WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Winston-Salem businesses are collaborating with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to help students connect with career paths.

The message during a WS/FCS presentation on the state of education was the best way to help students succeed is by exposing them to job options in Winston-Salem.

“Is just so important to get our kids involved in education and to stay local and support our local economy,” Corporate Director of Community Engagement for Novant Health Jessica Ijames said.

Businesses partnering with the school district know how important this program is to develop and keep students in their hometown.  

“We need a strong workforce. We have a doctor shortage. We have a nurse shortage. So to be able to build strong quality people who love the community and want to stay here,” Ijames said.

New Career programs, technical education classes, more internships and community hiring events play a big role in students’ decisions.

“We know the benefits and the quality of life here and want to make sure that people are connected with the community that they call home,” Ijames said.

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The school system even launched a new career program called World of Work for students to have more hands-on experience.

So far, 5,000 students and more than 75 employees have participated in the program.

“Having kids graduate and stay here … is the goal. But my bigger goal is just that everyone is really fulfilled, and that they find work they’re passionate about, and they find work that they feel they’re making a difference,” Superintendent of WS/FCS Tricia McManus said.