Rural Renewal
A core responsibility of a chamber or local economic development agency is to support the economic vitality of the communities they serve. To succeed in that role, it is critical to keep abreast of trends in society to anticipate change and stay ahead. By focusing on building a strong economic foundation for a rural community, that leverages existing resources and tools wherever possible, community leaders can develop a powerful toolkit for courting individuals and business to consider relocating to their towns. 
STEM Pathways
© VEX Robotics Competition, Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation
Successful career pathways are created through deep and meaningful coalitions of organizations. These coalitions bring education, community members, and business leaders together with a shared dedication to meeting society's biggest challenges in a responsible, sustainable, and profitable way. They blur the lines between formal education, community service, workforce development, and economic development. 
Qualcomm 2019
© Qualcomm

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 8.6 million STEM jobs in May 2015, with the highest jobs in software development, user support, and systems analysts. Despite the high number of jobs, the lack of skilled workers in the labor force allow these positions to go unfilled. To make matters worse, the existing STEM workforce lacks diversity among women and minorities, not representing the emerging workforce of women and underrepresented groups. 

Experimental Sites Initiative + Federal Work Study
© 2019 Getty Images
Though not widely known outside of the education community, the Department of Education recently released information about a new pilot for institutions willing to reimagine their Federal Work Study (FWS) programs. Given the pilot’s emphasis on increased industry engagement in FWS, it is imperative that the business community be informed about the pilot and reach out to their education partners to leverage this pioneering opportunity to benefit our nation’s students. Chances like this are few and far between…and will become completely obsolete if limited interest prevails innovative thinking. 

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