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Encouraging Entrepreneurship in High School

Amy Shields on Monday, November 18, 2019 at 12:00:00 am 

This post was authored by Danielle Britton, Talent and Education Director, Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Binghamton Scholastic Challenge is an annual event in Binghamton, NY that brings together innovative minds of high school students and local businesses in a unique way. Founded by Modern Marketing & Commerce, GBSC gives high school students the opportunity to develop ideas and businesses that directly impact our community, all while competing for a chance to win scholarship money and internships.

The Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce and MMC partner to provide students with business connections and an inspiring final event. On Tuesday, May 21, MMC held its 10th annual Greater Binghamton Scholastic Challenge at Binghamton University in partnership with GBEOP. There were over 50 teams from 8 different local high schools who worked all year on the perfect business plan to showcase at the event.

Students worked with their teachers and business mentors to develop business ideas, create award-winning business plans and hone presentation skills. While given the choice to work individually or in teams, students were strongly encouraged to work together to learn communication and people skills. As part of the competition, the student or group was required to provide a professional tradeshow booth and business idea pitch. Local entrepreneurs and business leaders could then mentor or judge their business plans, which provided great connections and networking opportunities for the students.

To see a video from the 2019 Scholastic Challenge, click here.

Tags: education, Entrepreneurship, talent

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Investing in Work-Based Learning and Our Future

Amy Shields on Monday, October 21, 2019 at 8:00:00 am 

This post was authored by Amanda Beights, Vice President of the Leadership Collier Foundation.

The mission of the Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, is to build a broad-based network of engaged community leaders. The foundation accomplishes this through its well-recognized leadership programs and talent development initiatives.

Cultivating Student Leaders & Developing Our Workforce

For more than 15 years, Youth Leadership Collier (YLC), the foundation’s program designed for students between their junior and senior years of high school, has empowered over 500 local graduates to become effective community leaders. The week-long program teaches leadership skills and personal development through hands-on experiences and eye-opening industry tours.

We also often hear from the local business community about their frustrations with talent development in our area which led our leadership to define workforce development needs to be a top policy priority for the Naples Chamber. Knowing the impact Youth Leadership Collier has made and the Chamber’s investment in connecting education and business, we realized the potential to develop similar work-based learning experiences for all local students.

Connecting Students to Professional Opportunities

Our focus is connecting students and businesses to internship opportunities, mentoring prospects, shadow days, industry fairs, networking events, work-site tours and in-school career programming. Over the past two years – through partnerships with our public and private high-schools, higher-education institutions and nonprofit organizations – we’ve paired thousands of students with successful work-based learning opportunities.

For example, one of the main draws of Youth Leadership Collier is the opportunity to get behind-the-scenes tours of local businesses. Expanding on that idea and the needs of our community, our team has set up site-tours with local manufacturing facilities to introduce up-and-coming talent to potential new career pathways.

We also host Mentor Mingle opportunities designed specifically for high school and college students to network with local business professionals. This gives students the opportunity to practice their soft-skills and develop relationships with community members out of their immediate circle.

The benefits for students, businesses and the community are extensive. Students enjoy applying what they learn in the classroom to the real-world and establish professional contacts for future employment. Employers gain access to a pool of skilled future employees and find opportunities to pursue new projects with student assistance. The community benefits because we have created an environment of collaboration, cooperation and respect for all involved. Work-based learning is a win for everyone.

Over the last year, our director of work-based learning has served as a resource to students and employers. Taking the time to nurture future talent from our educational institutions and informing employers on the value of hiring an intern.

More Resources to Come

Southwest Florida can expect a lot from the Greater Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation in the future.  

Our team is going beyond the traditional methods and encouraging students to think differently about careers in Collier County and pathways to prosperity. We are here to support all by serving as a leader and partner in the connection to business, education and talent development in Collier County. Our goal is to create economic opportunity for all and motivate our future leaders to better our community and their lives for years to come.

For more information, visit www.NaplesChamber.org/CollierLeads or contact amanda@napleschamber.org.

