Investing in Work-Based Learning and Our Future
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.
ACCE Partners with National Skills Coalition
ACCE’s new strategic partnership with the National Skills Coalition and its Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU) program pairs BLU’s business-driven skills policy expertise with ACCE’s robust member network to elevate the voice of employers in workforce policy discussions.
With the support of the Ballmer Group and J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, ACCE and BLU will develop a network of seven state-based BLU affiliates in 2019, to be joined by a second cohort in 2020. These BLU affiliates, led by representatives of the chamber community in each state, will be charged with organizing a diverse coalition of businesses and business associations from across each state in order to develop a shared skills policy agenda on behalf of the state’s business community.
BLU will provide infrastructure support and policy guidance to each state affiliate, and ACCE will assist the lead organizations with targeted coalition building and network growth.
Hitting the road with the AWB
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 3–400 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.
Strive, a Model for Education Cooperation
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.
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/
Critical Census Findings
No other trend in public policy, technology or industry will have as much impact on economic prosperity of your region over the coming decade as demographics.
Analysis of the 2010 Census done for Brookings’ State of Metropolitan America report shows that the country is growing slower, growing older, and becoming more diverse every year. Those trends may not surprise you, but the report also finds that we’re less mobile and that the median household is also less rich.
While some of the census findings may be exaggerated by the economic downturn, all of these demographic trends are interconnected. Understanding the connections and developing strategies to adapt to an older, more diverse population and workforce will likely widen the divide between prosperous regions and struggling ones over the coming years.
For a quick and dirty digest of key census findings, check out Five Things the Census Revealed About America in 2011 from the Brookings Intuition.
A Room Full of Iowans
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.