Good morning. As we have our people, attendees, logging in just go ahead and pop into the chat-- a quick hi or hello. I want to make sure that you can hear our presenters today. If you have any problems, my name is Mandilee Comstock with CAEP-TAP and you can send me a quick chat and I can help walk you through that. We're going to go ahead and get started in just a second.

I'm going to go over some quick housekeeping. Attendees, as you start to join the session, you will be able to hear. You'll be able to communicate with your panelists via the Q&A at the bottom of your webinar panel. You should see a quick Q&A, or you can chat. So just note that if you can hear me, you are doing great, but you will not be able to engage audibly.

So with that, I'm going to go ahead and start the housekeeping, as our attendees start to filter in this early morning. So good morning, everyone. Again, my name is Mandilee Comstock with CAEP Technical Assistance Project. I want to go over a few quick things.

The meeting today is being recorded, so all attendees are muted for the webinar platform. Your volume can be adjusted. And to turn your volume up or down in your system settings, you can also use the volume at the bottom where you see the little speaker icon.

The chat is enabled, and you will be able to communicate with the panelists and other attendees this way. And the presenter may ask you to use the chat during the presentation. You can open the chat by selecting the chat button at the bottom of the Zoom window.

Please select panelists and attendees to ensure everyone can see your chat. If you only wish to chat with attendees, the presenters will not be able to see what you have written. You may ask the presenters questions related to the presentation in the Q&A, and this again is located at the bottom of your Zoom window. You can ask questions here or upvote someone else's question during a presentation.

If you wish to exit full screen mode, you can hit Escape or go to a few options to enlarge, reduce, or exit full screen. Please fill out the evaluation when prompted. At the end of the survey, we would greatly appreciate any feedback. And at this point, it looks like we are ready to go, so I will turn it over to Celina. Enjoy the summit.

Fantastic. Thank you so much. And I just want to commend CAEP for all the wonderful things and the technical assistance providers you all are doing for the conference. It's just a big job, and we really appreciate the opportunity to present today.

So hi everybody, I'm Celina Shands. I'm the CEO and founder of Full Capacity Marketing. I'm very excited because I'm one of your four presenters today where we're going to be talking about a super important topic, especially during COVID.

And that is how to build employer relationships amid the new COVID-19 environment. And with that, two of our power presenters from SkillsUSA and COABE have joined us to talk about what they're doing in their respective worlds and what initiatives that we can leverage to actually help build those relationships. And one of them is a national campaign called Behind Every Employer. And it really focuses on elevating adult education and career technical education to showcase the high impact education in industry partnerships. And we really need that elevation.

Now, one of the things I want to share is-- I just put it in the chat box. We updated the PowerPoint and also BusinessU has worked on two handouts that we thought would be very important to hammer home some of the key points we want to share with you around building relationships.

So make sure you check out that link in the chat box and download the presentation and the handouts. And with that, I'd like to turn it over and have our presenters introduce themselves. So, Sharon.

Wonderful. Hello, everybody. It's such a pleasure to be with you. My name is Sharon Bonney.

I'm the chief executive officer at the Coalition on Adult Basic Education. And I'm delighted to turn this over to Kelly Horton. Kelly.

Thanks, Sharon. I'm Kelly Horton, the director of education at SkillsUSA. And my pleasure to turn it over to Dr. Bosworth.

Well hello, everyone. And thank you, Kelly, and the rest of the panelists. I'm honored really to be presenting today with all of you at the CAEP Summit especially since I was once an adult educator.

But mostly, I was also an adult learner. And as a result of my family being immigrants to the United States, when we came here we didn't know the language and the school was really honestly very uncomfortable for me, like many of your students when they went through the primary and secondary levels. And so I basically fell through the cracks. And you can see why I'm so thrilled today to be here with all of you because it was adult educators, such as yourself as well as some of you community college folks that are on this call, that inspired me to move forward with my educational goals. So I want to thank you for all of that.

I'm the co-founder and CEO of BusinessU. And we are an institution accredited national organization with a sole focus on helping educators and workforce development professionals to maximize their business engagement. What does that result in? Expanded opportunities for your adult learners and your students. All right, Selena, back to you.

I never get tired of this story Dr. B, and I love that you bring in all the facets to that. So I just am excited about the team presenting. And I had the honor to work with everybody on the panel today, as well as many of you in the field-- the community colleges as well as a lot of the adult education organizations across the state.

In Full Capacity Marketing, we are communications experts in workforce and education, and we have a national footprint and very well known for our successful campaigns. Worked with Sharon on her fantastic Educate and Elevate campaign. And again, really just focused on building and elevating all of our roles in the field in terms of what we do and having that awareness about our mission.

So anyway, to start with, we're going to use the chat box a lot, and all of the panelists today are going to be monitoring the chat. So if you have specific questions for one of us, feel free. The chat box is where all the action is going to happen here. And the first thing we'd like for you to do is just introduce yourselves, like where you're from, and give us the number one challenge you are facing in terms of engaging employers.

