Career Readiness Lab

“With nearly 6 million young adults both out of school and work, there is a clear talent gap between the needs of the business community and how future talent is prepared for careers,” said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber Foundation Center for Education and Workforce. “The U.S. Chamber Foundation has a rich history of building capacity for employers to meet their talent needs and expand economic opportunity. Through this work, we have identified one primary avenue for new forms of business engagement in career readiness: work-based learning.”

Expanding upon our Business Leads initiative, which began with the 2018 launch of the Fellowship Program, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is proud to support five state or local chambers of commerce with $95,000 each through the Career Readiness Lab to implement a work-based learning program to better connect students with academic and experiential learning opportunities to graduate ready for college and career. 

The Career Readiness Lab is a network of chambers dedicated to fill the talent gap by developing and implementing strategic programming that promotes leading work-based learning and employment practices and creates opportunity for students and employers aligned to the economic needs of the region. Advised by national experts, participants of the program are establishing sustainable, scalable models of work-based learning that can be replicated by chambers of commerce across the country.

Participants of the Program

Participants of the Career Readiness Lab were announced in a December 11 press release. The program begins for participants in January 2019 and will conclude in May 2020.

Technology Enables Career-Aligned Training at Scale

Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, Whitinsville, MA
The Blackstone Valley Education Hub Advanced Manufacturing Career Readiness Program’s remote classroom learning program will serve 10 high school districts with an employer-led curriculum, driven by local manufacturer demand directly aligned with current gaps in the local workforce to help fill those needs.

Students Inspired with Direct Connection to Employers

The Lancaster Chamber, Lancaster, PA
The Inspire system makes it possible for local employers to interact directly with students through discussion boards, mock interviews, and career assessments that drive students to explore potential career opportunities and related labor market information. The Lancaster Chamber will train counselors and career readiness educators in each school system on how to make the most of this system and increase usage by a minimum of 3,000 students.

A Mobile Solution for a Rural Problem

Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Augusta, ME
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is taking their solution on the road, using a state-of-the art mobile remote training program to connect career and technical centers, community colleges, and businesses with area students to bring skilled trades industry and hands-on education to all corners of the state. 

Expanding Equity through Work-Based Learning Opportunities

Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Tempe, AZ
Partnering with local government and school systems, Career Ready Tempe will connect low-income, first generation high school students with work-based learning experiences that not only bring opportunity to the student, but also help develop work-based learning as a talent development strategy in Tempe, creating a sustainable model for the future. 

Training for Students AND Businesses

Wake Forest Chamber Foundation, Wake Forest, NC
The Wake Forest Career Readiness Lab will connect high school students to a Chamber business for a semester-long internship, hosting monthly soft skills and leadership educational opportunities for the students. At the same time, businesses will be trained on how to offer meaningful, valuable internship programs for area students.