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Afterschool S.T.E.M.

Preparing your workforce for the jobs of the future requires early, industry-focused investment to be effective. Research continues to show the academic and social benefits of afterschool and out-of-school time (OST) learning, and chambers of commerce are taking notice.

Afterschool and summer programs offer unique opportunities to raise awareness about career pathways and enable youth to start developing the technical skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Chambers that partner with key stakeholders in their communities to support afterschool learning opportunities are creating a competitive edge for their communities by advancing their talent development needs.

Through a partnership with C.S. Mott Foundation and STEM Next, ACCE has developed a portfolio of resources to support chambers as they work to partner, collaborate and lead community workforce development efforts through afterschool opportunities, including those with an emphasis on STEM.

Chamber Examples

  • The Salina Area Chamber of Commerce (Kan.) partnered with the Kansas Enrichment Network, the state’s afterschool statewide network, to support the creation of EPIC– a digital badging program aimed at addressing the 21st Century skills gap for youth entering the workforce. Through the program, students utilize math and science skills to earn badges in fields like culinary science and digital citizenry.
  • Greater Spokane Incorporated (Wash.), which serves as the backbone organization for the regional Spokane STEM Network, also facilitates an aftershool program known as Business AfterSchool. Through the Business AfterSchool program, students participate in interactive industry skill workshops hosted by local businesses. These workshops offer students hands-on STEM experiences while introducing them to potential career paths in their community.
  • The South Carolina Chamber works in partnership with the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance to close the state's skills gap by promoting quality afterschool programming for students in the state's public school system. The two entities help one another by increasing visibility and credibility among their respective audiences.
  • The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce (Ark.) operates a STEM learning lab called the Northwest Arkansas Fab Lab. The space includes a vinyl cutter, CNC router, laser engraver, design software, 3D printers and more. The chamber offers use of the Fab Lab to the public and provides educational programs for community members from elementary school through adulthood. The Fab Lab was designed to build a community of innovators and artists while helping spark interest in STEM.
  • Casper Area Chamber (Wyo.) offers Juinor Leadership Casper to 8th and 9th graders to teach students communication, leadership, and relationship-building skills. The chamber is rolling out a new program, called Be Entrepreneurial, in collaboration with the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance. This program will work with high school juniors and seniors to learn the skills and processes of starting a small business and will end with a Shark Tank-style competition judged by local business owners.

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Last Updated: 6/10/2019

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