We're going to put the COVID face on this, and it's been a big one. And here in California not only with COVID, but with the fires and the winds and everything, we've really had a challenging time. And as Dr. B was saying earlier, if we don't have that relationships with employers, then we don't have the opportunity for our students and adult learners. So check in with us and let us know about that.

How we're going to run the session today is we're going to answer a lot of questions for you. One is how has the business engagement landscape changed given COVID-19. Educators and workforce professionals need to understand that in order to go and build relationships with businesses and employers, to engage them with your mission. How do we or you as educators need to change the approach to business engagement, given this fluid pandemic environment?

A lot has changed. We can no longer really go and meet one on one with businesses. They have a host of things going on in their minds. So how do we break through that and build those relationships on behalf of our students and adult learners?

What is Behind Every Employer? What's that campaign all about? And I'm so excited that, Sharon and Kelly, you're here.

And I want to just shout out to them and thank them for their leadership on seeing this vision. And we have the bones of the campaign developed, and we're going to be building it on the next iteration. So we'll share that with you.

And then, again, what current business engagement initiatives can you leverage from our campaign partners? We're going to give you that as well as some tools from BusinessU today. So I want to jump in here.

And when we think about employee engagement, we really have two sides. We really focused you as educators on the student side, and they have their set of challenges. And then the employers as well-- and they have their needs.

So we know from different studies-- and Strada has been doing a great job on their Center for Consumer Insights. If you haven't tapped into that resource, I highly recommend that you take a look and see what they are doing. Strada's got a lot of studies going out in terms of the minds of the consumers.

And what they've stated is that we know that nearly half of Americans indicate they've already lost income as a result of COVID. 2/3 are worried about losing their jobs, no matter their education level. And just think about the repercussions for adult learners in that situation where they're also fighting even more barriers. And then also additionally, one third believe they need more training or education to weather the storm. So in a lot of senses, it's a good opportunity to position adult education and career technical education around being a solution for what is happening during COVID.

Well, to do that, we need to build relationships with businesses. And if you take a look at the data here from McKinsey, it says it can take more than five years-- five-- for most effective sectors to get back to the level of 2019 contributions to GDP. And so we threw this chart in here for you to take a look at on a global scale what is happening within your different industry sectors.

To me, what this slide says is, well, where are the opportunities for our students? And that's what we have to really think through. And in order to do that, we have to expand our reach to business and industry.

And it's interesting. When BusinessU does its studies and they go in and teach their bootcamps and certify people, they'll do like a baseline of where people are at in terms of engaging business and industry. And what we find is that it runs anywhere between 1% and 3%. That's it. 1% to 3% of businesses who are engaged with the mission of adult education or with their community colleges, et cetera.

Now, there are a lot of reasons for that, which we're going to get into today. But this is a challenge. How do we break through that and expand reach for our students? So one of the key aha moments we want you all to take away is that, especially in this fluid environment, educators must have their pulse on the sector needs in order to prepare the talent pipeline.

Do they? Do you? Do we? And are we poised as strategic partners to help businesses recover?

I don't know if you all were in our session yesterday, but we had a panel of three different consortia who had talked about your outreach campaigns from a regional perspective. Dr. Ka'ryn Holder-Jackson, who is with ACCEL in San Mateo, she was talking about how she really felt the need to reposition her organization as a major community solution in what they are doing around adult ed and career education. And she said, and the way we do that-- and by the way, she's a graduate of BusinessU, so she was speaking the language here.

She says, you know what? As an executive director of one of the consortium, I know that it's our job to build relationships with employers and get them aware of what we are doing and to be able to track those relationships. So this slide is really important, and that's what we want you to think about today. Is your organization poised as a strategic partner to help businesses recover?

Now, recent data, even before the pandemic, shows that employers have lost confidence in workforce and education systems. There's a study by Inside Higher Ed, an article that reported on several studies, that concluded that business leaders are generally-- they're confident in higher ed, but their faith diminishes around skills students learn in college. So there's that whole skills issues going on. And while a majority of employers believe students have the knowledge, few of them think they can really advance in the workplace. So it's all about skills, and there is a critical need to raise awareness among business and industry about how adult ed and CTE build the necessary skill sets.

I'm going to take a breath here and share, and I wonder if you can come on and just chat with me for a second. I know this is not your section, but you and I were talking yesterday and you've been on a lot of calls with employers lately. Can you share a little bit? Just summarize what they're saying about trying to tap into adult and career education and even partnering with us. They want to, but they don't know where to start, right?

That's exactly what they're saying, Celina. And what I'm hearing from many, many employers is that it's just very difficult. They feel like there's so many barriers to working with adult education.

And what's specifically difficult about that is that you hear the same from the other side, from adult education. They don't know how to work with employers. And so I think this is where we're really trying to come up with a way to break down those barriers and to make it easy.

One of the issues that we run into quite often is that at the state level, I feel like there's not a really great system in place at the state level. So let's say an Amazon comes in or UniFirst or Dollar General, some of these big organizations and companies-- there's not a really fluid way for them to know how to work with adult education.

