Business Leads Fellowship Program

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 12:00pm to Friday, September 21, 2018 - 3:00pm
Le Meridien Hotel
333 Poydras St
New Orleans, LA 70130
United States

Over the years, we have cultivated a network of education and workforce champions across the country through signature programming to equip state and local chambers and associations with the information, resources, and tools necessary to implement change in their communities along the education and workforce continuum. The Business Leads Fellowship Program continues that work. 
The program consists of two separate, three-day intensive workshops that focus on the history, policy, and programming on topics spanning the education pipeline including early education, K-12, college and career readiness, postsecondary education, and workforce development. The workshops are taught by expert faculty as well as staff from state and local chambers who have put policy into practice to bring change and opportunity to their communities. 
This event, focusing on early education, K-12, and career readiness, is the first of those two workshops. The second workshop for this program will be held on January 16-18, 2019 in Phoenix, AZ and will complete the rest of the talent pipeline, including higher education, workforce development, and upskilling and reskilling. Participants must complete both sessions of the program. 

Participants of this Program

In order to be considered for the Business Leads Fellowship Program:

  • You should currently work at a state or local chamber or statewide association.
  • You should currently engage in or desire to engage in education and/or workforce issues in your community.
  • You must be able to attend all sessions of both workshops.

Cost associated? There is no cost to you or your organization to participate in this program. The Chamber Foundation will cover travel, lodging, and up to $400 in travel expenses for both in-person workshops. 

The Chamber Foundation is eager to partner with the ready and the willing—communities that plan to use the learnings from Business Leads in meaningful ways during and after the program. If you are interested in this program, and meet the criteria outlined above, please submit your application to Haley Ast ( no later than August 3, 2018. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


  • How many participants will be accepted? State and local chambers from across the country were invited to apply, and 35 individuals will participate. Applicants will be notified if they are accepted into the program the week of August 6, 2018. Those accepted will receive the agenda, pre-reads, and other resources and information in advance of the first day of the program. 
  • Is there a limit on the number of people that can apply from a single chamber/organization? There is no limit to how many people can apply from one organization.
  • What level should a Fellow be? Applications range from President & CEO to Coordinator. The most important characteristic in the selection process is your interest in learning about the education and workforce pipeline and your commitment to applying the principles learned during the program in your community. 
  • Will there be another Business Leads Fellowship Program? It is our intention to expand the Business Leads Fellowship Program to a second cohort and we will notify you when the application opens.
  • Are you accepting a specific number of participants from each state? We are not aiming for a specific number of participants from each state. We are looking for the best candidates who will apply what they learn at the Business Leads Fellowship Program in their community. 
  • I can’t attend all sessions of both meetings. Can I still participate? You must be able to attend all sessions of both meetings. If you cannot attend both meetings, we encourage you to apply to the next Business Leads Fellowship Program cohort.
  • I work for an economic development organization. Can I still apply? Yes, you can apply. However, chambers of commerce and associations will receive preference, unless the economic development organization is housed in and partnered with a local chamber.


The formal agenda will be shared with participants the week of August 6th. An outline of the program, subject to change, is as follows:

  • Wednesday, September 19 -- Early Education program runs from 12-6p
  • Thursday, September 20 -- K-12 program runs from 8a-6p
  • Friday, September 21 -- College and Career Readiness program runs from 8a-3p

What will the structure of the days look like? The Chamber Foundation will provide breakfast, lunch, beverages, and snacks throughout the program. The program will consist of interactive classes taught by expert faculty on a variety of education and workforce topics. The agenda will include plenary classes as well as breakout classes and is designed to provide grounding on the issues as well as practical tools that you can use to advance policies and programs in your communities.  


  • How do I book my flight? The Chamber Foundation will book your hotel and flights for you. We will not reimburse any travel that we do not book.
  • How do I book my hotel? The Chamber Foundation will book your hotel room once your flights are confirmed. 
  • What time does the fellowship program begin and end? The program will begin on Wednesday, September 19 at 12p and will conclude on Friday, September 21 no later than 3p. You will be able to fly in to New Orleans the day the program begins and can fly out the day it concludes.
  • I need to fly in a day early in order to be at the session on time. Will that night's hotel stay still be covered? Yes, depending on your travel options, we will cover the cost of your accommodation at Le Meridien for the night of Tuesday, September 18 should you need to arrive the day before. We cannot accommodate requests for other dates or additional days.
  • Can I bring a family member/friend with me to stay in New Orleans? Yes, but you must attend all sessions of the workshop. We will not reimburse you for any costs associated with the family member or friend (example: if you go to dinner together, we will only reimburse for your meal). The hotel rooms have a king bed or two double beds—we cannot accommodate requests for specific sleeping arrangements. 
  • What are the expense reimbursement guidelines? The Chamber Foundation will cover up to $400 in additional travel costs. Please read the full Expense Reimbursement Guidelines for detailed questions that have not been answered here. If you have any further questions, please contact Haley Ast (