A skilled workforce is essential to building a thriving economy. To ensure a competitive workforce, business must support an ambitious effort to increase post-secondary education attainment through affordable, flexible access to high quality degrees and credentials aligned with workforce needs. Chambers can facilitate collaborative partnerships to increase the number of post-secondary degrees and high quality certificates in their communities. See additional resources on the page for Mobilizing Employers to Upskill their Employees
Award-Winning Chamber Samples
Chambers Impacting Higher Education Attainment
- ACCE-Lumina Award for Education Attainment - explore how winning chambers are working to increase higher education attainment in their regions:
- The Bristol County Chamber of Commerce (Mass.) spearheads the EdUp Education Campaign, a branding and long term media outreach campaign aimed at raising community aspirations regarding educational attainment. Through opinion articles, TV segments, radio spots, and more, the chamber is transforming community perceptions and attainment of post-secondary degrees.
- Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce's (Texas) Summer Melt Program helps high school graduates overcome obstacles to directly enroll in college, including financial aid verification, gaps in cost of college attendance, and extending counselor contracts.
- The Kentucky Chamber has for several years supported efforts to tie education funding at state colleges and universities to improved student outcomes. State lawmakers recently enacted a budget that sets aside 5% of each institution’s funding to be allocated using a perfomance-based funding model. The chamber recently hosted a meeting of the workgroup that is developing the funding model, and has partnered with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence to publish a report and host a symposium to discuss examples from other states and best practices for program design, planning, implementation, and analysis.
- The Little Rock Regional Chamber (Ark.) and North Little Rock Chamber (Ark.) supported a college affordability agreement between University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College and University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The agreement, called Metro 2 + 2 Degree, makes it possible for residents to receive an affordable bachelor's degree through a streamlined transfer process.
- The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is a sponsor of the statewide Cash for College campaign, which promotes college access through financial aid awareness.
- Tennessee Scholars Program - Initiative of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Eastman Chemical to increase the percentage of Tennessee high school graduates that are prepared for post-secondary education, the workforce, or the military.
- The York County Economic Alliance (Pa.), has created a marketing campaign geared towards 8th-10th graders regarding high priority occupations in York County called "Learn to Earn" focusing on a "Careers in 2 Years" campaign. It's vital to have an education beyond high school. Post-secondary education or technical training brings endless possibilities and opportunities. The goal is that by regionalizing the effort will further unify the workforce development efforts with the economic development efforts of the region.
Chamber-Higher Education Partnerships
- Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce (Ky.) partnered on an initiative to raise the funds and supplies needed to ensure all students at the Warren County Area Tech Center had the resources they need to take the professional certification exams needed for employment after graduation. In addition, the chamber set and met their goal to have a job offer for all graduating seniors at the ATC who have obtained their industry certification.
- Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce (Ga.) serves in the Archway Partnership with the University of Georgia, a program that seeks to connect the University and its surrounding communities to address the state's economic development needs and access to education. The Chamber is a leading partner in the Whitfield County sector, serving on the Executive Committee and various sub-committees related to K-12 and Higher Education.
- ChamberLink - a Chamber published magazine spread outlining the Archway Partnership’s education initiatives
- Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce (Mo.): Central Missouri Innovation Campus is a partnership between the chamber, Lincoln University, and Linn State Technical College focused on providing a qualified workforce in the Information Technology (IT) sector. This is a structured, scholarship-based program for high school seniors to obtain an associates or bachelor degree through duel credit and stackable credentials.
Equipping Business to Invest in Higher Education Attainment
- Baton Rouge Area Chamber (La.) leads BRAIN, the Baton Rouge Area Intern Network, which seeks to increase the number of internships available to students to better expose students to the various job opportunities in the region. BRAIN has developed in internship job board and various webpages that provide information, tools and resources for both companies and students.
- Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce (R.I.) collaborates with the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority and several other partners to expand the number of internships available to students through bRIgde, a program that works to bridge jobs and talent for employers and offers an online internship website. The program is also outlined in Rhode Island’s 2014 Legislative Action Plan Rhode to Work.
- Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce trains and certifies young adults to become work-ready through its LA Youth at Work program, which includes a multi-step process that seeks to jumpstart the future careers for L.A. area youth. The program serves several thousand youth each year through its Job Skills Workshops. The chamber then connects students who have successfully completed a workshop and mock interview process to internship and job opportunities in the region.
- Mobilizing Businesses to Reach Goal 2025, a report developed by the Los Angeles Area Chamber and Lumina Foundation, examines how supporting employee education attainment can impact the workplace. The report, which has received White House attention, highlights business policies that facilitate employees’ attainment of postsecondary credentials and degrees.