Right. And that's one of the things you and Kelly are really focused on with Behind Every Employer, and we'll get to that. But, boy, if they don't know how to do it, we need to take the bull by the horns as we say in the South and be more proactive around that. And it's hard because we're juggling so many multiple priorities.

But again, I go back to that 1% to 3%. If we're only penetrating the market 1% to 3% of that opportunity for adult learners, and it's just the left on the table. Yeah, thanks for that, Sharon.

I know you've been immersed in that employer world. Kelly, how about you? Can you pop on and have you had any kind of conversations with businesses that you'd like to share at this point that aligns with what Sharon saying?

Absolutely. Celina, we're hearing those same concerns. And certainly were before, but now just not knowing-- are folks on site? Are they in virtual settings? How would we even connect to them?

And frankly, just the overwhelmingness on the educator side of trying to navigate all those waters. In particular, in career and technical education, where they may not have access to their labs if they're working virtually. So it's just it's a time where if folks have a clear path or solutions, people are very eager because they obviously want to build those relationships but just are very unsure. And then obviously, the pandemic is adding to that stress and anxiety for sure.

Right. Thanks for your insight, both of you, because I know you've really got a big picture of what's going on nationally. So thank you for those insights and BusinessU you found that same thing. I'm going to go into their study.

But the other thing-- there was a lot of disconnects reported by different states in the need to coordinate employer engagement strategies-- just piggybacking on what Sharon and Kelly are saying. And that can range from policy, programmatic, and even sharing resources. You all in education are not alone because Dr. B will tell you this. In those organizations that are funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, all the American job centers, and their workforce force, they have staff assigned to go out in proactively engage with business and industry.

Now, many of those staff also wear dual hats as case managers and also they'll job development on behalf of the student. But oftentimes, what BusinessU will find is that they work in silos, even within that organization. Community colleges-- we definitely see that with a career center staff contacting employers, faculty, sometimes your economic workforce divisions. And then adult ed itself, in the district schools and all that, they're so understaffed so they are having to work really overtime.

So what all these trends means is that it's even more important to have a very strategic approach when you're building relationships with business and industry. And BusinessU actually funded a national study. And they found the top three challenges with education organizations around this building relationships was getting businesses to partner, coordinating outreach efforts, and measuring business engagement. And Dr. B you can probably speak a lot more eloquently to the study than I can. That wreaks havoc, does it not?

Well, more than it's havoc, it's not understanding. It's being tactical and strategic about engagement. And Celina, as you'll see when I take on now the next slide, in the chat there are some really solid challenges and barriers that these individuals are having that's on this call today about engaging business. So if we can just put that aside for just a moment so Celina can go into the slide and discuss it because we're going to go into strategic concepts. So then tactical things that we are having a difficult with, we can try to address outside of this.

That'd be great, Christine. And while you're perusing the chat, I'm going to go over these three and then maybe we can align that with what we're seeing. Because I know in your study what was found is that the end result of all of that, all the things we just said, was that basically employers do not know about your organization. They do not know that you can help them strategically with workforce development strategies that help them compete.

And because of that, there's a lack of value from their perception. And again, that leads to this low engagement rate that I was talking about, 1% to 5%. So it makes it even more important than to think strategically around business engagement. And Christine, did you see in the chat the similar challenges? What are folks saying in the chat around anything?

Making connections. Making connections. It's really difficult. Staff time-- it's very hard for staff time to do that. Limited staff, limited time to engage with business as well.

And what Erica said from Corona-Norco Adult School is that identifying good value relationships. Good value relationships. And while it's outside the scope of this particular webinar, that goes into researching, needs assessment, aggregating data, looking at that, being sector based. There's a variety of ways of going about that, but I don't want to take the time now away from you, Celina, to discuss that.

I want to jump in. I want you to jump in, Dr. B, because this is really the heart, then, of-- and I know BusinessU goes really deep in certifying folks in business engagement. But what you've really pulled together here is really stuff that people can take away, grasping these concepts. So please, we'd love to hear from you.

OK. Well, thank you for that. And let's just take those challenges aside for a moment. And Celina will probably be typing in some things in the chat box, but let's put those aside. And let's try to put on the employer hat, the business hat.

As you know, an employer is different from a business, and you'll see that on the next slide. And what those differences are and how we engage with them is really, really important. But building relationships is what we need to focus on-- not about how to get in the door or crossing something off of our agenda, but really thinking about the start of building a relationship. And we know that if you work with people, you're in the business of building relationships.

And the most successful salespeople on Earth will tell you-- even though none of us are salespeople here, I don't assume, on this call-- but it's about building relationships. They don't say I'm in sales. I'm in about building a relationship.

So the key to building a relationship, just like in our personal lives, it takes time. We know this. It takes time. I remember-- like I was mentioning, I was an immigrant. I came to this country, and I learned English through watching a lot of cartoons and watching TV. And I'm sure a lot of your students, adult learners, have probably told you the same thing.

But one of them was a cartoon called Pepé Le Pew. And every time Pepé Le Pew found something desirous, he turned into this steaming lambchop, this person, and his eyes would roll around. And that, I see, happens to us when we meet an employer and we're very much agenda driven.

