Creating a Workforce Readiness Institute for Educators
This post was authored by Stephanie Newland, Vice President, Workforce Readiness, Shoals Chamber of Commerce.
Students ask, “Why do I need to know this?” and “When will I ever use this again?” Do educators really know? They may know about doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers and teachers, but what about machinists, CNC operators, multi-craft maintenance and so many other technical professionals who have high-demand, high-skill, high-paying careers? Would they know to advise their students to consider these jobs? Most likely not. Hence, our nation’s current skills gap!
We never discourage anyone from getting as much education as they desire or need to reach their goals, but we have found that many students do not know enough about technical careers to choose them as a goal. We want students to marry their interests and passions with available career opportunities and get as much training and skills in those areas as they can. We encourage all students (directly and through their teachers) to gain a marketable skill and preferably to earn certification(s) in high school.
We believe students should learn how to do something that employers will value and which will benefit their ultimate educational and career goals. If they are not financially able or choose not to go directly to college, they can still make a living. Then, maybe their employer will pay for their continued education. If not, they can still save for school, or work through school and have less, or possibly no, student loan debt. It is simply a win-win to have a marketable skill no matter what you plan to do after high school.
Since 2008, the Shoals Chamber of Commerce has hosted a summer program now called Workforce Readiness Institute for Educators. During this program, 25 – 30 regional educators (classroom teachers, counselor, administrators, youth workers, etc.) spend seven days touring local industry and the technical programs at Northwest-Shoals Community College, learning how the academics they teach in the classroom tie into jobs in business and industry.
Our target audience is middle and high school math and science teachers and counselors, but if we have space, we accept any interested educators. At the conclusion, they write career-related lesson plans, so students better understand the “why” and “when” of what they are learning. We then provide links to the lesson plans from our chamber’s Education/Workforce webpage and invite other educators to use them, which increases the ROI for the program. Those not on contract during the summer are paid a modest stipend ($75/day), which is funded by grants, sponsorships and donations. Participants are also eligible to receive professional development credit, both CEUs / Contact Hours for classroom teachers and a state-approved PLU for administrators.
Businesses who participate love sharing their workforce needs and challenges with the educators. Educators are amazed at all the businesses they never realized were even in the area, on “that street” they had never ventured down, as well as the great career opportunities for so many of their students who may not be interested in a 4-year degree … at least not yet. They learn how their math, science and English concepts are used daily within these businesses. They also see how important soft skills are, such as taking responsibility and pride in your work, being on time, critical thinking, teamwork and respecting others. They usually rank the WRI among the best, most relevant professional development opportunities they have ever encountered.
We are encouraging those at the state level to implement this type of program at colleges of education so student teachers will have a better understanding of the end result of the academics and skills they teach before they ever enter the classroom. An educator's goal should not only be to get students from Math A to Math B, but to make sure their students have a working understanding of how Math A can be used someday in various careers and why it is important that they can use it in the real world.
Did you know that making upgrades to your community’s environment can improve the health outcomes of your community? Your chamber or community may have added sidewalks, created pedestrian-only downtown spaces or host a local farmer’s market every weekend. Placemaking has traditionally been seen as an economic development strategy, but it also can be a community health strategy. No matter how your chamber implements placemaking, one thing is for sure; it makes your community the place to be.
The Billings Chamber (Mont.) is intentional about using placemaking as an avenue for better health outcomes in the community. Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Reiser CCE, IOM says, “Healthy placemaking means making the healthy choice the easy choice by being intentional about considering health when developing policies and systems.”
The Billings Chamber put this into action through their Trails Initiative. The chamber led the task force that increased and connected trails in the community. Billings went from having 15 miles of trails to 40 miles. Jennifer shares, “By including opportunities for physical activity and movement, we can also increase opportunities for social connectedness, thus affecting both the physical and mental health of our employees. We are encouraging our employers to use healthy placemaking as a tool for employee engagement and workforce development.”
If you are interested in learning more about healthy placemaking, the Inclusive Healthy Placemaking Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a helpful place to start. Below is a summary table from the Inclusive Healthy Placemaking Report on how to incorporate healthy placemaking in your community.
