The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce is working in partnership with Learn to Earn Dayton, a cradle-to-career Collective Impact initiative, to ensure every student in the Dayton region earns a college degree or credential. The initiative has set “big goals” of increasing postsecondary attainment among adults between the ages of 25 and 65 to 60 percent and high school students who earn a degree or credential within 6 years of graduation to 50 percent by 2025. As the voice of business for the Dayton region, the chamber serves as the primary conduit to the business community for Learn to Earn Dayton. Furthermore, it has identified Workforce Development as one of its 2015 Business Plan strategic objectives. Under this plan, it is committed to establishing a data driven analysis of career opportunities in key industry sectors—such as aerospace, advanced engineering, advanced manufacturing, logistics and transportation, business services and bioscience & health care—within the region, and to identify and establish clear pathways and incentives for meeting objectives in in high demand industries. As a result, the Chamber seeks to develop a web presence and marketing campaign to promote the skills regional employers seek along with available local education and career pathway opportunities.
The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce has embraced Lumina Foundation’s Goal 2025, a national effort to increase postsecondary attainment to 60 percent by 2025. In an effort to support this goal, the Chamber champions several initiatives aimed at improving college readiness, access and success, and talent retention. Most notably, the Chamber established the Detroit Scholarship Fund, which provides a tuition-free path to an associate degree or technical certificate at one of five partner community colleges for any 2016 high school graduate in Detroit. It is now in the process of creating a new fund to provide a tuition-free path to a bachelor’s degree. The Chamber currently seeks to serve at least 1,000 freshman a year with hopes of soon becoming the largest city in America to offer every one of its high school graduates a path to postsecondary degree attainment that is free of financial barriers. It also partners with the Workforce Intelligence Network, a local entity comprised of local Workforce Investment Boards, community colleges and economic development partners, to promote high demand careers to high school students, and education and training opportunities to pursue such careers. Over the course of the next year, the chamber seeks to build further capacity to sustain and advance this growing work, and to develop a robust communication and messaging effort aimed at students, parents and policy makers on the importance of postsecondary attainment.
Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) is committed to increasing the number of adults in Spokane County who have high quality certificates or post-secondary degrees from 40 percent to 60 percent by 2025. This is a Board led initiative with a focus on the approximately 74,000 working adults in Spokane County who have earned some college credit but not a degree. GSI has identified a two-pronged approach to target this particular population. The first approach leverages GSI’s role as a business organization to create an employer-driven pilot, which assesses degree completion and interest of local employees and identifies incentives and/or reimbursement models for them to further pursue their postsecondary degrees and/or certificates. The second approach leverages GSI’s strong collaborative partnership with higher education institutions to develop strategies that re-engage the adult population. GSI has also begun work with the Graduate! Network to explore best practices and identify postsecondary attainment opportunities.
By 2025, the St. Louis Regional Chamber aims to increase the number of individuals in the region with a bachelor’s degrees or other postsecondary degree by 75,000. Such an increase would move St. Louis from 14th place to 10th in college attainment among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The ambitious goal is part of the chamber’s top ten in college attainment initiative, which will focus on aligning various regional initiatives to increase degree attainment among five target groups: current students, recent graduates, working adults, unemployed adults and veterans. With the support of ACCE’s Award for Education, the Chamber is focusing on accelerating postsecondary attainment for working adults in St. Louis by developing Degrees That Work, a program designed to support employers in creating workplace conditions that facilitate degree attainment. To do this, the chamber will work with the Graduate! Network and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning to expand the suite of services to include an employer toolkit, tools and resources, and engagement opportunities that help business implement best practices and key policies support degree completion.
The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is working with its network of partners to expand SA Works!, an industry-led program that was assembled to help make San Antonio a national model for experiential learning at all levels. With an overarching goal of offering 20,000 experiential learning experiences from the SA Works! menu of options, by the year 2020, the San Antonio Chamber is focused on growing and enhancing the existing career and technology educational programs currently in place throughout the community to meet specific high‐skill workforce needs. The Chamber believes that through more work-based learning opportunities, such as internships and apprenticeships, students will see the value in achieving post-secondary degrees and certificates in high-demand industry sectors. Included in the chamber’s efforts are marketing strategies to educate the public about the various career pathways and educational ladders students can use to obtain high-wage, high-tech jobs in the San Antonio. It will also be working to align K-12, higher education and workforce programs—which include opportunities like earning dual credit, industry recognized certificates and internship experience—to ensure students continue along their educational pathway.