Investing in Our Future
Written by Andrea H. Reay, President/CEO of the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce
When I first started working at the Chamber, I asked our members what the number one issue impacting their business was. Their answer: “workforce.” Access to skilled and trained employees was their number one issue then and continues to be the primary concern among our local businesses. As the primary non-profit focused on serving our business community, we wanted to take a proactive approach to helping our local businesses succeed. We identified education and workforce development as the way to begin to bridge the gap between the people living in our community that need better, higher-paying jobs and the businesses that need skilled workers.
There is a workforce shortage, and equally at play is a skill shortage. Our Chamber is dedicated to building that bridge and to find an end-to-end, business-led solution to both the worker and skill shortage. That is why we launched our Success Foundation. That is why we built a workforce coalition of members and partners; the Workforce Innovation Network (W.I.N. for short) was formed because we all win when our businesses can grow, and our community is rightfully employed. That is why we also launched an Exploring Post with BSA to host a summer program focused on introducing our local youth to a world of work outside their immediate frame of reference. During the summer of 2019, we served youth from Highline and Tyee High School and helped them participate in the NASA ANGLeS Challenge. The Southside Argonauts plan to come back bigger and stronger than ever at the NASA ROADS on Mars Challenge in the summer of 2020. After the conclusion of each summer STEM program, those same students participate in our Window Into Work program in order to show them how to apply the skills they just learned in various jobs available in the Southside community. Together with our members and partners, we are inspiring, mentoring, and coaching our next generation of leaders.
The 2019 Southside Argonauts and their robot, R-GO
This work is necessary. This work will provide sustainable economic development and has the power to lift our community out of poverty in just one generation. But, we cannot do this work alone. I encourage you to reach out to us to learn more about our Education and Workforce Initiatives here at the Chamber. Maybe your business is interested in joining our coalition. Maybe you have time and could volunteer with the Southside Argonauts. Maybe you have money left in your budget to make a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year. There are so many ways to help invest in our future.
Thank you to our donors whose efforts have made our Success Foundation possible thus far. However, we are still in need of sponsors and donors to ensure this work can continue in the future. If you or your business is capable and interested in volunteering or sponsoring a student or our program, please let us know. Your help is much appreciated and will go a long way to ensure that our community is ready to meet any and all future challenges.
For more information about our Success Foundation and its specific initiatives, please visit our website http://www.seattlesouthsidechamber.com/successfoundation, send an email Andrea@SeattleSouthsideChamber.com, or give our office a call at (206) 575-1633.
This article was written by Andrea H. Reay, President/CEO of Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, “A voice for business, a leader in the community.” Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila since 1988. For more information about the Chamber, including a full list of member benefits and resources, please visit their website at www.SeattleSouthsideChamber.com
Parts of this blog article were originally published on the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce Blog in July of 2019 and has been edited for conciseness and clarity.