By Adam Saks
Most people’s first job will be in the retail or hospitality business. These industries offer flexible schedules that are perfect for teenagers looking to gain valuable experience and earn some income. I’m proud to play my part in providing these types of opportunities to the up-and-coming workforce.
But entry-level employment opportunities are only part of the equation in preparing for a career and serious income. As a community, we need to invest in our schools and our educators. Because within those classrooms are future managers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, pilots, astronauts, artists and, yes, retail and hospitality executives.
As a life-long advocate for education, this was never more important to me than when my kids starting going to public school. My fervor for education became even more pronounced through my service on the board of directors for First Things First, Pinal Regional Partnership Council. The Pinal region encompasses Pinal County, including the City of Maricopa and the Ak-Chin Indian Community.
The Pinal Regional Partnership Council makes it a priority to support the healthy development and learning of the young children in the region. Recognizing that a quality education begins at a very young age, the Council’s programs include:
- Improving the quality of child care and preschool programs
- Scholarships for children to access high-quality early learning
- Improving the quality of family, friend and neighbor care
- Strengthening families through voluntary home visiting and parenting education
- Developmental, sensory and oral health screenings
- Effective collaboration among system partners
One of the things I know for sure, both as a dad and an employer, is that kids who are engaged at a young age, learning coping skills, playing (working) with others, will have the type of “spirit” and work ethic that makes them a good employee. In the workforce, 20% of what you bring to the table is skill, but 80% is the “person that you are,” which is developed and nurtured at home and in our schools.
Investing in quality education means supporting our teachers – giving them the financial resources they need to make their classrooms a place of learning, innovation and discovery. Investing in education means voting “yes” when our schools have a bond issue on a ballot. Investing in education means volunteering your time to programs like DECA or other on-campus programs.
We have an unparalleled opportunity for the Pinal County region to be recognized as the hub for technology, growth and economic prosperity. Let’s continue to invest in the people that are cultivating and preparing our youth to become the people who will help us realize this goal. My business depends on an educated workforce. I bet yours does, too.
Adam Saks is general manager of UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle. He is vice chair of the Pinal Regional Partnership Council for First Things First and currently serves on the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance and is a founding Board Member of the Maricopa Community Foundation. Saks and his wife, Lynn and their children reside in Chandler.