The ACCE Fellowship for Education Attainment assists chamber executives as they mobilize efforts to improve the birth-to-career education pipeline in their communities. Selected executives engage in an education and workforce development deep dive involving best practices in education attainment, interaction with national experts and inclusion in a strong peer-to-peer network. Throughout, fellows develop and execute plans for specific educational attainment objectives in the form of a regional action project (RAP).
2014-2015 Cohort RAP Summaries
Linda Ashworth, Vice President of Operations, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, OH
Learn to Earn Dayton
The Dayton Chamber seeks to leverage their collective impact model, Learn to Earn Dayton, to reduce the workforce skills gap and drive economic development. Learn to Earn Dayton, launched in 2011, has a goal that 60% of the workforce will have a college degree or advanced certification and 50% of high school graduates will go on to seek a 2 or 4 year degree by 2025. Specifically, the Chamber strives to provide opportunities for employer engagement in Learn to Earn Dayton through: internships, co-ops and youth employment programs; accountability for the urban district; career information dissemination to students in key industries (construction, manufacturing, logistics) and funding for post-secondary education through scholarships, grants, etc.
Mita Bates, President, Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, OK
ENGAGE! Crafting Educational Excellence
The Ardmore Chamber is developing a “re-tooled” system for the delivery of education services. This new systems approach seeks to realign policies and practices to create a better system of education for students in Southern Oklahoma, resulting in success in college or career upon graduation. The process of creating this new system will include the recruitment of stakeholders, the collection, evaluation and review of data, development of new strategies and the creation of sustainable partnerships. The system must be efficient and transparent as well as possess the ability to evolve quickly to meet the needs of a global economy.
Alisha Benson, Vice President of Education & Workforce, Greater Spokane Incorporated, WA
Increasing Educational Attainment in Spokane County
Post-secondary education attainment is critical for the economic competitiveness and quality of life in Spokane County. Greater Spokane Incorporated is focusing on increasing the educational attainment of Spokane County by working with the business community to identify, develop and implement an employer-led initiative to engage their employees who have some college but haven’t completed their credentials or degree. Their goal is to create a business driven action plan to increase from 43% to 60% the number of adults in Spokane County who have high quality certificates or post-secondary degrees by 2025 by focusing on the 64,500 working adults who have some college but no degree.
Andrew Davis, Legislative Director, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, WI
Blueprint for Economic Prosperity
In Metro Milwaukee, a talented workforce is the key to a thriving economy. Currently schools in the city of Milwaukee are operating with extremely low proficiency levels in mathematics and reading. There is a significant need to expand the number of high performing schools, and focus on closing the achievement gap for low-income students by supporting policies that expand parent choice and improve quality for all sectors of education. Through their Blueprint for Economic Prosperity, MMAC’s intermediate goal is to have 20,000 “high-performing” seats in high-performing schools by the year 2020. This can help provide a model and create a tipping point for transformation of education quality throughout all sectors of K-12 education (public schools, voucher schools, and charter schools).
Richard Dayoub, CCE, President & CEO, The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, TX
Dual Credit Courses in Area High Schools
Dual Credit Course work has been shown to be a very effective tool in improving the likelihood that students will enter college and complete college. One of the goals of the Chamber’s Education Division is to increase the number of teachers who complete required accreditation to teach dual credit courses in all area high schools. The Chamber is working with area school districts to identify funding sources and the appropriate incentives to encourage teachers to pursue their certifications. Target goals for this initiative include increasing the number of dual credit teachers to 200 in the next three years and doubling the number of students taking dual credit classes to 5,000 during that same period. The Chamber has already begun a collaborative effort to launch this effort by the spring of 2015.
Betsy Dexter, Manager of Education & Workforce Policy, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, KY
KY Chamber Workforce Action Plan
The Kentucky Chamber seeks to form a collaborative model to transforming the workforce system in Kentucky. Their goal is to better align the education and workforce system to help close the skills gap by create a clearer path for students to receive the right skills and training to prepare them for college and career. By using a collective impact model to build a statewide coalition, the Chamber can start to bring all stakeholders together to create common goals that will produce a more prepared workforce. The Chamber understands that the business community can’t solve all of its talent challenges on its own. Government agencies and educational institutions have roles to play as well, and it will require new levels of communication and collaboration between all players.