Well, think about it in your personal life. When you meet someone for the very first time or the second time and they're agenda driven, it's a turnoff. It's a turnoff to us personally. It's a turnoff to us professionally.

And that doesn't stop when we're meeting with employers. So when we come in with our agenda, asking them, do you have any openings, internships, externships, learning opportunities? Even though we have all the support that wraps around that student, all the hard work that's doing adult learner has gone to and the sacrifices they have made, it's very much agenda driven. So how do we turn our mindset and thinking more about the employer and who they are and the business? So we can then expand those opportunities for our adult learners and students.

One of the key things in building a relationship is increasing our interactions. And living in Los Angeles and we're in California here, when you're at the grocery store, especially now, and there's these long lines-- I'm always reading those tabloids. And the 101 theory of relationship building and how it comes apart is that there was no interaction.

So these Hollywood stars-- she's on the West Coast, he's on the West Coast and so they have the relationship. It just didn't work out. That's what their publicists always go to. That's what broke it up, the lack of interaction.

And because it's true-- a lack of interaction. So how do you build interaction with a business? Now, knowing just like in our personal lives and professional lives with employers, it doesn't have to be a monetary thing of value as long as it is something of value to them, to that business.

Now, remember everyone thinks about value differently. Everyone has their own way of thinking about value. So what we have to do then is-- how do you connect with them without your agenda, reducing your expectation, not expecting anything in return, just so they can start knowing about you and your organization?

Are you on their social media platforms? Do you participate in any of their sectors? Do you link in with them and in their association sectors? Get their newsletters, so you can send them a quick email or social post.

Or do you, when you see them in the local newspaper, do you congratulate them? Always thinking about ways to increase their interaction. When you invite them to one of your job fairs or events, do you make it sector based or do you just throw out the invitation to all the sectors, to all the employers, that you know? All you have to do is really change the top subject line.

And I know it's outside the scope of this course. The strategy is to increase your interaction. The tactic is all these things I'm talking about, all these tactical things are going about it. So Celina, before we go on to the other slide, is there anything else that you want to add on this one?

I think it's just-- I've been talking to some folks in the chat room, Dr. B. So some of their issues are-- my students now are competing with a larger employee pool. I'm having challenges breaking down the corporate barriers. And I know you're going to get into this, but we really have to check our language and what we're saying to businesses. Are we building value?

And I think that's what you're saying because it can be very fatiguing to-- I know as a CEO, I get calls all the time. Can you do this? Can you do this? Without really showing the value. And our focus is really different in business. I know you're going to go into this, but that's what we're saying in the chat.

Right. Thank you for that. So let's get on to that next slide, so we can talk about value for a moment. The language of business-- well, you know the mother tongue of business is a return on investment.

Again, I'll be teaching that later today, monetizing what you do. But it is a return on investment. So articulating what is of value to business, that's how you connect with them.

It's not about learning the language of business, so you can get in the door. It's not about learning about profit and loss statements and balance sheet. It's understanding what is valuable to them.

And you'll see as we go on here this morning, it will be about features and benefits. And we tend to talk about all the features, all of our program, all of the art, what our students have and adult learners have gone through in the program and the sacrifices they have made and how they succeeded through all of that and why they would be such a great fit. And that's where we stop. We stop right there why they would be such a great fit instead of adding those benefits.

So let's talk about the psyche of business. And many of you on this call are aware that for decades and decades, there's been studies done on corporations. And the reason that is is because they are recognized legally as a person.

Corporations are people now. They are born without a soul or heart. And in time, you hope that they grow into that but they really would be deviant against their own charter and what makes them successful if they do not focus on why they exist.

And they exist to be competitive, to make money, to be profitable, to bring out new products and new services. Understanding that, knowing that that it is not bad for them to behave this way-- remember, we hope that in time they grow the heart and the soul. But putting that aside, just understanding their psyche.

So when psychologists took corporations through their profile, they've come up-- and this has not changed in decades and decades, and I'm sure many of you could put this in the chat-- they came out as being psychotic. They are known as a psychotic psychological profile. So understand that it's all about them and it's me, me, me.

And here we come in with our mission, our education mission, and not coming in with what is of value to them-- increased productivity, increased customer service level, increased sales, increased revenue, decreased attrition, increased retention. When we don't speak those types of metrics to them, then we've lost the connection. And we don't want to waste that opportunity that we've finally connected with a business or an employer.

And all of a sudden, we've lost them because we're talking about all the features about our program, and all that it entails, and what the student or learner has gone through. And we say, well, that's a perfect fit. They're highly skilled. They come out.

Now they have a skill. They have a skill that this business through our research has shown that they need. Sure, that's great. But we again cut it off right there.

What's the benefit to them in that? What will they do for the benefit? Are you going to tell me that you're going to increase my productivity because of that? It's going to increase my retention?

You can take all your data points and all the reports that you receive from your different agencies, state agencies, even your various associations, and if you would just let the lens on it, if you would just look at it through the employer lens, could you take all of that and write a benefit statement to it? So businesses-- this is what keeps them up at night. They're more than an employer.

