Preparing tomorrow’s workforce today

  • By: Doug Betts, Business/Education Committee Chairman

Every month, the members of our Fresno Chamber Business / Education Committee come together to provide updates on the work of the many organizations in the Fresno region currently charged with helping students, both young and old, pursue higher career ambitions.  The ultimate goal of our committee is to help engage more businesses as we work at this endeavor, therefore increasing our effectiveness and truly serving the Chamber’s mission of “Promoting business and enhancing the economic and cultural well-being ofFresnoCountyresidents.”

Our group’s belief is that in order to accomplish the “economic…well-being of…residents” portion of the mission, it is necessary to provide a talented and skilled workforce pool from which employers can selec workers that will in turn help enhance the business environment and facilitate a thriving economy for our city.  In order to make this happen, it takes all kinds, and we’re calling everyone to the table to help make sureFresno’s employable individuals are prepared to be employed. Three of the organizations that we maintain close contact due to our shared goal are Jr. Achievement,BigPictureHigh Schooland Joint Task Force for Business and Education Partnerships.

Jr. Achievement has opportunities for businesses or individuals to assist young people as they prepare for the working world through a variety of programs.  There are several ways you can get involved in helping the mission of this organization such as volunteering to give pre-prepared, easy-to-teach lessons to youth from 2nd grade through high school.  One of the most popular volunteer opportunities is job-shadowing, where a young person is exposed to the real-life working-world for a few hours by coming to your place of business to see how it operates first hand.  Jr. Achievement also conducts companywide fund-raising projects to help further the mission.

BigPictureHigh Schoolis a charter school inFresnothat has a very unique way of teaching academic subjects.  The learning process is meant to be specifically applicable to the “real world” and even allows students to work at business sites as interns for three days of their school week, every week.  They are productive participants for the businesses involved and also emerge with a greater understanding of potential careers.  The school staff closely monitors the work environment and connects the actual work done off-site to academic lessons for greater learning comprehension.

The “Joint Task Force for Business and Education Partnerships” is comprised of representatives from Fresno Compact, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, Jr. Achievement, andFresno,ClovisandCentralUnifiedSchool Districts.  Their primary task is to coordinate 3 job shadow events per year, typically in specific industry sectors identified to be of particular relevance.  The students are often enrolled in courses of study at their high schools focused on these specific sectors.  At various times during the year, they are given an opportunity to spend half a day at the businesses in order to see how the industry actually functions.

If you are interested in learning more about these opportunities to get involved you are welcome to contact me through the Chamber office.  I would be delighted to help you get involved!

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