Fellowship cohort 2

201516 Fellowship for Education Attainment

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).


2015-2016 Cohort RAP Summaries

Maris Akridge

Marla Akridge, President, Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism(VA)
Smart Region –Smart Economy-Smart Workforce 2025
Smart Region-Smart Economy-Smart Workforce 2025 plans to form a team of key stakeholders to develop a collective impact approach and study. This action team will take a deep dive to determine the education gaps the Wake Forest region has in the workforce system from cradle to career. The continuum from cradle to career needs evaluation, identification, and continuous messaging.

Robin Anderson

Robin Anderson, President & CEO, Mason City Chamber of Commerce (IA)
Closing the Skills Gap through a Focus on Youth Employment

Mason City suffers from a mismatch between skills required for jobs and skills of the workforce. This has a significant impact on productivity and revenue across all industries. Middle-skills jobs-those requiring more than a high school diploma and less than a baccalaureate degree-account for more than 50 percent of the available jobs. Our county's high school graduation rates are among the highest in the U.S. However, data and anecdotal evidence from local employers and higher education officials indicate our high school graduates are NOT college or career-ready. These young adults hold the key to our talent pipeline. The chamber will assemble strategic partners to implement youth employment principles based upon the needs of our marketplace and will rely upon use of the National Career Readiness Certificate testing as a way to assure our high school graduates have the necessary foundational skills. Testing "real world" skills using everyday work situations is a reliable predictor of workplace success.

Kelly Bass Seibel

Kelly Bass Seibel, Vice President of Public Policy, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce (CA)
Cradle to Career Sonoma County: Work Based Learning & Parental Engagement Strategies for Success
The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce believes that a strong and connected education system is the key to a prepared workforce. The chamber seeks to leverage Sonoma County’s collective impact initiative, Cradle to Career, to increase work based learning opportunities in Sonoma County.  Cradle to Career has 3 goal areas: kindergarten readiness, academic success and college and career readiness. While the Chamber feels that all 3 goals are important, and inherently linked, through their regional action plan, the Chamber will engage employers to formalize and standardize internship and work-based learning opportunities starting at the middle school level.  Additionally, as parental engagement is critical for student success, the Chamber will work to develop parent engagement strategies that can be supported by both employers and school systems to help educate parents on the importance of learned executive/soft skills and the path to becoming college and career ready.

Alicia Berhow

Alicia Berhow, Vice President of Workforce Development & Advocacy, Orange County Business Council (CA)
The LEA Program Initiative
The LEA Program Initiative is an empowerment enterprise that teaches our immigrant parents about the California education structure and how to navigate the system on behalf of their children.  The LEA Program Initiative was created to inform immigrant parents that they can be the ultimate advocate for their children in school by giving them the tools and information needed for their children to succeed.  The latest version of the “Ten Education Commandments” teaches immigrant parents about the Common Core State Standards, the STEM Disciplines and the potential careers that can be obtained and that college is affordable and critical to career success. 

Liz Callahan

Liz Callahan, Workforce Development Manager, Buffalo Niagara Partnership (NY)
Buffalo Niagara Partnership Systemic Workforce Development Plan
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has recently started a collective impact conversation around creating a systemic workforce development program for the region. The goals for the first phase of this work include, but are not limited to: convene appropriate stakeholders, research best practice models in other regions, establish a common vision, mission and “bold goal” for the steering committee and agree on a data set and how success will be measured. We are also hoping to have begun or completed a jobs outlook report for the region.

Carrie Cook

Carrie B. Cook, Vice President of Government Affairs, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce (NC)
Vision 2025: Together for Charlotte
The chamber will seek to convene a collective impact group of birth-to-career stakeholders in the Charlotte community that create a comprehensive educational attainment strategy over the next 10 years. While the goals and outcomes of the group are not yet concrete, there is tremendous value in building bridges that address the silos of our education and workforce initiatives. It’s not clear whether or not any new initiatives need to be created to build a stronger education pipeline, so the first step is to collectively assess what’s working and what’s not working in every piece of the pipeline.

Elizabeth Cromwell

Elizabeth Cromwell, President & CEO, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce (MD)
Frederick Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology (CREST)
CREST will create a highly educated, STEM­centric workforce that will become employable locally in high-quality jobs in our growing biotech community. CREST’s unique, hybrid focus on STEM­related Master’s and Advanced Master’s programs is driven by business need. Research institutions' classroom instruction will combine with experiential laboratory work in local world­class labs staffed by top researchers. Hands­on experience and an opportunity to develop relationships with potential employers and other researchers will differentiate CREST from other academic programs. My three fellowship objectives are to 1) define the market need to ensure we are offering the most compelling curriculum; 2) develop a development/fundraising plan to support the institution; and 3) define the most desirable qualities needed for its first leader, and develop a highly-targeted recruiting plan.

