By Marnie Uhl, President/CEO of Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce
How do we, as businesses, ensure that a strong local economy will be perpetuated and sustainable in the future? Where is the future of our business leadership and entrepreneurs?
Years ago, the Prescott Valley Chamber identified that to have a community with a strong and vibrant business climate, investments must be made. One such investment was made to engage in our education system and schools.
The Chamber has been proactive in its support and commitment to our school and college districts; not only in providing services but creating an atmosphere of business collaboration and encouragement.
Each year, our schools welcome new teachers. In most cases, they are new to the area. We want them to start off on the right foot so we work with our businesses to make “welcome bags.” These are filled with basic classroom necessities: paper, pens, clips, tissue, wipes, etc. The bags are presented at the new teacher orientations. This project has been extremely well received and supported.
This year, the Chamber partnered with Bradshaw Mountain High School (Go Bears!) to sponsor a job and career fair.
For one day, students met with potential employers and representatives of business and industry to develop connections and look at employment opportunities. Business leaders shared their thoughts on educational paths to careers they might be interested in.
We look forward to further developing this annual program for this new school year.
In our Adopt-a-School program, businesses “adopted” a school and were there to provide support, assistance and a connection. Each business and school would determine what that “support” would look like.
Some business rallied behind teacher/staff support with snacks, goodies and parties; others worked on cleanup and landscaping projects; while others supported food drives or purchased much-needed equipment.
In addition, the Chamber provides scholarships for graduating seniors and has awarded over $25,000. The Chamber Ambassadors have rallied behind raising funds for the scholarships and raising their goal of the number of scholarships given each year.
As CEO, I was a founding member of the Humboldt Education Foundation and served as its first President, and I’m currently the President of the Yavapai College Foundation Board.
The Prescott Valley Chamber will continue to look at opportunities for increased engagement between the business community, our schools and our kids. www.pvchamber.org.