Public SpaceNeighborhood City Regional/National
Do you have healthy placemaking stories to share? We would love to hear from you. Email Emily Counts (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know what you are doing.
ACCE's 2019 40 Under 40
Emerging Leaders Shaping the Chamber Industry
ACCE is dedicated to recognizing and supporting the most talented professionals in the chamber industry. This new annual recognition program showcases 40 of the industry's best emerging leaders who have demonstrated success in their careers and made significant contributions in the communities they serve. The list includes CEOs and staff professionals from a wide variety of roles and chamber sizes. Their creativity, dedication and commitment to identifying innovative solutions will help shape the future of the chamber profession.
2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows
Abby Osborne, Salt Lake Chamber
Alesha Washington, Greater Cleveland Partnership
Alisha Benson, IOM, Greater Spokane Inc.
Allen Smith, CCE, Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce
Allison B. Walden, CFRE, IOM, Tulsa Regional Chamber
Amber Mooney, The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
Andy Johnston, IOM, Grand Rapids Chamber
Beth A. Bowman, CCE, IOM, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
Celia Richa, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Christie Rogers, CMP, NKY Chamber
Corey Atkins, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
David Pruente, IOM, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Ellen Cutter, Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Erin Aylor, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Erin Erkins, Boise Metro Chamber
Heather Valudes, Lancaster Chamber
James Reddish, CEcD, Little Rock Regional Chamber
Jessica Verderame, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Welch, IOM, Greater Irvine Chamber
Joe Murphy, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Jonathan Long, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
Joshua Gunn, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
Juliet Abdel, IOM, Westminster Chamber of Commerce
Kate Bates, Arlington Chamber of Commerce
Kate Lufkin, Kalispell Chamber of Commerce
Kelle Marsalis, CCE, IOM, Plano Chamber of Commerce
Kristin Craig, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce
LaKendria Robinson, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
Lindsay Henderson, Conway Area Chamber of Commerce
Lindsay M. Keisler, IOM, CCEC, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Hermes, CCE, IOM, McKinney Chamber of Commerce
Mark Fisher, Indy Chamber
Paul Rumler, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
Sara Swisher, IOM, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, Greater Louisville Inc.
Sarah Moylan, Greater Omaha Chamber
Savannah Whitehead, Edmond Chamber of Commerce
Sherry Taylor, Mason Deerfield Chamber
Simone Thornton-Salley, IOM, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
Tim Giuliani, CCE, Orlando Economic Partnership
Applications for the next class of 40 Under 40 will be available in March of 2020 here.
Attracting Summer Talent to Rockport-Fulton
Rockport-Fulton is rising with a positive and quick recovery after Hurricane Harvey’s eye hovered over that community for more than 13-hours just 20 months ago. Employers of the Rockport-Fulton needed workers to fill positions in their community.
For the summer 2019, the Chamber ran a campaign called Build Your Resume at the Beach. Using their website, social media and other collateral, the Chamber encouraged job-seekers to apply for summer jobs on the coast. Job types include hotel staff, waiters, waitresses, breakfast clerks, cooks, general managers, massage therapists, landscapers, etc. A full chart of available jobs can be accessed through the link above.
“We are recovering at an impressive pace and are having a great summer. Our employers need to bring on more staff. We are encouraging anyone interested in summer jobs on the coast to get in touch with our employers,” said Diane Probst, President/CEO of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber thought this campaign would be attractive to young adults wanting to build their resume while still enjoying a great summer locale. Rockport-Fulton is surrounded by water on three sides, there is a mile-long beach, tons of outdoor recreation and lots of opportunities. In a tight labor market, finding new ways to sell your location to potential employees is important.
The Chamber provided both job listings and a listing of available housing on its campaign webpage. Interested candidates could then reach out directly to employers to set up interviews. Once they secured a job, they were able to easily find a place to stay for the summer. “It’s a great way to get some experience and help our employers get some relief at the same time,” said Probst.
For more information, visit Rockport-Fulton.org or call 1-800-242-0071 or 361-729-6445.
