The Chamber’s Education Council acts as a liaison between the business community, educational institutions, and providers of services to children and families. Our mission is to ensure that young people leave school prepared to succeed in the workplace of today’s new economy.Council members include business owners and managers, educators, nonprofit representatives, and other interested Chamber members. If you’re interested in joining the Council, feel free to join us at our monthly meetings, which are held on the third Tuesday of the month at 9:00 a.m. at the Chamber office.
Business and education leaders who plan the Chamber’s Career Fair and other programs supporting career-readiness for students. Meets every other month or as needed.
Whose Job Is It, Anyway?
Based on the old TV show, “What’s My Line?”, this interactive program helps students explore different careers by quizzing a panel of business people about what they do. If you’re a business person who would like to join a panel, or a schoolteacher who would like to bring “Whose Job Is It, Anyway?” to your students, email the Council or click here to learn how.
Schools do a great job of teaching students academic subjects, but when it comes to careers, there’s no substitute for talking to a real live business person or professional. Someone like you.
The Chamber’s “Whose Job Is It, Anyway?” program lets students spend an hour interacting with professionals from four different careers, learning about how they got where they are and what a day in their lives looks like. Modeled after the old TV quiz show, “What’s My Line?”, “Whose Job” challenges students to figure out what each panelist does by asking a series of questions.
Being a panelist for “Whose Job” is fun, and a great way to help kids explore careers they might not otherwise hear about. It only takes an hour of your time—and you might surprise yourself at how much knowledge you have to share with them. Sign up to participate today, and a member of the Education Council will contact you when panelists are needed.
Starting in 2015, the Education Council has developed an annual Career Fair. We know that the nation, especially our state, suffers from a “skills gap,” lacking the educated, trained workforce needed to fill current and future job openings. At this regional career fair, students meet face-to-face with local professionals from the area’s fastest growing industries, and find out exactly what skills and education they need to begin their desired career path.
The first annual event was held at Three Rivers Community College, where hundreds of high school students talked with representatives of 30 local companies, and enjoyed breakout discussions representing career “clusters” such as manufacturing, STEM, health and human services, and more.
There is no cost for companies or schools to participate. If you are interested in more information about the next Career Fair, please click here to contact the Chamber.
Read to children once a month over the course of 1 year in a local child care program or school.
Share a specific talent you have with children in your neighborhood, elementary school or local child care program (ex. Sewing, quilting, fishing, musical instruments, puppets, dance, crafts, science experiments, fun health tips, reading, one-on-one math help, basic foreign language, etc.)
Donate extra unused materials to a child care center or school instead of discarding them (ex. Non-latex gloves, scrap paper, computer paper or paper of any kind, pencils or writing instruments, office supplies, toothbrushes or toothpaste, laundry detergent or other safe cleaning products, band-aids, clothing, etc). You might be surprised at all the things a school or child care center could use that you wouldn’t think of, and you would be saving them money to be put toward other critical program needs instead.
Donate your business expertise. Most schools and child care programs could use help with specific areas of expertise that are not related to education like business-related topics, math, computer technology, nursing, gardening or landscaping, nutrition, maintenance, engineering, motivational leadership, and development to just name a few. Let them know what expertise you have and offer to assist them in any way you can. Many will come up with some needs they would never have thought to ask, but that you are best qualified to assist them with as a volunteer.
Offer to start a weekly exercise or walking group at a local elementary school or preschool (before or after school).
Donate excess healthy food product to a local school or child care center for their meal times, or food pantries for families.
If you serve food at your place of business and use the disposable paper kiddie-placemats, partner with local schools and preschools to put activities, games and reminders on the placements that are educational, fun, and give parents suggestions on things to do to help to get children ready to enter school.
Help get bus-routes changed in your town to ensure that all pediatrician’s offices, emergency rooms and walk-in clinics are on the route for drop-off and pick-up for children and families.
Mentor a child one-on-one at school or a child care program (meaning, spend time with them each week at their site for about 1 hour to help them with school work, fun activities, reading, or just play.). All children need strong mentors to succeed and not all children have them in their life.
Donate resources or money to schools or child care programs to increase their program quality for children.
Open your business up to schools and child care centers for fieldtrips, internships, or job shadowing experiences for children of all ages.
Offer to chaperone fieldtrips to your favorite learning venues. Help get businesses in the area to open up to schools and child care programs for free or low-cost field trip experiences for a school or center.
Does your business have vans or buses? Help child care center and schools provide transportation to and from special events? Or, provide transportation to children to and from their child care programs if that is something your business can do. Consider offering the use of your business vehicle on weekends to form book-mobiles to get children’s books out to neighborhoods where families can’t transport their children easily to libraries.
If families shop or spend a large amount of time at your business, consider putting in a family-friendly play area, or quality babysitting area for your clients while they are seeking your services (Ex. Little Y homework club at Big Y stores, children’s play area at Toyota Service Station, etc).
Have fun math worksheets or scavenger hunt games that accentuate math and literacy concepts made up for your place of business so that when families frequent your business the children are engaged, well behaved and reinforcing valuable learning objectives while there.
If you have individuals who speak many different languages, encourage them to volunteer as translators (over the phone, at meetings or through writing) to help schools and programs expand their communication with the very diverse population that is SECT.
Join a board of directors of a local child care program, or consider running for Board of Education.
If you have influence with political leaders, funders, or other businesses, use it to help bring more of our community together to focus on the education of children birth through 12 years.
Volunteer to help fix or spruce up something at a local school or child care program. It is amazing what a new coat of paint, a spruced up lawn and a cleaned playground can do for a school or program!
Partner with schools and programs when you can. Sponsor fundraisers or events, share advertising, leverage resources, post flyers, give gift certificates, create ways for schools and centers to connect to your business in meaningful ways, etc. Work together to mutual benefit.
Encourage employees to volunteer.
Host an annual field day at your neighborhood school or child care program.
Call and offer help, and ask what you and your employees can do to improve lifelong success of children in your community!