When we approach a business as an employer, it's only one thing that they do. When we come in with that, we're very much agenda driven. When we look at them as a holistic business that have a lot of things that they do, a lot of things that keep them up at night, and probably workforce development or placing someone or an internship or work based on the opportunity is not even at the top of their mind right now.

That's OK because you're there to build a relationship, and you carry on. But then you're saying, I have metrics to meet. Absolutely. But we have to be strategic. We have to break in somehow, and the way we have to move the needle is understanding that--

For example some of you put in the chat, it's hard to break in to some of these employers. And that's because their behavior has not changed. They do not perceive what you are offering of value to them.

Because we know that perception goggles behavior. If we want something to change, we have to perceive it first. We have to make that connection of how it could benefit us before we can change our behavior.

Personally, professionally, if somebody came to me tomorrow and said, Christine, we need to start putting all of your papers. I know you keep them on the right side of the desk, but we're going through this whole transformation-- that famous word, transformation-- and we're making a lot of changes. And we're going to now put all your papers-- they've got to be on the left side. That's what you're going to be doing now.

And I'm like, no way. I've been keeping my papers for 20 years on the right side, and that's what I like it. Because I didn't perceive, it wasn't explained to me what is of that a value to me. What benefit do I get from that, so I can change my behavior.

Perception follows behavior. Many times we expect behavior to change just because we talk about something or bring up something that we are excited about. Celina, anything you want to add here?

Yeah. I was just so intent on what you were saying, Dr. B. The other thing-- maybe speak to this a little bit because Tim had a great point in the chat. He said, what's worked for me is to build an advisory and listen to the businesses in terms of what they want. And I think advisories are fantastic.

And they're a small group of employers, a small group that can benefit our students and learners. And so how do we basically-- how do I say this-- expand our reach? Isn't that the goal is to build more and more employers so that we have those opportunities for our students? Can you talk just a little bit about that? It probably fits in with what you're going to talk about with value propositions next. I just want to throw that out.

Right. I think that's a good point-- advisories, meetings, board meetings, meetings with your board members, anything that you are convening. Where we tend to fall short is that we don't provide them with the results of that meeting. What happened during that meeting?

Well, we listen to them. Well, we listen to them, and we don't feel that nothing really was accomplished. I mean, we got some good information, but we already-- they were validating what we were saying, which is really what you want all these meetings to be about.

You already are coming in with your research. You already have your data points. You already know what's going on. When you have advisory meeting, it's to validate and to improve on that information.

Because as an employer when I'm asked to join all these meetings or join a board, it's always, what do you think or what should we do? Well, what is it are you doing? What have you found in your research? And then using our expertise as board members or advisory board to validate or tweak or improve upon-- that's being more strategic.

So when you have these types of meetings, everyone that's attended those meetings-- your employers, or your board members, or what have you-- everyone wants to feel a sense of efficacy. We need to give them the feedback-- not just the minutes of that meeting, but a highlight. Remember, increase your interaction.

A highlight of what came out of that and what the next step of that one point was. That makes me feel that my time was valuable. That's an incredible resource for employers and board members and others that you work with.

And also, it's proof of concept. So now you have this concept. Are you putting this advisory meeting that you have-- are you creating brand awareness? Remember value for business.

Is there brand awareness for them? Are you putting in your newsletters that you've had this advisory meeting and all of these employers came together? Are you letting your local newspapers or radio stations know? They're looking for information.

This is brand awareness. And yes, it increases the interaction and really brings in more employers so they can be part of that. Because now, you have this proof of concept that you can convene, you can put employers together. And you might not think it was a big deal.

But it is a big deal that you are able to accomplish that. So don't take what you do lightly. Speak to it to the world.

Again, and go and use your partners-- economic development, chambers, workforce development, your associations-- and have them put that on their website and share links together. That expands your reach as well. So Celina, if you want we can move on, or you can add more to that.

We're good, Dr. B. We're caught up.

We're caught up. We're good. OK. All right. So a way to communicate, to articulate, what is of value to business-- this might seem like a very easy concept, but I'll tell you and Celina will attest to this, it's one of the most difficult to put into practice because we have been trained in our work, through product knowledge, to what we do to build these scripts in our mind that are very features driven.

I'll describe the difference in a moment. For example, a car-- the features of a car are the tires and the steering wheel and it has four doors. Well, what are the benefits of that car?

Well, I didn't get any benefits of that. All cars have four wheels, et cetera. So what makes it different? What are the benefits?

If I'm a Volvo driver and I want to come in and I want to buy a new car, they don't know I want to be a Volvo driver. But what is my hot button? It's safety. So they would talk to me about safety and talk about those and how it would benefit me.

Now, we're going to talk about it in a different way here. But I want you to start thinking differently about program features, about even all the different elements that your students and adults learners have gone through. Those are all features in your programs.

Those are all features, and you need to think about that across all your touchpoints, websites, and your social media platforms, your handouts, your talking points. Can we now switch it up and talk about the benefits of it? Because no one wants to work hard at learning about or discovering benefits.