About the Chamber
The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is a 5-star Chamber as recognized by the US Chamber of Commerce. The mission is to work in partnership with businesses, individuals and governmental entities to promote commerce and tourism while maintaining the environment. The Chamber works very closely with small businesses. It is PLANE-ly focused on promotion, leadership, advocacy, networking and the economy.
ACCE 2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows Announced
ACCE is proud to announce the sixth cohort of Education and Talent Development Fellows. The Fellowship for Education & Talent Development is a workforce and education incubator that provides chamber of commerce professionals the opportunity to interact with peers, ACCE staff and national experts. This is accomplished through a combination of in-person and virtual activities where fellows delve into cutting-edge theories, approaches and best practices in talent development. This year, 21 fellows have been selected amongst a national pool of applicants to represent communities all over the country.
Commenting on this year’s class, ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly said, “The new cohort of fellows is a thoughtful, experienced and knowledgeable group with a broad range of perspectives. With the creativity and energy they give their organizations, we are delighted to offer a program where these professionals can expand their portfolios and evolve their already impressive community initiatives. This class represents some of the foremost leaders in the chamber industry, and the impact they will have on their communities, as a result of their determination, will be immeasurable.”
ACCE’s Fellowship for Education and Talent Development is designed to inspire tangible and attainable talent development goals to be implemented in participants’ communities. The program will begin in September with the first in-person meeting shortly after in October.
2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows
Adrian Hale, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce (N.Y.)
Alex Greiwe, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce (Mo.)
Alexa Kramer, Grand Rapids Chamber (Mich.)
Christopher McDermott, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce (Mass.)
Corey Hutcherson, Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce (N.C.)
Cynthia Bennett, Newnan-Coweta Chamber (Ga.)
Cynthia Lyon, The Business Council of Fairfield County (Conn.)
Danielle Permenter, Orlando Economic Partnership (Fla.)
Dean Blinkhorn, Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (Fla.)
Georgina Chapman, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber (Ala.)
Karen Fox, Capital Region Chamber (N.Y.)
Kayla Rombalski, Portage County Business Council (Wis.)
Kimberly Vegliante, Greater Phoenix Chamber (Ariz.)
Laurie Radke, Greater Green Bay Chamber (Wis.)
Lindsay Keisler, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce (N.C.)
Lisa Hermes, McKinney Chamber of Commerce (Texas)
Norma Ritz Johnson,Lubbock Chamber of Commerce (Texas)
Sondra Howell, Greater Memphis Chamber (Tenn.)
Steve Cox, Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce (Ark.)
Sully Pinos, York County Economic Alliance (Pa.)
Travis Groth, Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance (Tenn.)
Chairmanís Award Presented at #ACCE19
At the ACCE Annual Convention in Long Beach, Immediate Past Board Chair Nancy Keefer, CCE, presented the 2019 Chairman’s Award to Jay Chesshir, CCE, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. The award is given annually to an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to the betterment of the chamber profession. In Keefer’s remarks, she commended Chesshir for “going beyond the call of duty, not only by leading the association in the very special role of Chairman for one year, but [he] took on a second year when our CEO transition occurred...”.
Chesshir served two consecutive one-year terms as ACCE board chair from 2016-2018.
Chamber Executives Earn Elite Designation
During ACCE's Annual Convention in Long Beach, Calif., last month, seven chamber executives were presented as Certified Chamber Executives (CCE). CCE is recognized as the highest, and most elite, professional designation in the chamber of commerce profession. It’s the only globally-recognized certification program exclusive to the chamber of commerce industry.
These seven leaders who were recognized during the #ACCEAwards Show on July 15, represent chambers of commerce in seven states, including Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Montana and Utah:
Jeremy L. Arthur, CCE, IOM
Jeremy has served as president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) since 2012 and previously led the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce in Alabama. He is currently chair elect of the board of trustees for the Institute for Organization Management, the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, chair of the Institute Curriculum Committee and a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. Jeremy’s CCE presentation focused on the creation and successful implementation of the Alabama Small Business of the Year Awards, a statewide platform to celebrate and recognize small business success through local chambers of commerce in Alabama.
