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School district, factories team up to offer forum

LITCHFIELD --During a forum scheduled for 12:30 p.m. today, teachers from Litchfield High School and representatives from Litchfield manufacturing companies hope to build a new relationship by talking about how mathematics and science can benefit students seeking a manufacturing career.

"It's an opportunity to talk about what's being taught in the classroom and how that matches up to the skills our manufacturers are looking for," said Dee Schutte, executive director of the Litchfield Chamber of Commerce.

Custom Products of Litchfield Inc. will host the roundtable discussion at its facility near Lake Ripley. The meeting was organized by the Litchfield Chamber of Commerce.

"(The businesses) want to know what we're teaching in regards to math and science and try to make a connection," said Bill Wold, superintendent of Litchfield Public Schools. "We're pretty excited about it because we have, for the most part, young math and science teachers who I believe would be very interested in this."

Schutte said local manufacturers have wanted to connect with the district's teachers for some time.

"One of the topics that comes up with our manufacturers is their desire to have better connections with our K-12 teachers as a way of getting information into the hands of students about the good jobs that are available in manufacturing," Schutte said.

Last year, Schutte said, the Chamber organized a youth career fair with local manufacturing companies.

The Chamber expects about a dozen companies to participate in the forum. According to the event's formal invitation, the Chamber requested company employees who use math and science skills on a daily basis attend the meeting. Following the meeting, Custom Products will conduct a tour of its facility.

Schutte said the Chamber plans to hold similar forums in the future.

"Our goal would be that it's a jumping-off place, that it's a start in terms of building a relationship," Schutte said. "... Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get these up and running, and we'll see how it goes and where it leads to next."