Just like when you go to the drugstore and you're looking for sunscreen. If you had to sit there and just go through all the features of that sunscreen, you would not buy that product. The benefits have to be right up front. Just like in commercials, the benefits are right up front.

So it's a different lens on how we see things, just like the lens of looking at things through the employer perspective. What is of value to them? And we're doing this so who benefits at the end of the day? This expanded opportunity for your learners and your job seekers.

It's just a different strategic way of going about it. It's just another way of approaching building your relationships. So Celina, if we can go on to that next slide. Or you can also add to that one slide that I just spoke about.

Well, I just want to give an example. And I know this is something you do during BusinessU. But if I was to come to you and say, hey, Dr. Bosworth-- I'm going back to inside while we're doing this before we go on here.

Dr. Bosworth, I'm with the adult education system here, and we have some amazing students that have really worked hard to get through some barriers. And they're really work ready. They're very deserving.

How would you like to respond to that? Is that a good-- because we get so passionate about our students and how we help them overcome barriers.

Don't shoot the messenger on this. It goes back to your study on the psyche of business. The business is thinking, how is this going to help my bottom line?

We're talking about the student because we're passionate about that student. And I think the hard part to get here is that your mission in education and preparing these students sometimes does not resonate with businesses. That is not a value proposition. It's, what's in it for me as a company?

For sure. And that passion-- my gosh, it is-- I'm a product of that passion that the adult educators and community college professors and administrators showed me and shared with me. I am definitely a product of that all the way through my entire academic career. So do not change that at all, but know when to turn it off and on and when to make connections.

Or you're just as passionate at building those relationships with businesses by putting on those lenses of what is of value to them. So those examples that Celina talked about-- that individual and all the things that they accomplish-- what does that translate at as a benefit? What are those metrics that matter? All those things that I talked about, all those measures-- increased productivity, skills.

So here's just a-- that's OK, Celina, we can go to the next. This just brings it home because most of us have seen these types of commercial. And the value proposition really explains the benefits. Again, we think this is so easy in words. When we put it in practice-- and we're going to have a handout for you, a couple of handouts for you that Celina sent you the link-- to test yourself on, to go through them. I think that's the last slide here after this one.

But let's look at this. A feature-- our battery offers a 40% increase in battery charge. OK, great. That's a feature, but what does that really mean to me? And the target customer here is a business person.

So what does that really mean to me? Well, I don't need to worry about running out of battery when I'm speaking to a customer. So I have additional time and worry-free communication to close the deal. That's what I worry about when I'm a business person. If you're just talking to me about this feature and not the benefit to what it's going to do, you lost me because closing the deal, closing a deal, is really important to me as a business person.

Same thing with this slicer and dicer. It cuts potatoes into French fries. Yeah, that's great. But who's the target customer here? Well, working people with families.

Tell me the benefit to this fancy gadget that cuts and slices potatoes. Well, it'll save me time in the kitchen, so I can spend more time with my family. So do you see the difference?

All we're saying is that speaking into benefits of what you do and what your students have accomplished and how that would translate into a benefit. And then, all those features, that's supporting evidence. That's the supporting evidence.

The benefits is what makes that connection happen. So go ahead. Tell Nancy that you popped on.

I'm top dog because I'm so excited about the handouts and what you did on this. I think this is where we get into nuances and maybe the attendees can play along with this here. And maybe explain that-- maybe we take the first one because it's got a lot of nuances-- but maybe explain these handouts, Dr. B, and how they can use them. And then let's practice this with the audience to make sure we've got that.

So these are just a little bit modified. We use them in our certification course at BusinessU. But you just look at and you can-- this is good for you guys to practice. Practice with your teams just so you can get into that language.

Would you think that work-based learning opportunities-- I'm here on the features, on my left side of the screen. I'm looking at that handout that says, "Work-based learning opportunities offer job seekers or students a way to start new careers with good wages." Now, that is a benefit, but to whom?

You got to know your audience, like we just talked about. That's the supply side. That's the adult learner. That's job seeker. That's the student.

Know your audience. It is a good-- it is a benefit for them. How then, Celina, could we turn that around and make that into a benefit statement for an employer?

I love this example because this is one where we can get really excited. And Erica put in here-- she actually uses features and benefits statement as part of her customer service class. And they offer students, which is good. So Erica in this example, we have to think, OK, we want to put on our hat for talking to a business.

And so if I go in and say, gosh, Dr. B, work-based learning opportunities are so good for our students. They can start a new career. They can offer good wage. Am I speaking the language of business?

Or am I speaking it more for that's great if I wanted to engage a student in work-based learning but not necessarily a company? So I may say something like gosh, work-based learning opportunity, Dr. B, has shown in our organization to be a great workforce development strategy, especially in times of COVID. Because as you're opening the doors up, what you're able to do is try out and look and get part-time help and really try the skillset out. And what most businesses have found is that 98% of them come back for more work-based learning opportunities because it's that great of a strategy to help you be competitive.

And you would add more benefits to that. Be specific to that research you've done on that organization. Is it manufacturing that they're in? So would it make them more efficient? Would it make them more productive?

