“We foster a culture of growing ‘talent from within’ by providing training and development opportunities for our staff to better equip them for the challenges today and readiness for tomorrow.”    Jan Kincaid

What if the talent pool within an organization (business, not for profit or governmental entity) is waning? Baby boomers are exiting the workforce now at an exponential rate, and the “talent gap” is upon us. The times of growing ‘talent from within’ might be behind you.

For over a decade, the Salem Chamber has worked with the Salem/Keizer School District and the Keizer Chamber of Commerce to help bridge this talent gap. This relationship began with the realization that exposing students in middle and high school to real world experiences in the workforce wasn’t happening at a high enough level. What was born of this was the Ready to Learn, Ready to Work program.

What is Ready to Learn, Ready to Work?

To put it simply, it’s the fusion of those in the workforce with those that will soon be in the workforce in a classroom setting. Accountants, bankers, contractors, and every other profession we’re able to muster are invited to speak in classrooms all around Salem/Keizer schools for the purpose of exposing kids to careers and giving them an environment to ask “how did you get there?”.

Teachers see how much impact these engagements have, and the challenge has become keeping a bountiful supply of speakers in the classrooms. The Salem Chamber houses the program, and we receive literally of thousands of requests per school year for professionals to speak in the classroom. 

We have hundreds of willing participants that take part in this effort year after year, and we are grateful for that. If you have yet to take part in this effort, or if you have an employee that could benefit from this kind of an experience – drop a note to chris@salemchamber.org and let her know you’re ready. In your note, let her know what your profession or area of expertise is so you can be aligned with a class that’s ready to hear what you have to say.

Taking part in this effort is an energizing experience, and we are proud to be working toward a well prepared workforce of the future.

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