Chamber Executive Director Ann Serwold said in an email, “Ferndale Chamber members tell us they need employees who know the value of hard work and who come to the workforce with the right combination of soft skills and readiness.”
As a means to fill this need, the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce and Ferndale School District have announced they are developing a partnership geared to “model future careers and possibilities for students.”
Some local employers recently got a tour of Ferndale High School’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) building followed by a roundtable discussion to talk about preparing students for family-wage jobs in Ferndale. District officials said representatives from Alcoa, BP, Chuckanut Bay Foods, IMCO Construction, Samson Rope, Bellingham Technical College and Emerald Builders participated.
CTE Director Edwin Elefson is quoted in a story about the tour posted by the district, “Our CTE Department is preparing students with the skills they need to go out and pursue the kind of jobs that will propel them towards their best futures. We not only want them to learn a trade, but we also want them to develop the soft skills that will make them truly valuable in a workplace.”
Serwold said a benefit of the partnership will be internships and job shadow opportunities for students.
Chamber Board President Anya Milton said in an email, “It is the belief of the Chamber that students who enter the workforce with more knowledge and skills will be more competitive in local and global markets. The Chamber is fully committed to supporting this effort, and recognizes that having a skilled, educated, and qualified workforce is fundamental to the economic strength of our community.”
Milton also pointed out, “Highly skilled labor is in great demand and today’s workforce is barely able to fill the positions.”
Serwold said they are in the beginning stages of the partnership. “Leaders of both organizations have been meeting over the summer to look at models in other communities and to plan our own way forward.”