Bob DuBois

Bob DuBois, President & CEO, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce (IN)
A Community Approach to Soft Skill Development
Noblesville is a prosperous fast growing community acting as the county seat enjoying low unemployment and a high rate of secondary school completion.  Two years ago business owners gathered together with city and education leaders to discuss workforce needs in the rapid growth environment.  Two items rose to the top.  1) need for strong soft skills for employees at all levels and 2) need for understanding of career opportunities within the community.   The gathering led to the development of a model internship program with a 30% high school senior participation rate.  It also led to soft skill development integration into the middle school curriculum based on locally created criteria.  A community-wide yearlong soft skill awareness campaign has been launched.  To expand involvement in these successful programs to a wider group of employers with a focus on including small entrepreneurial businesses, the Chamber, together with our workforce council partners, will develop a tool kit for employers.

Kelly Hall

Kelly Hall, President & CEO, Longview Chamber of Commerce (TX)
Every Child Has Access

Today schools are faced with a plethora challenges from making sure students are fed when they are not on campus—to safety and health concerns—to kids having kids. Creating an environment for students to be successful begins by understanding and knowing their critical needs then determining pathways that ensure students have the skills necessary to succeed. This complex situation will require convening key stakeholders, creating strategies, leveraging resources, and activating the community.

True transformation begins with understanding and understanding comes from knowing the needs of our student population.  Every Child Has Access is a collective impact project that will address the overall wellbeing of students during non-school hours, in an effort to create a continuous environment conducive to learning and health.  The process will begin with a three prong approach. First, we will bring together public and private schools to identify the challenges and needs of area students by focusing on after 3:00pm and before 8:00am during the school year as well as weekends, holidays and the summer break.  Second, key business and community stakeholders will be identified to help develop a shared vision and action plan. Third, a quick victory project has been identified; compile and publish master resource guide that includes all organizations that offer after school programs, summer school, jobs programs, career fairs, tutoring/mentoring etc. that will be provided to all public, private and home school organizations.

Joe Hurd

Joe Hurd, President & CEO, Blair County Chamber of Commerce (PA)
Our Best Foot Forward

The chamber will seek to determine the factors most impacting poor educational attainment numbers in the Blair County region. The chamber will identify and work with key stakeholders on solutions to those challenges and will create additional programs within area schools to encourage students to attain high educational levels, ultimately taking those accomplishments into careers in their own backyard.

Waymond Jackson

Waymond Jackson, Vice President of Education and Workforce Development, Birmingham Business Alliance (AL)
Birmingham Talent Recruitment Project: Talent Supply Chain Management
The chamber will seek to address the supply of talent to the Birmingham area workforce by clearly defining our regions talent supply chain. This plan will fully integrate education, workforce development and economic development into the planning that supports the development of talent solutions for critical jobs and capabilities to assist regional employers. A large portion of this would involve the BBA leveraging its ability to position itself to coordinate with and support employers and workforce providers in the planning, development, and execution of talent pipeline strategies.  In addition, a strategy will be developed for more effectively using the foundation of the BBA to leverage statewide and national workforce and education funds in order to scale BBA workforce programs.

Kate Lee

Kate Lee, St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce (IN)
Raise SJC – Transformation Through Education
The St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce is committed to working at the county and regional level to increase education attainment, align student preparation with existing and projected employer needs, and strengthen the current and future workforce. The chamber’s regional action plan will build on existing, early-stage collaborative efforts. The chamber will work with key leaders to create the framework for an efficient, effective cradle-to-career system that focuses on short and long-term impact and measurable outcomes. The chamber will tap in to the strength of existing programs and services, identifying opportunities for employer engagement and bringing education and business together in sustainable partnerships that lead to success for our children, community and region.

Shana Marbury

Shana Marbury, General Counsel and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Research, Greater Cleveland Partnership (OH)
Pathway Partners
As part of its overall workforce development agenda, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) is developing Pathway Partners as an initiative focusing on college and career readiness for Cleveland students.  It will connect the business community with education providers and students in developing Cleveland’s future workforce.  This college & workforce readiness piece is a foundational link for Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) high school and local college students in a revitalized GCP workforce development agenda.   Pathway Partners also continues and deepens GCP’s support of the Cleveland Plan, Cleveland’s blueprint to revitalizing public education in the city.  College and career readiness is an essential building block of the Cleveland Plan and Pathway Partners offers students opportunities to develop needed skills.  Pathway Partners will consist of three components:  1)  “True2U,”an CMSD 8th grade career exploration and mentoring program developed as a collaboration between CMSD, the Cleveland Foundation, GCP and other community partners; 2)  Ford Next Generation Learning, which in collaboration with CMSD, GCP, the Cleveland Foundation and the larger Cleveland community, will create career academies in the CMSD that combine college preparatory academics with career/technical education; and 3)  “GCP Internship Central,”  a physical and virtual destination that provides sustainable connections with Cleveland’s businesses for CMSD and local college students and a “one-stop shop” for employers who recognize the value of internships and other out-of-school learning experiences in creating their talent pipeline.