And Celina through in a data point. That's an absolutely "confetti all around" because if you have a data point as well as a previous customer testimonial with what you're saying, that's proof of concept. Remember, value is important. Everybody, personally or professionally, we look at what is valuable differently and what it means to us and what it does for us.

So nobody wants to be the first. When you've gone to those restaurants and there's nobody inside, do you want to be the first person inside that restaurant to try that new restaurant? So you got to really look at that.

Use testimonials so you can show that they would not be the very first to try this. And sometimes they are, but you can turn that is a benefit because they then will have the top notch candidates. They will have first pick of the individuals. You can turn anything, any challenge around if you're strategic, into a benefit for customers. So you can practice that.

The other one, we've got to be really intellectually honest with our work. We got to look at our website. We got to look at our social media platforms, our handouts, our leave behinds, our brochures, our talking points. And just do it.

Just pick something on your website, and you're saying it's for employers. I don't know if you have a section on your website. I'm assuming there's some piece that's about employers. Are you listing just features or are their benefits there?

If it's a feature, jot it down and add the benefit to it. And then if you can, let the people who is in charge of the website to add benefits so the employer-- if they do go on your website and especially if you are asking them to fill out a form or you're trying to get employers and businesses on to your website but yet it only speaks in features about your program and everything else, you've lost them. What are the benefits? And all you have to do is jot it down and then the feature can follow it as supporting evidence-- how you demonstrate that increased productivity or anything else we've spoken about.

Dr. B, can we do one more? Because this is an-- oh, I've got to give a shout out to Erica. She's such a pro-- the one that had the course. She's saying lower your recruitment and hiring cost time and effort. Erica, you're a pro. We'd give you a trip to Hawaii if we could. I mean that is so good.

And that's the kind of language that we want to speak as Dr. B is saying. Any time we interact with a business, what is on their mind? Just meet them where they're at in their head. But can we do just one more, Dr. B? Because this one is so highly nuanced, and it's the first one up there.

And we're talking about apprenticeship programs. We've talked about anything. It says, apprenticeship programs help recruit and develop a highly skilled workforce. Is that a feature or a benefit?

Let them come into the chat to see. Well, that's a feature. I mean, that's probably on your website, or we see it all around. It's beautiful. It makes perfect sense.

But what does that translate at? We've talked about the value, how to articulate what is a value to business. How does that translate into something that's going to be more competitive?

The whole thing, everything we do-- remember, they're psychotic, and that's OK. You want businesses to be competitive. The more competitive they are, the more in your area they can grow, expand, and retain.

So our role in education, in workforce development, in economic development, with chambers is to do that. What do we do in our work with our students, job seekers, adult learners to help businesses become more competitive? Those are the key words.

And we provide access and connection to all of our community resources. As business owners, Celina and myself, we pay for access and connections where people are used to in business to pay for access and connection. And you have that. It's such an amazing resource.

So those are features. And that top one that you mentioned Celina, all that's missing is, what does that translate at as a benefit to a business? And don't think it's, well, they would know that. No.

You have to join the conversation that's already happening in their head. It's split seconds that you might only have with them. And you have to keep the connection going so you can get into more specific conversations.

Right and Erica's done it again. She's add, you know, apprenticeship programs help recruit and develop a highly skilled workforce, that translates to higher productivity and quality from your employees by hiring this highly skilled workforce. So she added a benefit. This seems like such an easy concept guide.

But I will tell you in working with many of you across the state and when we review websites, which is a very important touch point-- so a touch point is anywhere you interface with a company-- that we don't even see oftentimes a section for employers on your website. So let me give you a quick example, and then I want Sharon to come in and maybe talk about the Educate and Elevate campaign. We'll do another fun exercise here.

But just to drill home this point, this is She Works with Ford Next Gen Learning communities, which are really helping businesses connect in with their students, even on their website. When we worked with them, they said, students are at the center of everything we do. That's true.

But if I am a business coming on to this website and you want me to partner, how does that mission help me, as an employer, increase my profitability, enhance productivity-- all the things that we list here-- gain competitive advantage? And so again, it seems like a really simple concept but check your own website. Do you have a section for employers with value statements? Because what we're saying here is that will say, wow, let me pay attention to this education system here and career education and adult ed. I never even knew that they were an option for me. And it's amazing to me how many websites are lacking in that.

So part of it and-- Christine, can you help us with one more thing? I know you've got to-- I'm trying to pull you in. I know you were going to say something here

Yeah. But I just wanted to say I think it was Erica that said she teaches features and benefits in her customer service courses for her adult learners or students. And that is fantastic. Everything you've learned today-- if when your students or adult learners go in for a meeting with an employer to be interviewed by HR, or someone, a manager, have them speak in benefits. All the training that they've received-- how does that translate into a benefit to that organization? Have them do that mindshift for them as well.

And you can jot down your own questions for them, so they can learn how to translate into a benefit. That could be an exercise for them. And that will just be a game changer for them because now they're speaking the language of business. And they need to know that they knew so much about this, and so they don't have to understand everything about the business.

No, but if they can speak in a few benefits for that business, that's someone I would love to work with. Even if they don't have job experience, I could see that they're tuned in and they've made a connection with me.

