Eleven chambers have been selected by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Foundation to participate in an Economic Mobility for Rural Workers Cohort. These chambers serve rural communities and will bring local partners together to provide rural learners and workers from low-income backgrounds with the training needed to access living-wage jobs. The chambers are:
- The Box Elder Chamber of Commerce (Utah)
- Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce (Mo.)
- Lebanon Valley Chamber (Pa.)
- Jackson County Chamber of Commerce (Fla.)
- Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. (Wash.)
- Berkeley Chamber of Commerce (S.C.)
- Vail Valley Partnership (Colo.)
- White County Chamber of Commerce (Ga.)
- Elevate Rapid City (S.D.)
- One Acadiana (La.)
- Bristol Chamber (Va./Tenn.)
“Economic mobility is essential to unlocking broader economic prosperity,” said Sheree Anne Kelly, ACCE’s president & CEO. “Chambers of commerce are catalytic leaders ideally suited to address pressing talent challenges and ensure thriving and equitable rural economies.”
For decades, communities have been working in silos to address the issue of rural postsecondary education and training. In many cases, the education, nonprofit and business sectors are not communicating, much less collaborating. The Economic Mobility for Rural Workers Cohort aims to help rural, low-income learners gain the right skills for long-term success, a fundamental component of creating equitable economic growth.
ACCE Foundation will provide technical assistance, consulting support, peer learning opportunities and connections to content experts. The cohort of 11 communities will be divided into four subgroups to pilot strategies to address needs and support outcomes for low-income rural workers to secure well-paid jobs. Participants will track the number of low-income workers placed in well-paid jobs and the average wage increase for participating learners. Participants will also measure progress toward strengthening community relationships throughout the cohort.
Chambers of commerce are uniquely positioned to build and support cross-sector coalitions that create sustained business engagement in education and workforce development. They can support connections between postsecondary education providers, learners and employers to ensure that rural learners have clear pathways to well-paid employment without relocating.
The ACCE Foundation received support for this cohort from Ascendium Education Philanthropy.