Education Initiatives Build Chambers and Communities


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

If you can read this, you should thank a teacher. Education initiatives strengthen chambers and their communities by strengthening the individuals living in those communities.

This has been National Teacher Appreciation Week, which is sponsored by the National Education Association. At YGM, we’re quite fond of teachers. We respect them, honor them, and deeply appreciate them.

When I begin working with a Chamber and see that they have a strong Education program, I am encouraged by their commitment to the community.

The US Chamber of Commerce  says, “A strong education system is crucial to preparing young people for good jobs and bright futures and sustaining a 21st century workforce that can compete in the global economy.”

Their position is that few initiatives have a greater impact on the future of this country and its prosperity and competitive standing in the world than our educational system.

According to recent statistics provided by the US Chamber of Commerce, approximately 70 percent of students in the United States aren’t proficient in reading or math on an international level.  

If you aren’t sure how your state measures up or why this matters, Achieving Tomorrow has a map that can help. The interactive map of the country allows users to click each state and see educational demographics such as state standards and assessments, reading and math proficiencies, and the skills gap on post-secondary education.

As per the Achieving Tomorrow website, approximately 60 percent of first-year college students require remediation in English or math.

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) discussed the importance of education in their recent report: Horizon Initiative: Chambers 2025.

In 2014, the ACCE launched the Horizon Initiative Task Force to tap into the collective chamber wisdom as well as other resources to predict how each organization might evolve during the coming decade.

The Scarcity and Abundance Influence section of the report states, “By fostering education attainment initiatives, chambers can address skills-jobs disconnects and tap the abundance of employment opportunities.”

“Half of the children who enter ninth grade in urban public schools will not come out of high school ready for career or college,” the report states in the Population Shift Influence section.

These are the statistics that reinforce why it is so important for Chambers, businesses and individuals to rally behind the movement to improve our educational system.

As we all know, investing Chamber dollars in educational programming is investing in the future of the community.

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