Working together through continuous learning to improve the quality of life for all in DeKalb County, Indiana
An education initiative of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County

October 1, 2012 Learning Link Dinner to Feature Progress Report

Written October 1st, 2012 by
Categories: In The News



WATERLOO — Learning Link, an initiative of the DeKalb County Community Foundation,
will host a community input meeting Monday, Oct. 8, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at New Hope
Christian Center in Waterloo.

The public is invited to attend. A free dinner will be provided with an RSVP to Diane Wilson
by e-mail at or by telephone at 925-0311.

Two years ago, DeKalb County Learning Link’s kindergarten to 12th grade action team
began problem-solving. Its vision saw high school graduates attaining not just academic
excellence, but readiness for jobs and careers. It asked how high schools, supported by the
community, could better prepare DeKalb County youth for the world of work.

As a result, a committee of the DeKalb Chamber Partnership, partnering with Learning Link,
focused on developing school-business partnerships. One of the strategies that resonated
with the team was creating a speakers bureau, recruiting community leaders from a variety
of DeKalb County nonprofit and for-profit organizations who are comfortable talking with
classrooms or small groups about their careers and workplace environments.

The end product is a searchable database available to teachers at all levels countywide.
Speakers are categorized on the list and include people employed in agriculture and the
environment, business and industry, manufacturing, health sciences and human services.

“We have a database of nearly 120 workers, most of whom are in DeKalb County, from
which teachers can easily choose guest speakers based on students’ areas of interest”,
said Chris Straw, CEO of Team Quality Services and long-term committee member. “These
speakers are especially eager to talk with middle and high school students, whether it’s
exposing students to different career options or making learning in classrooms relevant.”.

One speaker being recruited for the list said, “I wish someone had told me when I was in
high school how I’d need that math in the workplace. Instead, I had to learn the hard way
and returned to school as an adult to catch up.”

Now the team’s challenge is letting teachers know that the guest speakers list is there for
their use by going to and clicking on Community and Parent
Resources, Kindergarten-12th Grade. An instructional video, created by eight DeKalb High
School students under teacher Mark Rohm’s guidance, may be viewed at the site as well.

This committee is comprised of school leaders and other community leaders, including a
CEO, two bankers, a representative of the DeKalb Chamber Partnership and a Learning
Link Steering Committee member with a passion for helping youth prepare for their futures,
improving the quality of life for all in DeKalb County.

2012-10-LL dinner to feature progress report