The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ (ACCE) Education Attainment Division (EAD) alumni requested an opportunity for continued in-person connections and engagement with their peers and like-minded education and workforce development practitioners—and ACCE responded! Last week, ACCE hosted an inaugural EAD meeting, bringing together 31 EAD program alumni and board members from 27 chambers of commerce throughout the United States to explore innovative solutions to the toughest education and workforce development challenges.
Lindsay Haymes, 2014-2015 ACCE Education Attainment Fellow and vice president, Workforce Development, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, attended the inaugural meeting and proclaimed that “The connections EAD has made have been invaluable in creating the framework for our own workforce and education efforts. From the expertise provided through the top-notch programming the EAD offers, we have been able to pull upon best practices, which has positioned us as regional leaders in this important work.”
The inaugural meeting developed the first active alumni network of education attainment and workforce development chamber champions, comprised of EAD Advisory Board Members and class of 2014-15 and 2015-16 Fellows and Award for Education Attainment winners, as well as past Regional Innovation Award Winners and Community Growth Educational Foundation Board Members.
“Our ability to positively impact increased education attainment and align workforce supply and demand will define our regions’ long term growth and deep prosperity” said Nancy Eisenbrandt, EAD advisory board co-chair and chief workforce officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, who hosted the inaugural meeting in Nashville. “Sharing and learning about the extraordinary strategies, practices, opportunities and challenges from our peer communities is invaluable as we work to balance job creation with workforce skills and availability.”
The meeting included peer-led discussion on topics like ensuring equal opportunities for special populations, building impactful programs, advancing opportunities to engage the business community in the implementation of settled legislation, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Every Student Succeeds Act. It even featured a site tour of the Academies of Nashville at Stratford STEM Magnet High School and engaging presentations on the Tennessee Promise and Reconnect initiatives from Russ Deaton and Jessica Gibson of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and on the Cleveland Plan from Joe Roman, ACCE chairman and president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Four EAD consultants were also on-site to offer their expertise on collective impact, education attainment ecosystems, sustainability, health and wellness, and postsecondary education attainment.
“This was a must attend meeting for any Chamber looking to enhance its effectiveness in education and workforce initiatives. Connecting peers only enhances our ability to demonstrate collective impact at the local level," stated Daniel Colantone, EAD advisory board co-chair and president and CEO, Greater Akron Chamber.
ACCE’s Education Attainment Division provides ACCE members with the connections, support, resources and tools needed to build, sustain and measure their efforts to improve cradle-to-career education and workforce outcomes in their communities. To learn more about the Education Attainment Division, visit acce.org/ead.