080513i-Dennis-BenzanFrom the Dennis Benzan campaign, Aug. 5: One of the reasons I’m running for Cambridge City Council is because I want to build better, stronger partnerships between our corporate and residential communities. We need to encourage corporations to view our neighborhoods as their first best partners, and in turn we must educate all our citizens, young and old alike, to imagine companies such as Novartis, Microsoft and Google as places where they might have successful careers, not just as buildings in whose shadow they walk. There is no question in my mind that our future will depend on how well we grow together as a city, and to grow together we must break down the habits and barriers that keep us apart; all sectors of our city must work to get know each other, so we can become better neighbors and better allies. I truly believe that the dream of a more perfect union can be attained right here in our beautiful city of Cambridge.

As city councillor, there are three key initiatives that I will coordinate to ensure our residential and corporate communities grow together Cambridge strong:

Bridging our neighborhoods and our private sector
My first initiative will be to organize open houses at all the major companies in Cambridge. This is something we have not seen enough of in Cambridge: opportunities for our various communities to introduce themselves to one another. These open houses will be opportunities for dialogue, socializing, networking and more practically will increase local knowledge of the economic and educational opportunities that can greatly benefit the city’s employment-seeking population.

Launching a citywide symposium on STEAM education
For Cambridge to truly prosper we must prepare all our children to meet the demands of the globalized information age economy. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math-focused education will play a critical role in our children’s ability to succeed in the globalized economy of the future, and yet many of us have no idea what STEAM actually is or how we might encourage it in our young people. As councillor I will organize a series of citywide symposiums that will explore the critical importance of STEAM education to our young people’s future. Like those organized by Mayor Henrietta Davis, these symposiums will allow our communities to be in conversation with some of the best thinkers, educators and innovators in this field so that we in Cambridge might strategize better ways to integrate STEAM education into our city’s curriculum. In Cambridge we already have a deep bench of scholars and educators, plus organizations such as Bob Moses’ Algebra Project, that are doing precisely this work; our symposiums will offer opportunities for the city to hear from our home-grown experts and from invited specialists, and the symposiums will create opportunities for critical partnerships and grassroots-style brainstorming around the issue of how we might better prepare our young people to succeed in the highly specialized global economy.

Citywide job and career fair
A citywide job fair is much needed to bring employers and job-seekers together. The first initiative discussed opening a dialogue, but this third one involves transforming that dialogue into a partnership through employment. A citywide fair would provide an excellent opportunity for corporate human resource departments to become acquainted with the tremendous talent we have in Cambridge. The fair would help to transition graduating students to their first professional career opportunity as well as assist seasoned professionals secure new jobs. Whether your plan is to pursue a graduate degree or find a meaningful internship, this job and career fair will grant Cambridge residents the opportunity to advance in their professional goals.