Tags: workforce, education, talent

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Meet the Interns: Summer 2019

ACCE Staff on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 12:00:00 am 

 

Stephanie Reed - sreed@acce.org

Introduce yourself!

Hi, I am Stephanie! I am in my fourth year at the University of Georgia studying Political Science and Criminal Justice. After graduation I plan to attend law school.

What is your ideal career and why is that something you strive for?

My dream career is to work in intellectual property law, potentially working my way into a judgeship. With intellectual law is at the core of international discussions and ethical debates, intellectual property, with a focus in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, seem like the perfect blend of my varied interests.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy rock climbing and kiteboarding. I am also on the UGA Sailing Team and a member of Sigma Delta Tau.

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

It would have to be something Italian! After studying abroad in Verona, Italy, I fell in love with the culture and the food.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

A few summers back I climbed the Grand Teton in Wyoming. It was a challenging climb that taught me more about perseverance.

How would you define a Chamber of Commerce?

Chambers of commerce are organizations that aim to advance the interests of business that encourage economic and local growth. 

 

Haley Wadsworth - hwadsworth@acce.org

Introduce yourself!

Hi, I am Haley! I currently attend school at William Jewell College, studying political science, american history and economics with a pre-law emphasis. After reading To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, I knew I wanted to seek to change legal policy.

What is your ideal career and why is that something you strive for?

My ideal career is to be a judge for the US Court of Appeals. A judge holds much greater power to enact a positive change in judicial reform, and I believe that I can enact proper change to uphold the Constitution in a way that is just.

What do you do in your free time?

I enjoy reading, watching the news or listening to politically focused podcasts. When I am not in class or studying you can typically catch me watching or reading any variety of news outlets.

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

BBQ, hands down. Growing up in Texas, BBQ is one of our main food groups.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

In 2016 I interned for the Conservation Corps in Colorado. I was able to be part of a project at Long's Peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park, where we reconstructed and build a hiking trail from the base of the mountain to its peak. It was astonishing to see the impact that a small group of people can make when they work together.

How would you define a Chamber of Commerce?

A chamber of commerce is a local, state or national organization that seeks to further the interest of big business, but also seeks to better the life and welfare of their community.

 

Tags: #ACCE19, D.C., Internships, talent, Washington

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Hitting the road with the AWB

Ben Goldstein on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 12:15:00 pm 

The Association of Washington Business is going on tour. Assembled into two decked-out buses, the AWB team is crisscrossing Washington state visiting local manufacturers to celebrate  National Manufacturing Day. The six-day, 70-plus-stop tour has brought the group to a 154-year-old textile manufacturer, a four-year-old brewery and a maker of first responder vehicles, as part of an effort to promote locally-made goods and public policies that support makers.

“This is our inaugural statewide bus tour celebrating and highlighting the importance of manufacturing to the economy and the state of Washington,” said Kris Johnson, president and CEO at AWB. “We recognize that a vast majority of manufacturers are either privately-held or family-owned, so it’s not just about building strong companies, it’s about building strong communities and families as well.”

The crew is travelling in two buses, outfitted out with colorful logos and eye-catching designs. At every stop along the tour, workers are invited to autograph the bus and pose for a group photo with the signed bus in the background.

“How often has it been legal for you to write on a vehicle?” mused Johnson. “There must be 3400 signatures on it with the different logos. It’s really cool to see the all the personalization on this bus.”

Among the tour’s stops was Lampson International LLC, a family-owned maker of heavy lift cranes that employees 450 people in the Tri Cities area of southeastern Washington. They also stopped off at John I. Haas Inc., the leading provider of hops throughout North America.

“Every single manufacturer we’ve visited is so appreciative that we’re doing this,” said Johnson. “We are seeing a mixture of the types of products we all use in our everyday lives, but sometimes forget they are made right here in our local communities.”

Aside from meeting with manufacturers, the tour also includes an educational component. At Delta High School, a STEM school in Pasco, Washington, Johnson spoke to students about available science and technology opportunities in the local economy.