Ian Fletcher, Vice President of Workforce Development, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, FL
A Skilled Career Pathway
A Skilled Career Pathway seeks to ensure that every person from K-12 and postsecondary education is exposed to the various educational paths that lead to a successful career. The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce has convened leaders of the Gainesville region to develop, implement, and take action in solving the regions K-12 and career pathway problems. The goal of the regional action plan is to develop a plan that focuses on 100% graduation rate. This will be accomplished by concentrating on early learning programs, K-3rd grade reading literacy, exposure to career development, job shadowing/internships, and a parent academy.
Mary Graham, CCE, Senior Vice President, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, SC
Meeting the Talent Demands of the Charleston Region
The Charleston Metro region is rapidly growing and the need to significantly increase the pipeline of qualified, skilled talent has never been greater. The regional action plan focuses on the development of a comprehensive strategic plan based on the recommendations of a six month Talent Demand Study to develop actionable strategies, specific goals and measurable results. The overall goal is to create career awareness and ultimately impact the region’s education attainment levels.
Lindsay Haymes, Manager of Business Assistance, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, MO
Refining the ED/WD Approach: P-20 Council of the Ozarks
The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of the Board of Directors, has identified workforce development as a strategic area of focus for 2015. Through the P-20 Council of the Ozarks, it is working to align the education system to the business community's workforce needs, identify the gaps in our region’s education and workforce development efforts, ensure alignment between the education and workforce development systems, and promote greater matriculation into higher education and greater preparedness for the workforce in the region. The regional action plan focuses on creating a clear path of action for the Chamber in the area of education and workforce development for 2015 and beyond.
Hank Hyatt, Vice President of Economic Development, Greenville Chamber of Commerce, SC
Accelerating Income Growth Through Education
Human capital development is one of Greenville’s key strategies to accelerate per capita income growth. The chamber’s vision is that the Greenville Area business community is fully engaged in a cradle-to-career strategy to increase the level of educational attainment in the region. The Chamber supports efforts to increase educational attainment rates at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels by providing business linkages, resources and leadership to the educational systems. This involves early childhood, K-12 and higher education strategies. Through these strategies, the chamber will: Increase the number of early childhood programs rated as top quality, increase middle school career awareness opportunities through Principal for a Day and Dream Connectors initiatives, and increase the number of business and higher education partnerships.
Amy Johnson, Strategic Consultant, Association of Washington Business Institute, WA
Filling the Pipeline: Washington State Industry Image Campaign
The Association of Washington Business believes that their work in education and workforce should inspire the next generation of workers to obtain post-secondary experience and training that will lead to meaningful and fulfilling careers that provide wages commensurate with the goals of the pursuer. Many of these jobs are in industries most students, parents, teachers and counselors would never consider for themselves or for those they guide through post-secondary decisions. Through the AWB Institute, the Chamber will develop programs that increase awareness of careers and training programs to the next generation of workers and those who counsel them in their post-secondary decisions. The goal of the regional action plan is to develop and implement an industry image campaign that addresses the need to fill the workforce pipeline.
Greg Laposa, Project Manager, St. Louis Regional Chamber, MO
Increasing College Completion by Combating Summer Melt
Summer melt in St. Louis will be mitigated or eliminated altogether as a result of coordinated efforts that span various sectors of the region’s economy by the summer of 2020. This is attainable through a collective effort and will be measured by a significant increase in enrollment and matriculation amongst the population most impacted by summer melt. This is an effort that is directly relevant to the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s view that college degree completion is critical to our region’s economic development. The goal of the regional action plan is to thoroughly investigate “summer melt” and to write a white paper that raises awareness about the issue and proposes possible solutions.
Jennifer McFarren, Director of Workforce Development - Greater Pensacola Chamber, FL
Greater Pensacola Workforce Development Partnership
The Greater Pensacola Chamber's regional action plan is designed around meeting current and future workforce needs and demand within the region’s target industry clusters. The successful implementation thereof will provide a workforce development strategy that wholly aligns with chamber’s economic development strategy. Three main goals for these strategies include: 1 -Implement key training programs at the post-secondary level by Fall 2016 to meet industry demand in the advanced manufacturing cluster (process technician, electrical & instrumentation, industrial maintenance and mechanical engineering). 2- Develop private apprentice-style, project based work and learn program for the high tech cluster by Fall 2015. 3- Increase graduate output in career and professional programming by 5% by Spring 2016.