- Metro Atlanta Chamber's Internship Toolkit offers support mechanisms to help employers provide meaningful and mutually beneficial internship experiences to post-secondary students. The toolkit covers all aspects of internship planning, such as common policies, course credit, working with universities, labor laws, and sample paperwork templates.
- St. Louis Regional Chamber's Degrees That Work Employer Toolkit offers support mechanisms to help businesses invest in educational opportunities for their employees. The toolkit equips employers with knowledge of key policies and best practices that support employee degree completion.
- Tulsa Regional Chamber (Okla.) launched Tulsa's Young Professionals, an organization that works to attract and retain young talent in Tulsa, and Intern In Tulsa, an online portal to engage students and employers in internship opportunities.
- Lumina Foundation's Strategic Plan for 2017-20 - Outlines a vision for reaching its goal that 60% of Americans hold high-quality postsecondary credentials by 2025 by building an equitable universal postsecondary learning system for the United States.
- College Promise Programs Database - This University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education database allows users to sort programs based on key components and specific characteristics.
- Community Colleges: Multiple Missions, Diverse Student Bodies, and a Range of Policy Solutions - The Urban Institute report explores how the diversity of students, programs, missions and funding structures at community colleges can affect federal, state, and local policy initiatives to improve student outcomes. (August 2016)
- The High Cost of Higher Education - Report from the The Pew Charitable Trusts Stateline, which explains that "Paying for college has become a financial strain on middle-class families across the country, and a source of anxiety for recent graduates saddled with student debt." (January 2016)
- The College Scorecard, a college search tool from the federal government that helps families make smarter decisions about attending college, allows users to search institutions easily and look up details like monthly loan repayment and average post-graduation income.
- Blurring Boundaries: Transforming Place, Policies, and Partnerships for Postsecondary Education Attainment In Metropolitan Areas - From the Institute for Higher Education Policy (February 2014)
- Business at the Table: The Employer Drive for Higher Education Attainment - Selection of case studies highlighting lessons for all chamber and business leaders interested in increasing the number of quality degrees and credentials in their communities. (May 2012)
- Bringing Business to the Table: Involving Chambers of Commerce and their Members for Higher Education Attainment - Report created by ACCE and Partners for Livable Communities (February 2012)
Articles & Blog Posts
Convention & Seminar Resources
- Reconnecting the Volunteer State - Presentation from the ACCE 2017 Annual Convention in Nashville.
- Think Tank: Strengthening Higher Ed Ecosystems - Think sheet from the ACCE 2017 Annual Convention in Nashville.
- Higher Education Ecosystem - Presentation handout from the 2016 ACCE Annual Convention by Lindsay Haymes, Vice President, Workforce Development, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce (Mo.); Greg Laposa, Vice President, Education Strategies, St. Louis Regional Chamber; and Gilbert Zavala, Vice President, Education and Talent Development, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (Texas).
- Leveraging Data to Drive a Talent Agenda - Presentation from by Brian Bosworth, President, FutureWorks; and Tina Wirth, Senior Director of Workforce Development, JAX Chamber (Fla.); from the 2015 ACCE Annual Convention.
- Reaching Goal 2025 - Presentation handout from the 2015 ACCE Annual Convention highlighting the 2015-16 Lumina Education Attainment Award Winners.
Presentations and Webinars
- Addressing the Skills Jobs Disconnect - ACCE's EAD Team offered this webinar which highlighted the work of 2 chambers in demonstrating how they are tackling post-secondary learning by focusing on different stages in the attainment continuum – ensuring students have access and means to attend college, and then supporting them toward degree completion. (March 2017)
- Creating Career Pathways for the Current and Future Workforce - Presented in June 2015 by Haley Glover, Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation; Joe Henning, CEO, Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce (Ill.); and Alison Van Dam, Vice President, Development/Operations, Metro South Chamber of Commerce (Mass.). Presentation slides also available.
- Chambers Impacting Higher Education Policy - ACCE University Webinar (free) (2014)
- Goal 2025: Mobilize at the Regional, National and Local Level to Increase Higher Education Attainment - Presentation by Haley Glover, Lumina Foundation and Nancy Eisenbrandt, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce (Tenn.) discuss business-education partnerships to increase the number of post-secondary degrees and credentials in your community.
- Business at the Table: Understanding the Data on Higher Education Attainment - Presentation by Dewayne Matthews, Vice President, Policy and Strategy, Lumina Foundation (May 2012)
- Connecting Business to Postsecondary Attainment - Presentation by Anthony Carnevale, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (February 2012)
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| Higher EducationLast Updated: 2/13/2018