Next month, Newton High School is inviting business and industry leaders from the area to an evening event dedicated to helping the school start creating the kind of workers needed in the marketplace.

This is the third year the school has hosted “Building Bridges.”

“It is a way to connect education with business and industry,” said Melinda Rangel, assistant principal and director of career and technical education. “It is to bring them in and show them the skills students at Newton High School are learning to help them be employable.”

There will be a time to recognize students who have earned industry certifications like CNA, Work Keys, food handlers and software certifications.

Questions to be answered, starting at 6 p.m. March 8 at Newton High School, include what soft and technical skills are needed for students to be college and career ready; how students get hands-on experience in different fields; and how Harvey County can get students to stay and work here after high school and college.

“Our goal is to get our kids in front of businesses, and businesses in front of the kids,” Rangel said. “What better ways can we partner to make that happen? How can I get kids into those business and industry spaces — or is it better for business and industry to come to us? We want to make that connection.”

The evening will feature the work of the Newton High School Culinary Arts students. There will be about an hour of break-out sessions for discussions involving students, teachers and businesses.

The night will start at 6 p.m. with networking and appetizers. There will be an opening session at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Breakout sessions will start at 7 p.m.

Rangel said the Building Bridges night is open to all comers — whether they already serve on career technical and education advisory boards, own their own business or an entry-level worker who want to be a part of shaping training and education for future job seekers.

Career pathways which will be discussed include agriculture science, animal science, A/V communications; business finance; construction; early childhood and development, education and training; engineering and applied math; family, community and consumer serves; health science; IT: networking; marketing; mobile equipment maintenance; plant systems; powered and structural systems; precision machining; restaurant and event planning; and welding.

“We want that job to become real to them and help (students) to understand the opportunities that we have in Harvey County,” Rangel said. “One of the things we are going to do this year is to have a student and mentor panel. … It will have students and a mentor who went on a job shadow.”

The goal is to “alleviate some of the apprehension” about job shadows by high school students in local businesses.

"Come and learn what we do, and partner with us to help us do it better," Rangel said. "I believe that if people will come to the high school and see, be a part of this event, they will be able to engage and share a positive story about Newton."