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"Preparing Many More Youth for Achievement" is Goal of Dennis Bland '87

February 13, 2011

90682February 13, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — "At a time of strained budgets and severe economic struggle, communities throughout the country are exploring ways to achieve economic recovery and generate more higher-paying jobs," writes Dennis E. Bland in today's Indianapolis Star. According to Bland, president of the Center for Leadership Development and 1987 graduate of DePauw University, the key to improving economic vitality is education.

"The Central Indiana Talent Alliance and its 'cradle to career' initiative will serve as a catalyst for establishing a strong cross-sector network that builds a vibrant and fertile education pipeline," Bland opines. "The P-20 initiative will serve as the engine to make educational attainment and economic vitality a reality for our citizens. If Central Indiana is going to significantly increase the number of adults who are highly skilled and hold meaningful post-secondary education credentials, we must first develop a new strategy for educating our children. Young adults won't be prepared for the challenges of college if they have not first been skillfully taught and nurtured as children and teens. Ultimately, the strength of our educational pipeline will be determined by how effective our community is in protecting and educating children. As our children go, so goes our pipeline."

Bland is on the executive committee of the Talent Alliance, which aims to to improve educational success in Central Indiana.  His Center for Leadership Development has worked for more than three decades to equip minority high school students with personal and leadership skills that translates to success in college and careers.

"If our community is going to achieve the lofty college graduation goals outlined by groups such as the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Lumina Foundation, it must adopt an education strategy that 90466includes preparing many more youth for achievement," he asserts, stressing that engaged parents and adult mentors are essential. "Preparing them for academic and career success requires leaders and educators to undergo 'refractive surgery' so that we gain a clearer, broader image of which students have the potential to be college material. Attaining educational goals will require that we see as college material some students who are currently seated in an alternative environment or who have been deemed uneducable. Our community is endowed with stakeholders with the gift of reach and impacting the values, behaviors and attitudes of children who may have been overlooked."

His column concludes,  "Finally, all Central Indiana community stakeholders can help build a more educated citizenry by sending a powerful, practical, unified message to every youth within our collective sphere of influence: 'You must work harder, study more and play less. College and career success is achievable for those who do.'"

Access the complete essay at IndyStar.com.

In 2009, Dennis Bland received Marian University's Franciscan Values Award for his leadership in the community.  Read more in this story.

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