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The Welsh Wire: Impact Players – Business Leaders and Communities in Schools Team Up To Make a Difference

Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) has been faced with several challenges to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19. Through their support of Communities in Schools (CIS) of Kalamazoo, local business leaders have helped navigate these obstacles and address the needs of KPS.

For this week’s The Welsh Wire podcast, Sheri Welsh gets insights from CIS of Kalamazoo Executive Director James Devers; Rex Bell, President at Miller-Davis Company; and Darren Timmeney, Senior Vice President at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Market Executive for the Southwest Michigan area.

Devers says CIS has used grant money to increase staffing support and assist schools that have been challenged to re-engage with students and their needs.

“Sometimes we forget that when students go to school, they’re not just getting an education. They’re getting food, they’re getting other resources that are available to them. And again, because CIS works in the school to provide resources [and support services], there’s a whole host of other things that were not available, because they weren’t in the building,” he says.

According to Bell, business involvement with the mission of CIS is a good return on investment.

“Very simple idea, just removing these obstacles to learning,” Bell says. “Connecting the students with the support that they need. It’s almost a no-brainer, it’s so obvious. And CIS is the only organization that’s doing that, they have a proven model and it’s really fantastic.”

Timmeney says employers, for the future workforce needs of the Kalamazoo region, have to participate more in the success of students.

“It takes the family, it takes the student, it takes the educators, it takes philanthropy, and it also takes the businesses,” he says. “I think that you will see businesses become a lot more involved because it’s really a question of survival and growth for us.”

Listen to this week’s podcast to learn more about how businesses can support Kalamazoo schools.

Subscribe to The Welsh Wire podcast on iTunes for additional informative, entertaining interviews with West Michigan business leaders.