B’s Business Viewpoint: Advocating for education
June 27, 2014
The Tahoe Chamber Government Affairs Committee (GAC) is focused on what matters for local businesses and they've been especially busy with California legislative bills this spring. Prior to engaging in a legislative issue the GAC looks at whether an issue will have an economic impact upon South Shore businesses and if the bill touches one of five key areas outlined in Tahoe Future – Community Vision 2020:
Quality of Life
Intellectual Capital is the collective knowledge of the community promoting education, business innovation, workforce capacity and an educated citizenry. We consider this vital as a highly skilled workforce is essential to a competitive and vibrant local economy. These past few months we have engaged in a variety of activities related to this pillar.
In April, we contacted Sen. Carol Liu, chair of the CA Senate Education Committee, to express our 670 members' support for SB 850. This bill would authorize community colleges like LTCC to offer limited and targeted baccalaureate degrees. This aligns with LTCC's strategic plan and would facilitate its abilities to meet South Shore employers' future workforce needs. We also engaged in a dialogue with other active California chambers and asked them to join us in seeking support from the California Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento on SB 850. I am pleased to report that after reviewing the bill and our request Cal Chamber supports SB 850. As one of the most influential institutions in the state this was a significant step. Just this week SB 850 passed out of the Assembly and has been sent back to Appropriations. This bodes well for the bill and we remain hopeful that we can see this one to the finish line on behalf of our members.
Tahoe Chamber also supported El Dorado County's Measure L during this month's election. We informed our membership through our weekly e-news, assisted in informing voters by including Measure L at our Supervisor's Forum (held in partnership with TRYP) and also shared this information with the general public. Library funding is critical to ensuring that all members of our current and future workforce have access to library resources such as books and computers.
Sometimes our efforts are significantly less visible, such as convening a meeting of interested and like- minded individuals to discuss the potential for a co-working/incubator project. Tahoe Mountain Lab was birthed out of those introductions and we couldn't be more excited or proud of their success thus far. Be sure to stop by and visit their facilities on Ski Run — this is a part of our economic future!
Additional recent activities have included connecting a supremely qualified scientist with various contacts to pursue a summer STEM program here on the South Shore, as well as our participating in an Adult Education Network working group.
To view our Government Affairs Committee efforts or to suggest an issue you think important please contact us or one of our members via http://www.tahoechamber.org.
"B" Gorman, B.S., J.D., A.C.E., is the president and CEO of TahoeChamber.