Winona Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 Committee Plan


Committee Name: Business/Education Network (BEN)

Committee Chairman: pending

Committee Purpose Statement: To develop our community’s future workforce by providing students with a deeper understanding of career opportunities and aligning skills with current workforce needs; engaging employers directly with students, education and training providers; and better aligning programs and curriculum to the realities of the Minnesota economy.

Main objectives

  • Explore expansion of REACH to 3-5 additional schools within our BEN service area
  • Improve the ability to recruit a skilled and able local workforce
  • Collaborate with MN Chamber to meet the expectations of the statewide BEN partnership
  • Provide an avenue for area businesses and educational institutions to effectively work together and understand each other’s needs and processes
  • Maintain a committee structure that is inclusive and encourages collaboration between all three higher education institutions, K-12 educators and business leaders.
  • Continue to pursue heightened engagement from more schools in the area, including homeschool community
  • Assure that tracking is in place to measure impact for all projects

Committee Projects/Activities for 2019-20:

  • Provide “CEO in the Classroom” for 8th grade students throughout area
  • Expand “Life After High School” presentations in 11th grade classrooms
  • Host Career Exploration Expo in November 2019 for area sophomores. Expand number of participating schools to a new total of 20 and number of students to 1,800+
  • Enhance resources and encourage use of  Hot Jobs Cool Companies website
  • Explore feasibility of expansion of REACH program at WSHS – Professional Building Trades
  • Hot Jobs Cool Companies – New Hot Jobs Cool Companies for Professional Building Trades and Manufacturing
  • Teacher in the Workplace – summer 2019 – goal of 4 teachers

Budget Considerations: Chamber staff will review and change as needed to respond to desired committee plans

  • Explore options to have the resources necessary for expansion of REACH
  • Work with MN Chamber to manage expenses and revenues connected to Business Education Networks/grant requests
  • Pursue other grants and local partners for funding of REACH initiative,
  • Assure that projects not create a net loss for the Winona Chamber.
  • Explore feasibility of updating and expanding Hot Jobs Cool Companies website


Contact: Della Schmidt