The workshop included panel discussions on “Global Competence in the Workplace” and “Partnerships, Programs and Resources.”
Speakers and panelists ranged from Warsaw Community School Corp. Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert, to Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, to U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Specialist Jonathan Ruder.
IDOE Global Learning and World Languages Specialist Caterina Blitzer said the workshop is part of a statewide initiative in conjunction with the Longview Foundation for World Affairs and International Understanding.
“Indiana, by virtue of having a global learning specialist, is part of the state’s Institute on International Education. And in each state, we work to promote and advance global learning, and that’s everything from providing opportunity for teacher and student exchange and connecting teachers and school leaders with resources to make that happen,” Blitzer said in an interview before the workshop.
The grant for the workshops began in 2014. “The first workshop was hosted by Indiana Farm Bureau at their headquarters in Indianapolis. This is the second one, and we’ll have one more before the school year is out, and that one will be at Indiana State University,” she said.
As for a focus of Tuesday’s workshop, Blitzer said, “ I would say the theme is global competencies in the work place. What are those? What does it take to become successful in a global workplace like DePuy Synthes? What are the skills in the communication? What are the experiences that will benefit an employee? That will benefit a student while they’re going through K-12 and then into advanced training or advanced education, higher education? And what becomes a differentiator on your resume?”
The workshop was presented by the IDOE in collaboration with DePuy Synthes, OrthoWorx, the Region 8 Educational Service Center, WCS, Indiana University Center for the Study of Global Change and Area Studies Consortium and support from the Longview Foundation.
Regarding why DePuy Synthes was interested in being a part of the workshop, Communications and Public Affairs Senior Director Mindy Tinsley said, “We are a multi-national company and so the people that we employ and the work we do, we work with people in countries around the world, we’re very interested in efforts to kind of expand the horizons of our students in the area, and just open their minds to the world out there and different perspectives and different cultures.”
Tinsley said education is critically important to DePuy Synthes if it wants to have a talent pool in the area to draw from. “Having an awareness of other cultures and being able to work globally is certainly a critical skill set for companies that do business around the world,” she said.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said she was excited to be at the workshop.
“We’re having a summit, really talking about global education and the need to be sure that our students are educated in a global manner, knowing that we’re a pretty small world when it comes to making connections with everybody in business and education,” Ritz said.
She said global learning and education tie tightly into economics in Indiana.
“We have to make sure that we’re making all those connections, and making sure that students understand that they have to have a global perspective when they enter the work force. The world seems smaller when you go out into the workforce because you have to work with so many different entities within the world to make things happen in today’s world. It’s making those connections between the private industries and between educational opportunities that are abroad,” Ritz said.
OrthoWorx Communications Specialist Gennie Brissette said OrthoWorx has partnered with local schools in other initiatives in the past, specifically more STEM-oriented activities, “but we also recognize that with our member companies being global companies that there is a need for globalization in the local school system so that’s why we’re here – to support our local schools.”
OrthoWorx Chief Financial Officer Cathy Limina said the takeaway from the workshop for those in attendance is “the need to understand the importance of globalization of the education system and not be – when I say miopic, I mean the United States has been a very closed system that they’ve been able to feed and get everything they’ve ever needed on their own, and now with the globalization and the current expanding into emerging markets, they really need to understand the cultures of all the other parts of the world and not just focused on North America.”
Hoffert said the workshop is a great example of WCS’s partnerships inside the community.
“We’re very blessed by the orthopedic and agricultural communities, and to be able to have those partnerships leading into our student learning really goes on a global atmosphere because our local businesses are global businesses,” he said.
As to why the U.S. Department of Commerce had a representative at Tuesday’s workshop, International Trade Specialist Jonathan Ruder said, “Our role at the Department of Commerce is to help Indiana companies to export and succeed internationally. A major component of that is to help companies find a talent pool that is able to contribute and get started quickly and make sure they are able to help companies in a more competitive global environment.”
He said the global economy is changing. “So what’s a challenge (to Indiana) could be different in the future. I think it’s important for educators to incorporate international curriculum when they are teaching, and also I think that it’s good to educate about critical thinking, adaptability and problem solving skills so that students are better equipped to succeed regardless of which career path they decide to take later on.”
Besides schools offering world languages and technology, Ruder said, “I think that part of gaining a better understanding of other parts of international challenges and opportunities is also receiving international students. So I think that when international students come to Indiana schools, that allows an opportunity for learning and growth.”
At the workshop, Ruder discussed Indiana companies that are exporting, saying they are diverse and numerous and they will need a lot of graduates that have an understanding of the international economy and how to communicate and interact with different people from around the globe.
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