CA Economic Summit to honor employers and educators working together

580 200 California Economic Summit

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California has a workforce challenge—middle skills jobs are going unfilled because workers aren't trained. This challenge has helped create more cooperation between education entities and employers.

The California Economic Summit is sponsoring a contest to identify and honor innovative partnerships between employers and California’s secondary and post-secondary institutions. The Partnerships for Industry and Education (PIE) Contest will announce its winners just before the Summit annual meeting in San Diego on November 2-3.

“Honoring employers can have the added benefit of promoting the importance of improved coordination between education institutions and businesses so more students can develop the skills they need to earn a living wage,” said Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) who is chair of the Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy Committee in the Assembly.

Nominations will be accepted for organizations and individuals that are leading strategic partnerships with an educational institution and the employer to achieve positive results for their regional economy.

“The Summit has been promoting public policy solutions to the challenges of training one million more skilled workers for the California economy for the past six years,” said Jim Mayer, CA Fwd President and CEO. “If workers are going to have the skills that jobs in the 21st century economy demand, we need employers and the education community working closely together.”

Employers and educators who are already working closely together see the contest as a way to encourage more cooperation.

“Our industry continues to experience a shortage of engineers – we see our collaboration with the local High Schools and internships as a way to showcase opportunity and recruit interest,” said Tom Black, Vice President and General Manager of the Campus and Branch Networking Business Unit for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “The High School Internship Program has been very successful in providing HPE Aruba with local, talented, energetic students eager to learn and develop through our culture. In just two years the number of paid internships has tripled, resulting in trained and experienced interns ready to start careers at HPE Aruba upon their college graduation.”

“When business and education work together as partners, students succeed and communities thrive,” said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools. “This contest is a great way for our business and education communities to share best practices that are providing students with the relevant skills they need and the skills industries require.”

A panel of distinguished judges – Heather Fargo, Ashley Swearengin, Dave Gordon, Tom Black and Amy Wallace – will review the nominations this fall. The top three submissions will have the opportunity to showcase their partnership at the Summit and empower important policy decisions.

To nominate worthy partnerships, simply email the name and contact information for one of the partners and one sentence summary of why they qualify to


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