Mobilizing Employers to Upskill their Employees

Chambers of commerce and their business communities play a critical role in helping to close the skills gap in their communities. This page features examples of how chambers and organizations across the nation are mobilizing employers in their community to implement programs and policies, such as tuition assistance programs and flexible work policies, that encourage degree, certificate and credential completion among working adults. These examples also highlight how employers who invest in the growth and development of their employees can boost employee productivity and retention while improving the economic vitality of their region.

Chambers Mobilizing Employers to Upskill their Employees

Organizations Supporting Post-Secondary Education Degree Attainment Among Working Adults

  • College for America partners with employers from across the country to bring flexible, accredited, and affordable degree opportunities to employees looking to develop skills needed to advance their degrees. The online programs are designed to be immediately applicable to the workplace and have seen 9 out of 10 graduates stay with their current employer.
  • The Graduate! Network supports collaboration amongs regional higher education, business, government and labor sectors to enhance or add services that position comebackers (i.e. adults returning to college) to complete degrees. The Graduate Network! approach is adaptable to the workforce and higher education landscape of any local community and designed for large scale impact.
  • Lumina Foundation, a national foundation focused on increasing postsecondary attainment partnered with Cigna to design a study, Talent Investments Pay Off, to analyze Cigna’s Education Reimbursement Program (ERP). The study found that every dollar the company puts into the program is returned and generates a 129 percent return on investment.
  • Tennessee Reconnect, an initiative of the State of Tennessee, helps adults pursue higher education opportunities to gain new skills, advance in the workplace, and fulfill lifelong dreams of completing a degree or credential. The initiative has developed three step-by-step guides, which are designed to help adults who are going to college for the first time, returning to college to finish a degree and enrolling in college as a veteran and service member.
  • UpSkill America, an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and help economies and communities thrive, promotes training and advancement practices for employers to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs.
    • The Upskill America movement is aligned with the President’s Upskill initiative, led by Joe Biden. The White House produced a report outlining the need, trends, and strategies for upskilling and a summary of over a hundred specific commitments made by companies towards upskilling their employees.

Convention & Seminar Resources

  • Investing in the Higher Education of Incumbent Employees - Presentation by Alisha Benson, CCE, IOM, Vice President, Education & Workforce, Greater Spokane Incorporated (Wash.); Alison van Dam, IOM, Vice President, Metro South Chamber of Commerce (Mass.). From the 2016 ACCE Annual Convention.

Webinars & ACCE U Resources

To highlight your organization's work, please submit a sample here. For more information about the Education Attainment Division, visit or email

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Last Updated: 10/23/2017