“At Delta, they’re preparing students for the types of STEM-related careers you can get when you’re done with high school,” said Johnson. “We know that 70 percent of all job openings by 2020 will require some type of STEM or post-K-12 experience, so these programs are really essential for developing talent locally.

Johnson says he hopes the tour will spread awareness about the important role that manufacturers play locally, as well as the policies they need to thrive. He says that issues related to regional competitiveness, like lowering tax rates on manufacturers, will be key to increasing prosperity in the state.

“The folks we’re meeting with clearly understand how important competitiveness relief is, especially when they’re competing against companies all across the globe,” said Johnson, adding that, “these companies could really use some predictability, reliability and common sense relief from a competitiveness standpoint.”

Want to see your story featured in the #ACCESpotlight? Share it with Ben Goldstein.  

Tags: Manufacturing, talent, Tour, workforce, Association of Washington Business, education

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Developing Talent in Sarasota

Jessie Azrilian on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 12:00:00 am 

As a pillar of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s Sarasota Tomorrow Economic Development Initiative, the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is using a collective impact strategy to secure 30,000 new degrees by 2020. The Partnership is creating a comprehensive career pathways system, at both the high school and post-secondary level, which enhances area students’ opportunities for career exploration, skills development and placement in high-demand, high-wage careers.  As a new Partnership, Talent4Tomorrow is focused on building operational support, research, data, communication efforts and incorporating assessments.

Interview Participant: Steve Queior, CCE, President & CEO, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

Awardee Spotlight

Q: How did your community begin to focus on Education Attainment and Workforce Development?

Throughout the recession, our region experienced several rounds of painful job cuts, yet we saw employers struggling to fill open jobs due to a lack of talent. We started to feel the pain of this skills gap in our community and began to look at what chambers in other communities around the country were doing to address their workforce issues. Over a period of two years, our Chamber connected with national groups like the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, and learned how communities were rallying together through strategic coalitions. We knew we needed to do the same in the Greater Sarasota Area.

Q: What were the most important factors that helped spur the chamber’s efforts to strategically address local workforce issues?

The most important factors involved having the right people at the table. In addition to private sector employers, our Chamber’s board consists of the school superintendent, leaders from both city and county government, and four college presidents. During our board meetings and retreats, we have the necessary stakeholders listening to employers saying ‘hey, I read about the high unemployment rate; yet I can’t get a precision machinist at my specialty manufacturing facility;’ or ‘I can’t find skilled healthcare workers or construction workers.’ We were able to aggregate these conversations to find that it came down to four industry classifications that were the most in-need of workers. From there, we focused on a dual strategy to re-train unemployed individuals while also developing a long-term career awareness and career pathways strategy for our young people. The next factor was key community organizations- such as the community foundation and Career Edge, a group specializing in adult training and retraining- stepping up to provide funding and operational support.

Q: What are other efforts related to education and workforce development that your chamber leads?

There are four chamber-led boots-on-the-ground efforts:

Internship Database: A portal on the chamber’s website provides a space for employers to post searchable available internship opportunities for students; then we facilitate matches between the two. With support from ACCE’s Lumina Award for Education Attainment, we plan to reengineer this portal to include resources such as a “how to” workshop for employers who have not traditionally utilized interns; and a database with information on internship providers and success rates (i.e. how many of the students who get an internship go onto the next step in their schooling, what impact these internships have on graduation rates and what students go on to do in their careers).

Career Exploration: After eight months of research leading up to the launch of Talent4Tomorrow, we realized a major weakness in our community was that students lacked awareness about potential careers and how to prepare for those careers. Our partners are working on piloting a 6-week “Summer Bridge” program with Road Trip Nation, a group that creates innovative career exploration experiences and resources. Through the program, students receive scholarships covering tuition, books, etc. and complete up to six college credits by taking two courses- including “Student Life Skills,” which is a project-based curriculum developed by Road Trip Nation.  

The Chamber is launching a Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) for the Central West Coast of Florida in Fall 2015. During the twenty-one week program, middle and high school students will go on company tours, build a business plan, and launch a legally operating business. Business professionals will serve as mentors and speakers. The program has had great success in other cities, and statistics show that students that go through the YEA program progress in school, earn degrees and pursue productive careers. 

