The American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) has recognized Greater Spokane Incorporated’s (GSI) work in education and workforce as a national case study.
GSI joined six other communities in being recognized.
As a business-focused organization, GSI realizes the importance of a good education in creating a strong business community. That’s why GSI supports a community goal of having at least 60 percent of adults in Spokane County having achieved at least a certificate, two-year degree or greater by 2025.
“This national recognition is the result of the community working together to take advantage of the opportunity to do something special,” said Alisha Benson, GSI’s Vice President of Education and Workforce. “While there is still a lot of work to do, the programs and partners we have at GSI are working to increase education attainment, not just for the benefit of the business community, but the broader community as well.”
GSI helps to prepare our future workforce through a number of programs:
- Teaching the Teachers: A program that brings educators into businesses in the region to get an understanding of what skills and education are needed for certain industries. During the 2013-2014 school year, seven businesses hosted an average of 20 educators at various workshops. GSI already has 12 workshops lined up for the 2014-2015 school year.
- Business AfterSchool: Brings students into businesses for tours and hands-on learning so they understand what it’s like to work in a certain industry setting. GSI has hosted Engineering Week and Health Care Week, with 15 companies hosting nearly 200 students and parents.
- Work 101: Matches high school students with area businesses for a two-week work-based learning experience with a focus on developing our future workforce, building 21st-century skills and promoting career awareness. More than 100 area students have been matched with area businesses during the past two school years combined.
GSI also works closely with a number of area organizations to connect the business and education communities:
- Spokane STEM: GSI leads the operations of the Spokane STEM Network, which works to transform the way we think, learn and live through science, technology, engineering and math.
- Priority Spokane: A program partner of GSI, Priority Spokane works to create a healthy and vibrant community through education initiatives. It was recently awarded a $25,000 prize from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for its work.
- Excelerate Success: An organization that focuses on certain milestones in a child’s life that are proven to be important to academic success. Excelerate Success recently received a grant from the Lumina Foundation for its strategy to increase education attainment.
GSI was also named an inaugural Education Attainment Fellow by ACCE. GSI joins 21 other organizations in developing regional action plans to increase education attainment.
Working with area school districts and higher education institutions is important to connect the business and education communities. GSI’s K-12 Roundtable and Higher Education Leadership Group engage business and education representatives in important policy, economic development and communication discussions throughout the year.
In addition, GSI is tasked with recruiting businesses to the Spokane region. Businesses looking at the greater Spokane area focus on the available talent to hire in the region. GSI’s work in education and workforce helps prepare area students for jobs that need to be filled in high-demand industries.