.

 Many shop-room floors, including my own, have loyal employees who have worked there for decades. Workforce challenges are presented as these loyal workers retire and skilled entry-level candidates are difficult to find.

The bottom line is that the current educational system is not preparing students for 21st century jobs.

Today's generation of students are entering the workforce lacking basic skills in math, science, technology and even communications. Meanwhile, jobs are becoming more technologically savvy, require expert training in equipment and must adapt to an advanced workplace to meet the needs of a global marketplace.

Westlund-Deenihan believes the Common Core State Standards will provide students with the foundation to succeed in college or a career.

Common Core standards emphasize the skills and knowledge students will need to be competitive across the country and in the global marketplace. The standards are aligned with the skills employers and colleges are looking for —ensuring our students are ready for college and/or careers when they finish high school.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host an event on the Common Core State Standards on Wednesday, May 21. 

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About the Author

About the Author

Mark D'Alessio
Senior Manager, Communications, Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

D’Alessio manages all aspects of the program’s communications, including the website, blog, social media, marketing, internal communications, and strategy to promote the Center for Education and Workforce's initiatives.