Workforce Development

Chair: Ryan Beach, Redwood Credit Union

Mission Statement: To encourage greater collaboration between the Education Community and the Business Community, leading to creation of a more dynamic, progressive, and well-prepared local workforce.

The Workforce Development program is highly focused on English Language Learning, working with a large coalition of community organizations, and focusing on several areas of English Language Learning.

The division plans the award-winning Mike Hauser Academy which targets English Language Learner students entering the eighth and ninth grades in the fall. The students spend three weeks at sponsor companies, learning algebra standards and their application to high-tech real-world situations.

This division also manages the Chamber's Worksite Held Employee English Learning (WHEEL) program. WHEEL is a 5-part program that employers can adapt to meet the specific needs of their own employees:

  • The program begins with "Turning Pages," a program of the California Parenting Institute that provides literacy education resources and practice for low income English language learner families with children 0-5 years of age.  The premise of "Turning Pages" is that when a parent is involved and engaged in their child's education, a child is much more likely to succeed academically.
  • The next component connects employees within a particular business with representatives of their local school district.  These representatives help parents learn to communicate better with their children's teachers and inform them about the educational resources available to their children.
  • The next part of the program is a series of after-hours English classes offered to employees at their workplace. It becomes much easier for English-learners who have other responsibilities at home to attend English classes at their worksite. Classes can be tailored to include industry specific or safety related language.
  • Within the context of the English classes, a special Financial Literacy program, presented by Exchange Bank, gives employees basic skills to manage their personal finances, including instruction on creating a household budget, managing a checking account and savings accounts, and what to watch out for when applying for credit.
  • Finally, the employees are offered an opportunity to engage in some kind of community service project, as a group on their own time. This phase has been found to be particularly empowering, as well as building teamwork, morale, and self-esteem.

For more information, please contact Ananda Sweet at (707) 636-3662.


Mike Hauser Algebra Academy Receives Champions for Children Award

In October 2011, Community Child Care Council (4Cs) awarded the Mike Hauser Algebra Academy its Champions for Children Award in the Business category. The video below, produced by 4Cs, highlights the Algebra Academy as well as other Champions for Children award winners.

Santa Rosa Chamber WHEEL and Algebra Academy Program featured in the NorthBay biz magazine
The Chamber was featured in the October 2010 issue of the NorthBay biz for helping employees become more fluent in English through the WHEEL (Worksite Held Employee English Learning) program as well as closing the achievement gap in education between those who speak English and those who don't through the Algebra Academy program. The Algebra Academy is a summer program for those entering eight or ninth grade, spending three weeks at partner companies: Agilent, JDSU, Medtronic and PG&E. To read the article, please click here.

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) is the non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)3 affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that promotes the rigorous educational standards and effective job training systems needed to preserve the strength of America’s greatest economic resource, its workforce. To read the ICW's report on supporting early childhood education, please click here


Office: (707) 545-1414
Fax: (707) 545-6914


Santa Rosa Metro Chamber
50 Old Courthouse Square
Suite 110
Santa Rosa, CA 95404


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