The California Chamber of Commerce and the Linked Learning Alliance have launched a new California network of employer associations committed to advancing youth opportunities and reducing youth unemployment.

The lead organizations, CalChamber and Linked Learning Alliance, bring together six local employer organizations for the network: the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, Chico Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Organization.

This network, unique in California, is supported by a $150,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation, a stalwart supporter of linked learning and career pathway approaches for high school students.

“This network will leverage the power of an employer-led approach to build scalable systems that give students work-based learning experiences that help prepare them for college and careers,” said Loren Kaye, president of the CalChamber-affiliated California Foundation for Commerce and Education. “We’re working to close the skills gap by encouraging employers to act as ‘end customers’ of education and workforce partnerships.”

By 2030, California will face a “skills gap” of 1.1 million career-ready college graduates to meet employers’ needs, according to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

“The Chamber Network is providing an incredible resource to the business community by shining a spotlight on the many ways for business and educators to work together,” said Anne Stanton, President and CEO of Linked Learning Alliance. “The diversity in region and size of the participating chambers offers a range of frameworks and best practices for others to adopt. The Network is sending an important message that businesses can and should get involved with their local schools.”

Examples of work in the partner regions include:

CalChamber will partner with the Linked Learning Alliance to convene the network of chambers to share best practices, testimony from experts and field leaders, and disseminate resources and supportive materials through webinars and group communications.