Tempe Chamber to implement work-based program

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce recently announced it was selected to participate in a program geared toward helping students connect learning opportunities and work-based programs.

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce was one of five chambers selected to participate in the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Career Readiness Lab and received $95,000 to implement its own work-based program, Career Ready Tempe.

“This program is a great, sustainable way for chambers and the business community to partner with their education partners and their cities,” Anne Gill, Tempe Chamber of Commerce CEO and president, said. “So, we look forward to developing a model that chambers can replicate around the country.”

The U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Career Readiness Lab is dedicated to narrowing the talent gap, so CRT will help low-income, first-generation high school students prepare for their future endeavors with work-based learning experience.

Gill explained that CRT is geared toward connecting students “to a career path that they might not ever have thought would be in their reach by partnering with the business community, the City of Tempe and Tempe Union High School District.”

According to the 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report by PayScale, more than 50 percent of managers felt graduates lack soft skills like critical thinking, problem solving and attention to detail.  

Many managers feel recent graduates are not effectively interacting with others, so “we’re working with students with soft skills credentialing before they can be in the program,” Gill explained.  

CRT not only benefits the students involved, it benefits the participating businesses.

The employers that plan on “working with these internships and work-based learning programs, they can start developing a pipeline for future employees for 10-20 years down the road,” Gill said.

Creating more opportunities and engaging with the community may encourage Tempe residents to stay in the area and build their careers.

“It gives the opportunity for people that live in Tempe to stay and work and live in Tempe once they’ve completed high school or gone onto another degree program,” Gill explained.

“There’s opportunities for businesses to support students in their future endeavors. So, I just think it’s a great way to expand the opportunities for students but as well as get those creative, young, fresh ideas into the business workplace,” Gill said.

Businesses that are interested in participating in CRT can apply online.

Sierra Ciaramella

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