Students and Parents Invited to Inspirational Keynote on Career-Connected Learning


Today, the Regional Planning Partnership (RPP) Executive Team announced Mark Perna, national speaker and author, will be coming to Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR) on April 6th to speak with educators, employers, community leaders, and families about career-connected learning.

“Region 10 Regional Planning Partnership is excited for educators, employers, and partners to collaborate, identify best practices in career connected learning, and strengthening connections of local labor market demands and career pathways,” said Tara Troester, Career and Technical Education Content Lead for the Cedar Rapids Community School District and Chair of the Region 10 Regional Planning Partnership.

Perna is the author of “Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations. He has become a passionate advocate for bridging the generational divides that are contributing to America’s profound skills gap.

In his work with educational and business organizations, Mark has pioneered many best practices for achieving more with today’s young people, including the TFS Education with Purpose® philosophy and highly popular Career Tree® strategy. Mark, who interviews on radio shows, television, and podcasts, is often cited as the national expert in education enrollment, retention, and performance.

“Mark was chosen to serve as keynote and luncheon speaker due to his experience of helping shift career pathway conversations with students, families, districts, and communities. His ability to help individuals see the possibilities aligns with the goals of the Region 10 Regional Planning Partnership,” said Troester. “Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of priorities of our youth, engagement strategies, and collaborative opportunities between educators, families, employers, and educational partners.”

During his visit on April 6th, Mark will conduct a workshop with regional educators and host a luncheon with area business and community leaders. He will also be speaking during an evening event that is free and open to all students, parents, and community members. The evening event will be held from 6pm – 8pm at the Hotel at Kirkwood.

“This event will spark great conversations with parents, students, educators, and business leaders around the purpose of education,” said Kate Moreland, Interim President of ICAD and Co-Chair of the ICR Future Coalition. “Helping students find their passion and explore career pathways can be life changing for that student, Mark Perna can help lead that conversation in our region.”

Region 10 Regional Planning Partnership funds are fully supporting this event with planning collaboration from ICR Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, College Community School District, Cedar Rapids Community School District, Iowa City Community School District, and Grant Wood Area Education Agency.

“This learning session provides a unique opportunity for educators and local business leaders to connect and correlate classroom instruction with careers available for students after graduation,” said Grant Wood AEA Chief Administrator and ICR Future Coalition Co-Chair John Speer. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce, and it’s exciting when we can come together to align on best practices and outcomes.”

About the Region 10 Regional Planning Partnership (RPP)

The Region 10 Regional Planning Partnership (RPP) assists school districts in providing an effective, efficient, and economical means of delivering high-quality secondary career and technical education programs.

About ICR Future

ICR Future is a coalition of educators, employers, and organizations working together to develop the future workforce in Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR). ICR Future is powered by ICR IOWA, a joint venture between the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and the Iowa City Area Development Group that ensures ICR prospers through community-aligned business attraction and workforce development.

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