Earlier today, Steven and Cassin had the opportunity to cover an interesting event held at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Hall.  The event was put on by a collaboration of local educational organizations including Suwannee District Schools & North Florida Community College along with Dr. Alvin Jackson of the Suwannee County Department of Economic Development.

The purpose of the meeting was to find common ground between local industry and the business community and public education/workforce training.

Apart from the obvious distraction of failing projection equipment, and poorly designed powerpoint presentations (we are designers… we can’t help but be turned off by poorly designed slides)…  There were several points that made a pretty good impact on us:

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  • Suwannee County is a poor community.  No surprise here really, but the impact it has on early childhood literacy was astounding (more on that later… maybe).
  • Compared to our neighboring counties, Suwannee County has a very positive future (approximately 20 years from now, the median income of a child raised here, will be higher than the state average… and higher than our neighboring counties.  I don’t know where the stat came from, so I can’t point to it).
  • If a child is struggling with literacy by the 3rd grade, that child is statistically likely to struggle with reading for the rest of his academic career – causing a lot of frustration in later grades.
    • These children rarely make gains after this point.
  • Companies looking to hire employees, are less concerned with the specific skill sets that the employee has… and more concerned with the willingness to show up and work dependably.
  • Johnson & Johnson (one of the guest speakers) is begging for qualified STEM (Science, Technology & Math) graduates to come to work.  There simply aren’t enough graduates with the proper knowledge base (too many psych majors – I’m talking to you Steven Schneitman!).



It was a good meeting.

Steven shot video.  Cassin shot stills.

Steven had the opportunity to talk shop with several of the local business leaders present, and hopefully that networking will land us some more interesting projects and clients that love what we do.

Meanwhile, watch this short video just to get an idea of the flavor of the event.