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The Chamber is organized to focus attention and initiate private sector action on major issues affecting the economic well-being and quality of life in our community. A major issue the Chamber plans to focus on is “Partnerships in Education.” The Chamber will partner with the Education Alliance to help create new partnerships and strengthen those that have been established.

Partnerships in Education is not a new program; in fact, it was established in the 1980s by business executives who recognized the importance of supporting public schools and giving business a voice in education. There are business-school partnerships in all 55 counties and in Raleigh County, there are approximately 80 partnerships registered primarily at the elementary level with a few middle and high schools. The goal is to make sure all of those partnerships are active and committed to benefit students and schools.

If students or schools in our community have needs that are not being met, the educational experience will suffer. A business-school partnership might have a solution.

Partnerships can cover a wide variety of activities, from curriculum development, tutoring, mentoring, guidance, incentives and awards, resources and material and workplace experiences. While partnership activities can vary depending on the business and their strengths, the common goal is to improve the education experience. In most cases, partnerships are a win-win for all parties involved.

The Chamber would like to encourage any business that has not formed a partnership with a school to consider becoming a “partner in education.” Any business interested in participating can contact the Chamber at 304-252-7328.

The Chamber is also partnering with the Education Alliance to promote the upcoming EDTalks which will be held at New River Community and Technical College on June 13. EDTalks is an education-based speaker series that promotes innovative discussion and big ideas about connecting education, jobs and our future. Speakers include: Dan D’Antoni, Marshall University’s basketball coach; Dr. Brad Price, West Virginia University assistant professor; and Jada Reeves, the 2019 West Virginia Teacher of the Year.

The program will bring together business, legislators and educators to discuss opportunities in education. Registration information is available at EducationAlliance.org/EDTalks.

These are two great opportunities for business to “partner with education” to be able to improve the educational experience and have input in the outcome. 

— Ellen Taylor, president and CEO of the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce

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