South Jersey Chamber Connects Education with Business

February 9, 2016

The South Jersey Summer Institute for Educators, a program hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey, is designed to reduce the gap between education and business that plagues our current system. The Institute targets 4th to 12th grade teachers and invites them to participate in a three-week program.

Consisting of panel discussions, facility tours of local businesses and manufacturers, and keynote speakers, the Institute familiarizes teachers with pivotal economic, business, and public policy issues. In turn, teachers gain an in-depth understanding of which skills and characteristics will be most valuable to enhancing workforce readiness and stimulating South Jersey’s regional economy.

Since its founding in 1992, the Institute has educated more than 550 teachers and has received outstanding responses and results. One hundred percent of participating teachers reported that the program examines business, economics, and related issues in a stimulating and informative way.

Kevin Mandala, a social sciences teacher at Gateway Regional High School, affirms this positive feedback: “The South Jersey Summer Institute is a one-of-a-kind experience that connects teachers to local industries, helping bridge the gap between today’s students and tomorrow’s work environment.”

The Institute’s 2015 session showed better results than ever, as teachers reported nearly perfect scores when evaluating various aspects such as relevance, presenters, and activities, and 94% said they would adapt the content into their regular curriculum.

The South Jersey Summer Institute is a one-of-a-kind experience that connects teachers to local industries, helping bridge the gap between today’s students and tomorrow’s work environment.

An undeniable advantage of the program is its monetary implications—or lack thereof. Kathleen Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey, says that all operating costs are funded by the private sector, posing no fiscal implications on local taxpayers.

“All businesses say it’s so essential to have an educated workforce,” adds Davis. “This program fills an important need in that regard, reaching the gatekeepers of education.”

Students are America’s greatest resource, and their preparedness is imperative to the success of tomorrow’s economy and workforce. The Institute provides educators with an understanding of why it is so critical to adequately prepare America’s future workforce and exactly how to accomplish this.

Through effective, financially sound efforts like the South Jersey Summer Institute for Educators, the New Jersey business community can help ensure that up-and-coming professionals are equipped with the necessary skills to sustain our ever-changing 21st century economy.

For more information on the Institute, email Kathleen Davis at kdavis@chambersnj.com.