Addressing the Skills Gaps: After a labor survey conducted last year revealed a critical skills gap, a coalition of community stakeholders created a curriculum called Precision Machining. The Sarasota County Technical Institute provided the space; local counties donated a third of a million dollars for equipment; and local companies lined up to hire individuals who finished the course. Our manufacturing action team is currently working to bring the Manufacturing Skills Standards Certification into area high schools and has developed a community-wide career awareness campaign for high-demand careers in this industry.

Q: Best practices or lessons-learned to share with other chambers working on education reform?

The Chamber conducted an asset map to assess education needs in our community and get a sense of which organization was doing what. We found that efforts related to early childhood education, as well as those addressing adult workforce training and re-training, were strong.  But efforts to ensure middle and high school students were on a path to college needed to be strengthened. Right now the average age that a young person returns to college after entering the workforce directly after high school is 28. This information gave our chamber a focus moving forward.

**More lessons and insights from the 2014-15 ACCE Lumina Award Winners will be available in the upcoming Fall edition of ACCE's Chamber Executive Magazine

 

 

Tags: education, Goal 2025, higher education, Lumina, talent, Workforce Development

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Strive, a Model for Education Cooperation

Ian Scott on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Education and workforce work was a reoccuring theme at the Metro Council meetings this winter.  That was no surprise, talent has been a top issue for chambers of commerce for decades and the business community has poured lots of time and resources into various initiatives all along the education pipeline.

What I’m learning, however, is that leading work on education and workforce issues increasingly comes from alliances between business, schools, universities, foundations and civic groups that adopt a holistic, cradle to career approach. One or two groups collaboring on a narrow set of issues just isn't moving the needle. This broader approach is essentially regional stewardship thinking applyied to the challenge of skilled workers.

One of the most promising – Cincinnati’s Strive Partnership – was the subject of Neal Peirce’s column last week for Citiwire.net.  Here’s an excerpt:

The Strive idea is that once multiple players in a region come together, sharing information and insights, they can pull back and see how the education system functions as a whole — and then set targets ranging from early childhood education to college graduation.

It’s not an easy formula. It means active, ongoing engagement by mayors, city and county city governments, foundations, businesses, social service agencies and others — plus teachers, administrators, university faculty. It’s a call for no-excuses collaboration. It means groups performing the tough act of putting their personal educational theories to the side.

Read the full column here: Communities Setting Audacious ‘Cradle to Career’ Education Goals

Learn more about the Strive Partnership at: http://www.strivetogether.org/

Tags: regionalism, strive, talent, workforce, cincinnati, education, regional cooperation

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A Room Full of Iowans

Ian Scott on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 1:30:00 pm 

How do you entertain a room full of 30-something Iowan transplants on a Thursday evening in Washington, D.C.? For the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the answer is simple: fresh pie, the Nadas and Templeton Rye. 

Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of joining a group of young professionals from all walks of life in a neighborhood in Northeast D.C. Most arrived as strangers but they shared a common link: Iowa. Granted, there were a few native Minnesotans and Nebraskans thrown in, but even they were Iowa-educated. 

They were drawn together by the Greater Des Moines Partnership-sponsored East Coast Living Room tour by the Nadas, a talented Des Moines-based rock band that has been a staple of the Midwest university scene since the mid ‘90s. The pie and rye (Templeton is distilled in Iowa) were gravy for the guests.

This is the second such Nadas tour the Greater Des Moines Partnership has helped throw. Last spring they did a West Coast train tour that inlcuded stops in Portland, Seattle and Spokane. Their goal: stanch talent drain by reminding native sons and daughters about the great professional and personal opportunities back home. For a talent-hungry region with low unemployment, is there any better strategy than luring returnees? Iowa housing prices alone would perk the ears of anyone living inside the beltway.

So what’s this North Carolinian's Iowa link?  I never turn down an invitation for drinks with Jay Byers.

Tags: events, Jay Byers, talent, workforce, Des Moines

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