Laurie Moran, CCE, President, Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, VA
Cradle to Career Strategic Plan
The Danville Pittsylvania County region has allocated tremendous resources to education attainment and workforce development. The Chamber works collaboratively on most of the efforts and is increasingly becoming the “go to” organization for education and workforce initiatives. The chamber is at a pivotal point in this work, as the region needs to create an effective and seamless ‘cradle to career’ system that focuses on impact and outcomes. The Chamber is poised to lead the creation of a roadmap for our region and to identify the opportunities for the greatest engagement by employers. The regional action plan will focus on the creation of this roadmap, including specific goals for the Chamber and business community.
Brian Paschal, Senior Vice President, Education & Workforce, Tulsa Regional Chamber, OK
Project: Boomerang is a strategic outreach program designed to increase Tulsa’s bachelor degree attainment rate by focusing on Tulsa’s graduating high school seniors attending college. The initiative will send targeted communications during their four years highlighting advancements in Tulsa’s quality of life and educating them on career awareness and intern and job opportunities. The program will leverage volunteers from Tulsa’s Young Professionals to host events specific to graduating seniors and college students, including college outreach visits and a “Summer Sendoff” celebration in early August. The goal is to retain homegrown talent after they graduate from college and help increase the percentage of adults with a bachelor degree in the Tulsa MSA to 40%.
Jim Schoettle, Executive Director of Development, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce, MI
Engineering a Proactive Talent Plan
The West Coast Chamber seeks develop their business community into world-class providers of quality internship and co-op experiences in order to ensure students stay employed within the community. The chamber has a goal to increase the number of internships offered by area companies, and the total number of interns that participate. A major strategy to accomplish this is to create a marketing campaign to promote internship and co-ops to targeted schools. The regional action plan is focused on collecting baseline data so that the chamber can set realistic goals.
Heather Valudes, Advocacy Director, The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry, PA
Better Engagement for a Brighter Future
The goal of the Lancaster Chamber’s regional action plan is to develop higher engagement from the business community on efforts focused on educational attainment and workforce development, concerning internships, co-ops, and mentoring. The plan will focus on answering key questions to determine what has hindered higher levels of engagement to date, what excites the business community, and how the chamber can rally even more involvement from their members.
Bridget Wilson, Director of Workforce Development, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, AL
Engaging and Exposing Education to Industry Needs
The Mobile Area Chamber seeks to address the current graduation rate in Southwest Alabama through expanding college and/or career readiness. The chamber’s main goal is to enhance and develop secondary education and training programs to address workforce needs in three of the region’s largest industry sectors: healthcare, maritime and logistics. In addition, they want to aid the growth of new, upcoming industry sectors by highlighting the various educational and training programs available throughout the region. This, in turn, will increase graduation rates while also delivering a steady workforce pipeline.
Tina Wirth, Senior Director of Workforce Development - JAX Chamber, FL
Building a Sustainable Regional College Access Network
Northeast Florida needs to get bold and creative about improving the number of college graduates in our region to be a competitive market for employers. Utilizing the structure and principals of a collective impact framework, the JAX Chamber is convening a College Access Network (CAN) that is stable, sustainable, inclusive and highly effective. Currently, the highest levels of leadership have a high-level community goal, determined strategic priorities and are currently developing shared data measurements. CAN‘s community goal is to reach 60% certificate and degree attainment by 2025.
Gilbert Zavala, Vice President, Education and Talent Development - Austin Chamber of Commerce, TX
Hire Edge 2015
Approximately 85% of unemployed adults in Travis County (Austin area) do not possess Associate's or Bachelor's degrees and 66% of current Austin MSA high demand job openings require education beyond high school. The Austin Chamber must refine programs to improve high school to college transitions and develop a strategic framework that engages business, public education, higher education, local/state/federal government executive leaders to help the region achieve a 70% direct-to-college enrollment rate by 2015.