Education Programs - Overview from 2023-24 School Year


Education Programs - Overview from 2023-24 School Year

It is hard to believe we are nearing the end of the school year once again. In this busy event season, we are taking a moment to highlight some of the programs and activities we are involved in that are education-related.  

As we aim to grow our workforce to help fill the pipeline of workers to our members, the Chamber is making connections between students and businesses. One way is through the Schools2Skills™ program which provides students, parents, and educators the opportunity to explore and understand careers that exist in a variety of industries in our local area. Just getting students in the door is helpful as students can see what is behind the walls of those big buildings they drive by and those facilities suddenly become much more familiar and they feel a connection. 

During this school year, we worked with middle and high school counselors who invited over 125 students, based on their career interests, to explore professional opportunities in Emergency Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing, the Culinary and Hospitality Industry, and Agribusiness. These tours combined exposure to education program opportunities available at Chippewa Valley Technical College with visits to some of our member businesses. Students are introduced to programs that enable them to earn college credits while still in high school, allowing them to both save money and enter the workforce sooner.   

Another way for students to gain exposure to potential future employers and get some hands-on experience is through the Youth Apprenticeship program. The Chamber plays a supporting role, working with CESA 10, fostering connections between students and businesses. This program offers employers a structured and highly effective way to hire local high school juniors and seniors, helping to prepare them to easily transition into the workforce or to post-secondary education following high school. Many of our member businesses have employees who started as a Youth Apprentice.

The Chamber supports the RCU “Test Drive” Financial Literacy program for students in Chippewa County by promoting this valuable simulation and helping to recruit volunteers. Students gain insight into real-life money management as they make budgeting decisions and discover expenses they may not have anticipated. 

As the Chippewa Falls Senior High School juniors learned about managing their finances at the Financial Literacy event, seniors were given the option to choose from a list of various Job Shadow opportunities offered by area businesses. Job Shadows are unstructured and observational in nature, giving the students a glimpse into their potential future career or career field. This was a win-win situation for the students and our members who participated.

Since 1986, a highlight of each school year has been the Excellence in Education Banquet where we recognize the top 5% of the graduating classes of Chippewa Falls Senior High School and McDonell Central Catholic High School, and the students’ most influential educators. This program tradition would not be possible without the tremendous support of our member businesses who recognize the efforts of these students and help us to celebrate their achievements. Sponsors of this event have an opportunity to make connections with this group of students.

Lastly, an educational program that does not involve typical school students, Leadership Chippewa Falls is the Chamber’s own leadership development program which offers a way to ensure the tradition of strong leadership continues in the Chippewa Valley. This program acquaints participants with a broad understanding of issues and challenges facing our community. The class learns about different sectors of life and business in Chippewa Falls, meeting key leaders, and discussing challenges within the community.  

Whether we are encouraging students to explore the careers and opportunities in their own local community, introducing eager-to-learn youth apprenticeship candidates to potential employers, honoring the students at the top of the class, or developing future leaders of our businesses and community, these efforts are all being made to have a positive impact on our member businesses and community, helping them to thrive.

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