Community Partnerships

History of the SKPS Partner Program

The Business Partnership in Education Program began in Salem-Keizer Public Schools in 1981 with 10 partnerships. It was the first of its kind in Oregon and continues to be a leader in its field, growing to more than 200 partnerships. The program has been recognized both nationally and locally for its innovative and exemplary achievements. In 2021, the name of the program was changed to SKPS Partner Program to be more inclusive in recognizing business, non-profits and services-oriented partnerships.

SKPS Partner Spotlight

Each month, a Business or Community Partner of the Month is featured at the regular School Board meeting.

Program Goals

An important characteristic of a partnership is that business employees, school staff, and students have a strong sense of involvement as they become an integral part of each other’s organization. Although service and activities implemented by partnerships may encompass all aspects of the school program, there is an emphasis on career education and the practical application of the four R’s (reading, writing, arithmetic, and responsibility) in the work world.

  • To bring business people in the school system to share their expertise with students, teachers and administrators
  • To give students, teachers and administrators a realistic picture of the business world and an understanding of the free enterprise system
  • To supplement classroom curriculum with learning experiences in business, industry, non-profit organizations and government
  • To share school’s human resources and facilities with the business community
  • To share the dynamics of the educational system with the business community

Sample Activities

  • Fifth graders at numerous Salem-Keizer elementary schools job shadow with their business partners. Students complete job applications and interviews before being “hired” to work for a two-hour shift.
  • Students at Houck Middle School have taken responsibility for a wetlands adjacent to the school and owned by Curly’s Dairy. Working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Quality, students track the quality of the water and soil, plant trees and shrubbery to encourage the return of wildlife and crafted a trail around the lake complete with benches.
  • Fully operational, in-school branches of one bank and two credit unions can be found at three of Salem-Keizer’s eight high schools. Students, after receiving training from the parent branch, operate branches during breaks and lunches.
  • Student patrons may open savings and checking accounts, make deposits and withdrawals and even take out small loans. Many in-school employees also work at their parent branches after school and on weekends. Students gain valuable skills and West Coast Bank and MaPS Credit Union appreciate having a trained pool of staff from which to hire.


See our school directory and contact a Salem-Keizer school to get your partnership started!