Patty Milka

Patty Milka, Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce
Aggregating our Communities “Student Tracker” Data from the National Student Clearinghouse
The mission of the Talent Collaborative, a division of the Fox Cities Chamber, is to identify and support innovative and sustainable strategies that will lead to developing, attracting and retaining a skilled, motivated and responsive workforce. For every post graduate position hired in the community, there are four available positions that require a four year degree and 24 available positions that require an associate’s degree or less. Fox Cities has a 93% high school graduation rate, but only have a 12% associate degree rate.  The Chamber plans to utilize “student tracker” data from the National Student Clearinghouse to aggregate the community as a whole, approximately 8 school districts, for a better understanding of where students are going after high school and how that correlates to the labor market needs. This will help schools better define what it is we want for students when they graduate.

Andy Person

Andy Person, Senior Education Advisor, The Bronx Chamber of Commerce (NY)
Work-based Learning Project: Mobilizing the Bronx to Prepare Students for Jobs and Careers
Work-based learning in New York City public schools, particularly in The Bronx, is a multiyear sequence of instructional activities—incorporating real work experiences—that provide students with the skills to transition through high school to postsecondary education/training and careers. Through this school-industry collaboration, educators and industry professionals guide students through a progression of integrated classroom and work experiences.  Ensuring that more New Yorkers have the skills required to fill jobs in the 21st Century economy will require employer engagement and industry collaboration. The project commits to encouraging expanded employer engagement with public schools and higher education in order to better prepare New Yorkers in the Bronx for jobs and upward mobility

Mandy Price

Mandy Price, Director of Workforce Development & Education, Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce (AL)
Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce 2015 Workforce Development Strategic Plan

The vision for the 2015 Workforce Development Strategic Plan is for Morgan County to be the place where current employers thrive and new employers locate because of our skilled, highly competitive workforce. The plan encompasses three areas of focus, K-12/Post-Secondary, Employers/New and Existing Industry, and Underemployed/Un-Employed. The plan’s first priority focus is the employers/new and existing industry. Each area of focus works to have a highly skilled, well-trained sustainable workforce through policy and programmatic solutions. Important to each area is the need to foster partnerships and increase overall involvement in workforce development efforts. This is accomplished by increasing attendance and active business and industry involvement within the Chamber’s Workforce Coalition, continually fostering open communication with education, industry, and community, and continually focusing on the reduction of duplicating services and initiatives already in place by partner organizations.

Sharon Shanks

Sharon Shanks, Workforce Development Manager, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce (TN)
Regional Awareness: Work Based Learning Opportunities to Help with Determining Post-Secondary Options
The Knoxville Chamber will create and promote work based learning opportunities in the region involving middle school and high school students. The need for the future workforce to become interested in advanced manufacturing or technically skilled jobs continue to concern our region. It is crucial to expose students to these industries early. We are currently working with our state and local partners to recruit businesses willing to participate in WBL.

Janeen Tucker

Janeen Tucker, Executive Vice President, Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce (GA)
Ninth Grade Career Connect Program

The majority of fastest growing jobs that pay a salary above the poverty line and provides opportunities for career advancement, require at least a high school diploma, and require knowledge and skills comparable to those expected of the first year college student. The Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber has a collaborative effort with state and local partners to expand the High School Freshman Transition Initiative, a pilot program, into five surrounding counties. The focus is motivating high school freshmen towards future goals beginning with academic standards and assessment, career exploration, financial literacy, and aligning academic skills with college expectations. Participating students earn high school and college credits simultaneously and are eligible for Georgia’s HOPE Grant funding. Our goal is to help high school students develop realistic college and career aspirations and a plan for reaching them.

Barbara Ward

Barbara Ward, Director of Workforce Development, Greater Dalton Chamber (GA)
Preparing Tomorrows Workforce as Business/ Industry and Education Cooperate Today
Greater Dalton has gaps in skills needed for industry; high schools have lower than desired completion rates; the region has very low associate and bachelor degree attainment levels.  All of these items contribute to a very high poverty rate, another problem that the community faces. With the cooperation of business and industry, local secondary schools, the technical college and the four year college, the chamber seeks to reverse these trends.

Melissa Worthington

Melissa Worthington, Vice President, Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce (WI)
Breakthrough Community Communication

To date, Phase 1 of Fond du Lac Works, a community collective impact initiative, has been rolled out in the Fond du Lac Area.  Phase 1 included the planning and implementation of programming across all educational divisional levels, an advanced job search website and career planning tools for the community and partnerships with post-secondary institutions.  While all of the tools are now available to help address labor issues and educational attainment, the Fond du Lac market is a marketing conundrum.  With only non-audited radio stations, a dying paper and no local TV stations available in-market, the messaging to the community has been challenging and fragmented in spite of a fairly robust marketing plan.  This RAP will look at what programming needs to be added or changed to more accurately address audience segments and how a communication infrastructure can be built to enhance the community conversation  as part of Phase 2 of Fond du Lac Works.

Accrisoft is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE Aventura World by Central Holidays West is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Benfits Trust is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE Grow With Google is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE New Insperity The U.S. Chamber is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE
Collette is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE Cognizant Constant Contact POWER 10 sponsors ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives United Networks of America is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE EY sponsor ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Compass Media sponsors ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
Sponsorship and advertising opportunities Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives