Partnering with local businesses to enhance student opportunities - P.J. Wallbank Springs, Inc.
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January 24, 2019
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January 24, 2019

(Photo: Times Herald)

Partnering with local businesses to enhance student opportunities

Community engagement and partnerships have become a hallmark of the personalized success we are building at Port Huron Schools. We understand our community’s involvement in our schools has a reciprocal impact.

Across the district we have encouraged, invited and asked for outreach from various agencies and businesses to partner with us. Our goal is to enhance both our students’ well being as well as their educational experience. This month, we are pleased to announce a strategic partnership that has been in development for quite some time.

Port Huron Schools welcomes P.J. Wallbank Springs Inc. as our official business partner for the engineering STEAM labs and programs at Port Huron High School and Port Huron Northern. We are thrilled to join forces in order to provide personalized success at a completely new level for our students and potentially, for future employees at P.J. Wallbank Springs.

This partnership will be a mutually beneficial and exclusive engagement between Port Huron Schools and P.J. Wallbank Springs Inc. that will provide some of the following benefits:

  • Real world application for students to identify in local manufacturing pathways of all levels.
  • Student access and relationship building with local, professional mentors in the engineering STEAM program’s field of study.
  • Talent development for the next generation of workforce at P.J. Wallbank Springs. We are developing talent locally, with the intention of creating a career pipeline to retain that local talent.
  • Engagement between the school communities and the families who may benefit from career exploration and training at P.J. Wallbank Springs.

These are just a few of the benefits we are working on providing for our students and families through this partnership with P.J. Wallbank Springs. As superintendent, I am thrilled at the prospect of working with someone locally who has the vision and commitment to our community, his company and its employees such as CEO Chris Wallbank. We both share an understanding that the more direct and tangible connections we can make between learning and career pathways, the more opportunity we are providing for the workforce of tomorrow and the more we are specifically supporting our local economy and the growth of our professional talent base.

Our students will come to understand the jobs that are available at a company like P.J. Wallbank Springs and realize they can train to work there during high school, immediately after graduating high school, or after gaining some additional certification and training or perhaps after pursuing a post-secondary college degree. The opportunity for the pathway to personalized success is there for any student who chooses this direction.

Education and career relevance is a hot topic in both the private business sector and the public education and legislative sectors.

Developing the plan, finding the correct partner and starting the action steps beyond talking about this issue are challenging.

I am proud of our district for leading on this needed asset for our students and local economy, and proud of P.J. Wallbank Springs for making this critical investment in our schools and community. When businesses can impact learning with real world skills and bring us into their environment, and when schools can adjust their curriculum to make it more jobs focused, that is a powerful combination. We simply could not afford to wait for and hope that grant dollars or help from the state in this arena would come our way. We understand the urgency and we are grateful for the opportunity.

Thank you to Chris Wallbank and the employees of P.J. Wallbank Springs. You are leaders in your field and leaders in this innovative school partnership model. I look forward to the positive relationships we build together for the benefit of our community, economy and most importantly, our students. Our community can look forward to us sharing more information about our partnership and its specifics in the new calendar year.

James Cain is superintendent of Port Huron Schools. Contact him at or on Twitter @SuperJCain.

Article from The Times Herald Port Huron: