EconAlliance supports cross-industry education/workforce development in a variety of ways, but key goals remain the same:
Increase number of Northern Santa Barbara County (NSBC) awardees of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees and certificates
Reduce percentage of NSBC students unable to read at grade-level
Increase NSBC adult literacy (reading with comprehension at 8th grade level)
Increase number of NSBC licensed childcare slots
Identify and foster development of programs for key industry positions
Stimulate development of NSBC four-year and above degree programs
Support NSBC education institutions and programs
Foster better understanding of industries, industry workforce needs and career opportunities
After several years of effort prior to COVID in 2020 (see below), EconAlliance in 2021 will be re-designing its workforce development, STEM, and education support. Piloting a Healthcare industry workforce needs
survey in late 2021 as a pre-cursor to a variety of industry-specific workforce needs surveys, EconAlliance will also be launching new STEM career awareness efforts with the support of its 2021 Cross-Industry Golf Tournament profits, building on its past education/workforce development work.
EconAlliance co-founded with United Way and Allan Hancock College the Northern Santa Barbara County “Workforce and Literacy Initiative (WALI)”, co-leading with United Way for five years a collaborative regional effort to address several of the goals articulated above. Co-hosting semi-annual WALI forums and annual data-gathering, EconAlliance also co-developed, with Peoples Self-Help Housing and United Way, the Working Neighborhoods Initiative, a grant-funded collaboration of 12 organizations piloting programs related to the goals above in a neighborhood-specific setting.
In 2017, EconAlliance initiated at Peoples Self-Help Housing
a “STEM (day) CAMP”, introducing over 50 students to NSBC industries and their STEM work. In 2018, this evolved into STEM Industry Days, introducing over 100 Santa Maria students to NSBC STEM industries, technologies, and working professionals. A career awareness initiative, STEM Industry Days 2019 provided industry-led STEM workshops in Santa Maria and Lompoc school districts, STEM enrichment for youth nonprofits in Santa Maria and Santa Ynez, and has offered teachers STEM-related contacts and career context. In 2020, EconAlliance produced several STEM-related industry videos (see video link).
Early in its formation, supported attraction of four-year and advanced degree programs to NSBC. The organization was instrumental in attracting California Lutheran University to offer a master’s degree program in the area.