James “Chris” Clark, Jr., CCE, IOM
Chris is the president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Before assuming this leadership role in 2011, Chris was commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and deputy commissioner for the Department of Economic Development. He is on the board of directors for the Council of State Chambers and serves as its secretary/treasurer. He also sits on the boards of the Georgia Allies, the U.S. Chamber, the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and Georgia College and State University’s board of trustees. Chris’ CCE presentation highlighted the chamber’s Georgia 2030 project and the resulting innovative programs and initiatives he spearheaded to address the opportunities and risks of the state’s rapidly changing economic and business landscape.
Tiffany Esposito, CCE, IOM, MBA, APR
Tiffany was named president and CEO of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (Fla.) in 2016. She is chair of ACCE’s Emerging Cities peer group and has served on the ACCE board of directors since 2017. Tiffany focused her CCE presentation on the creation of The Hub—a shared work space that positioned the chamber as the hub for progress by offering a physical space for members to connect, convene and collaborate.
Paul J. Farmer, CCE
Paul is CEO and chief member advocate of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce (Calif.). Prior to becoming the chamber’s leader in 2012, Paul served on his board’s executive committee and was co-founder and president of OfficeStar Computer Training Centers. He was the local and then state president of the California Junior Chamber (Jaycees). Paul’s CCE presentation on the “City Budget Crisis,” highlighted a series of research articles he wrote identifying the root causes and possible solutions to the City of Salinas’ structural budget deficit.
Sherry Menor-McNamara, CCE
In 2013, Sherry became the first female and youngest president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s 169-year history, after having served the organization in different capacities since 2006. In 2018, under Sherry’s leadership, the chamber won ACCE’s Chamber of the Year title in the state/province category. Sherry serves on the board of directors of ACCE, Council of State Chambers, Western Association of Chamber Executives and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as the US Chamber Committee of 100. In her CCE presentation, Sherry discussed her leadership role in the annual Hawaii on the Hill. This statewide initiative brings more than 150 people from Hawaii to D.C. to showcase the state’s products and industries to U.S. leaders.
Jennifer Reiser, CCE, IOM
Since 2011, Jennifer has served as the chief operating officer of the Billings Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the U.S. Chamber Foundation West Institute Board of Regents since 2017, is a graduate of the CDC’s Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute and holds a certificate in public health from the University of Montana. Jennifer focused her CCE presentation on Transforming Information into Action through the Trailhead Leadership Academy.
Heidi Walker, CCE
Heidi has served as chief operating officer of the Salt Lake Chamber since 2010. Previously, she held several high-level management positions at the chamber, including seven years as vice president. Heidi has served on several boards in her community including the United Way, Women's Leadership Institute and nationally on the ACCE board. She received the Woman of Distinction Award in 2017. Heidi’s CCE project highlighted her leadership of the Salt Lake Chamber’s year-long plan to monetize more of the chamber’s programs and events and to create a more engaged business community in celebration of the chamber’s 130th anniversary.
“The CCE program assesses and tests the applicant's knowledge of core chamber management areas —management, planning and development, membership and communication, and operations,” says Linda Rabe, CCE, IOM, president and CEO of Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce (S.D.) and CCE commission chairman. “Chamber professionals who are designated CCEs have rightfully earned this outstanding recognition through hard work, countless hours of dedication to their field, and leadership of their chamber to achieve the chamber’s goals. We are proud to have this year’s class join a long tradition of professional excellence.”
Since the first CCE designation was conferred more than 40 years ago, about 500 professionals have become certified.
Learn more about ACCE’s CCE program by visiting www.ACCE.org/CCE.
Brown Elected to Lead International Board
David G. Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, has been named chair of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Board of Directors during the organization’s annual meeting July 15.
“David has been an instrumental part of ACCE’s success over the last 15 years, particularly in the development of our Horizon Initiative, providing groundbreaking research on the future of chambers,” said ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “As we look to the future and implement our new strategic plan, we are fortunate to benefit from the caliber of proven industry experience David provides. I am confident that David’s leadership will accelerate our efforts as we work to elevate the capabilities of chambers of commerce around the world.”
