Yes, the World Baseball Classic was in town, but it was the conclusion of a six-month business fellowship that led me to Miami last month.
“Bienvenido a Miami!” as the locals say.
As I shared months ago, I had the honor of representing the Redding Chamber of Commerce as one of just 35 chamber professionals from across the country to engage nationally on critical education and workforce issues. This was the seventh cohort funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. I sought out this opportunity because, no matter the business type or industry, attracting and retaining talent is what our membership has indicated is one of its bigger ongoing issues. I learned a lot through this experience, much more than I can include in this write-up. That said, here are three takeaways that I will share now:
1) From the “Womb to the Workplace”: Workforce Development is a lifelong practice. I give kudos to my mom, who, as a transitional kindergartener for many years, has shared with us the importance of the first five years of human development. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees. Not only is it important in terms of laying the foundation for early learning, it is the very access (or lack thereof) to quality, affordable early learning opportunities that is impacting our economy in identified “childcare deserts” across the country and the north state. Think of it this way: if no one is available to watch the kids, mom or dad has to stay home and is oftentimes unable to participate in the workforce.
2) The Redding Chamber of Commerce has an important role to play in making sure that the business community is aware of, and helping to shape what is being taught in the classrooms and workshops of postsecondary education and career training centers. Already, the Chamber has been a part of the creation of an Accounting Clerk apprenticeship program called A$ET at Shasta College and is working to grow the number of accounting professionals in the local workforce.
3) Connecting local high school students with meaningful careers needs to occur after they take a career assessment and before they choose their educational pathway. When in Washington D.C. in October, those in the business fellowship agreed that “You Science” is the preferred assessment tool. It takes into account the student’s aptitude first, and includes data on current and future industries in terms of average salaries and number of jobs in a possible future career. Locally, College & Career Options provides these assessments FREE to our community. Additionally, the Redding Chamber is partnering with the Shasta County Office of Education, Simpson University, SMART Workforce Center, and O2 Employment Services on a future program. Stay tuned.
In summary, you will see the Redding Chamber continue to work to build strong partnerships with local organizations to better serve you in the development of and retention of talent in Shasta County.
And, in case you were wondering, I did make it to a World Baseball Classic game in Miami. Mexico beat Puerto Rico in a dramatic comeback by a final of 5-4. Let’s just say my four years of Spanish in high school and one semester at Shasta College were very helpful, both at the game and when catching an UBER back to the hotel.