The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, the voice of and catalyst for business success in the Aurora region, is elated to announce that it is one of seven organizations to be selected by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) to participate in a new national program to help strengthen chamber of commerce partnerships with community colleges and community organizations to increase the number of adult learners of color who earn an industry-relevant credential or degree.
“We believe that developing a strong workforce is not only the key to business success, but it is the key to our region’s success,” said Jessica Linder Gallo, President & CEO of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. “It is imperative that organizations across the region build strong collaborations and find new ways to empower our workforce; our data points heavily toward adult learners of color, specifically our African-American and Latinx populations, and we could not be more proud to be leading the way in this effort along with our partners.”
Partnerships between chambers of commerce and community colleges have the potential to significantly increase the number of adult learners of color completing high-quality, relevant, short-term credentials and degrees. Given the current spotlight on upskilling and the resources that are being reallocated to fund short-term credentials, now is the time to capitalize on the potential for these partnerships.
To support the development of these partnerships, and to increase the number of workers with in-demand credentials and degrees, Lumina Foundation has provided a grant to jumpstart progress. The ACCE Foundation (ACCEF) and American Association of Community Colleges identified a virtual cohort of teams from seven cities or regions. Each team will be comprised of a chamber, a community college partner and an organization that directly represents minority communities.
Representing Aurora, the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce will team up with Waubonsee Community College and Quad County Urban League to identify the barriers to credential attainment and create quick-win solutions to address those challenges. The Aurora team of organizations will join teams from six other regions on monthly virtual convenings to gain access to national subject matter experts, receive customized technical assistance and engage in peer-to-peer learning activities to create a strategy for longer-term collaboration to build momentum after the grant period ends.
The other regions participating in the program include:
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Fargo, North Dakota
- North Central Massachusetts
- Tallahassee, Florida
“We are grateful for Lumina Foundation’s continued support for the catalytic leadership chambers of commerce provide in the communities they serve,” said ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “Strong cross-sector partnerships are crucial to addressing workforce challenges, building resilient local economies and creating opportunities for everyone to thrive.”