ACCE is a professional development organization serving the women and men who lead local, regional and statewide chambers of commerce and similar private sector-led economic development organizations around the world. The Alexandria, Va.-based association represents nearly 9,000 professionals who work for and with more than 1,300 chambers of commerce.
ACCE board chairs serve one-year terms, and Brown’s term will span July 2019 through July 2020. In this role, he will oversee activities of a 70-member board of directors that provides leadership and strategic direction to the association’s 30-person staff.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with this role during such a thrilling time for our industry. Our organizational climate is changing, and chambers are striving to become the place where community building initiatives begin and endure,” said Brown. “The chamber industry has a bright future, and ACCE plays a major role. I look forward to leveraging our unified strength, exceptional talent and breadth of services to lead the industry as we look to the future and solve some of our communities most pressing challenges.”
David Brown is president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber, one of the largest, most highly accredited chambers in the nation and ACCE’s 2015 Chamber of the Year. Under David’s steady leadership, the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership has successfully landed more than 760 projects, representing 37,090 jobs and more than $8.6 billion in capital investment since 2004.
David is a graduate of Dartmouth College with academic specialties in industrial location and environmental studies and has completed courses at the National Development Council, the American Management Association, Bell Leadership Academy and Gallup University.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, David contributes his time and expertise to numerous community service organizations including the Ak-Sar-Ben Future Trust, Boys Scouts of America, College World Series of Omaha, Greater Omaha Alliance for Business Ethics, Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben, University of Nebraska at Omaha Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and the U.S. Strategic Command Consultation Committee. Nationally, David serves on the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Board and is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.
2019 Chamber of Year Winners Announced
Last week at the annual #ACCEAwards Show, nearly one thousand chamber professionals and friends of the industry gathered at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in downtown Long Beach, California, to celebrate winners of many special awards, including Chamber of the Year.
Chamber of the Year, sponsored by MemberClicks, is the most prestigious and competitive award presented by ACCE and is the only globally-recognized industry award that honors top chambers of commerce. This year's winners (sorted by category) are:
Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce
Longview Chamber of Commerce
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
Asheville, North Carolina
Greater Louisville Inc.
Those honored with the Chamber of the Year designation have demonstrated organizational strength and made an impact on key community priorities, such as education, transportation, business development and quality of life.
Chambers of commerce interested in competing for the award first must qualify by participating in a vigorous multi-stage process. Organizations entering the Chamber of the Year competition must meet minimum thresholds in at least three of five key performance areas, including net revenue, net assets, membership account retention, and membership dollar retention.
Qualifying for Chamber of the Year is a rigorous process. Chambers compete based on meeting key performance criteria on the ACCE Annual Operations Survey. Qualifying chambers enter the competition with a written application addressing all aspects of organizational operation and programmatic work. Applications are scored by peer chamber executives to determine finalists. Winners are selected from among finalists based on an in-person interview before a panel of experienced chamber professionals.
Celebrating Communications Excellence
On July 15, at the #ACCEAwards Show in Long Beach, California, three organizations — Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce (Ga.), Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce (Ark.) and Greater Fort Wayne Inc. (Ind.) — were recognized as this year’s Best in Show winners in ACCE’s Awards for Communications Excellence competition.
They represent the finest entries in each of the three total annual budget categories: under $1 million, $1 to $3 million and above $3 million.
ACCE’s Awards for Communications Excellence program is designed to showcase top communications and marketing work of chambers of commerce and similar organizations. Several thousand award entries have been submitted since the launch of the organization’s Awards for Communications Excellence, which is now in its thirty-fifth year.
“Those involved in marketing and communications for chamber organizations must develop materials that can compete with Fortune 500 companies, with half the staff and budget,” says ACCE President and CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “These annual awards provide a way to recognize the innovative work that chambers across the world are creating. It is not every day that a company’s communications work not only benefits the organization but is creates materials that advance the community or region that they support.
A panel of communications and marketing executives from six North American chambers of commerce evaluated entries, which were organized by category — based on the chamber’s annual budget — and entry type: advertising and marketing, campaigns, digital and publications.