That is such a great point, such a great point. So Sharon, can you hop on just a second? Because remember, you have a fabulous campaign, the Educate and Elevate campaign, where we're trying to raise awareness about adult ed across the nation. And part of that campaign was success stories. So not only where we seeing a disconnect on people's websites and not having a section for employers.

But remember when we tried to get success stories. And most of the success stories that we came in were about the students. So from your lens, how are you seeing the difference in success stories for student, success stories for employers, and what's the disconnect there happening?

This is what's so interesting, Celina, to me is that with WIOA Title I and Title II are supposed to work together for the good of the adult learner. So we're supposed to be helping adults get jobs and helping them get into community college, and this is one of those benchmarks. We have to be able to ring that bell that we got them a job or we got them in a community college.

So when we were hard pressed to get success stories about programs working with the workforce-- Celina and I talked about this many times. I was just really taken aback by that. I thought, but if this is one of the basic benchmarks that we're helping them get jobs but it's not happening at the local level or folks aren't able to articulate how they're working well with workforce partners, then that's the concern. So I would say that's still an ongoing concern. It has been very difficult to get success stories from the field of how they're working well with their employers.

So I thank Sharon for that, and I wanted you to do that setup. I knew that's what you were going to say because we had this conversation. But we have five minutes left with Dr. B before she has to setup. And I wanted you, Christine, to talk about how we could-- if we're going to put a section on our website for employers, what stories should be on there and how do we go about getting it and apply what you just taught us on the benefits side?

OK. Great question, out of the blue question. Love it. OK. I think the easiest thing to do-- and this is also a habit and this is great for you to teach your students and also your learners and here it is.

It's called a Pixar pitch. Pixar, it's known worldwide, globally. It doesn't matter what language, but it's a Pixar pitch.

And it started out really at Pixar, obviously, that you couldn't sell them a treatment or you couldn't sell them a storyline unless it was pitched in a certain way. And that's how we need to pitch our stories.

And so Sharon, a good way would be using the Pixar pitch too as interview questions, which would just take 30 seconds. Instead of somebody having to write up a success story, you can just ask them these things. But think about this now. You have to have two Pixar pitches in this audience.

You have to have one for your supply side-- your job seekers and your students-- and also teaching them how to do it. And you also-- because you want to share the success of your students and adult learners. But you also want to have one for the employers. For the employers, how do you share the success stories to employers?

So it goes like this. What's the challenge? So once upon a time-- so you look at the challenge. What is the challenge of this employer that you've worked in the past had?

Because of that challenge, what happened? Well, they lost revenue, they had to close their doors, whatever it is with COVID, and so forth and so on. What is that challenge?

And because of that challenge, what are some other things that really just went down the drain for this employer? And then describe the solution. Because they connected with your organization with you and you provided this particular solution that was applied, something happened.

What is it that happened? What was that benefit? Remember all those metrics, all those measures, that matter to businesses. What happened when they connected with you and your organization, the solution that you provided them?

Until finally, really, what were the result of applying that solution? Data point testimonial. Data point testimonials. They were able to rehire their current staff, or they were able to bring on five more internships. They were able to do work-based learning with us, which increased their customer service levels, just like in the sector of health care that we've been working with.

I mean, you can go on and on. Really, this would take one minute to describe. If you ever have to talk about something at a chamber meeting or an association meeting or ask you to introduce yourself or to a board meeting, you have to talk about some of your successes.

You want to bring in both audiences-- the supply success and the demand success story-- and Here's is a way to do it. What's the challenge? Because of the challenge, what happened? Describe the solution.

And what was found to solve that challenge? And then what happened when the solution was applied? And then what happened-- all that great things that happened, speaking in the language of your audience-- and what were the results? Data points and testimonials. Does that help, Celina?

It helps so much because we love to tell our students' story. We're so proud of the students, and keep that going on your website. But also just sprinkle in and remember our main customers.

And I know, Dr. B, you you've got to leave us to go to teach monetizing business services. Thank you for joining us. And I've got that in the deck Dr. B's contact information, so if you have future questions-- and I'll try to field the questions on BusinessU have. But thanks for joining us, Dr. B.

Well thank you, and thank you. Thank you to all of you. Thank you to all of the educators out there and for so much more. Thanks a lot.

So the other thing I wanted to share with you, another tip. So we've got the website. Have a section on your website for your employers. And also, the other thing, submit your messaging.

So just think about what Dr. B is saying. The value propositions for you working with your students-- totally different value propositions for business and industry. And I've given you this link on a campaign that we put together for, which was 14 community colleges around career education, and it was a big campaign. We're going to go into this campaign a little bit more in our next session at 10:10. But it really helps to understand how different sections on your website for the different target audiences. So there's an example there if you want to share or want to take a look at.

The other point I want to bring home, what Dr. B is saying, is what we do in marketing. And features and benefits, they're different fields, if you will, between what we call B2C, which is consumer. That will be your outreach to your students. Versus B2B, which is the outreach to a business and industry.

And it goes back to a little bit when I was trying to do with Dr. B in that role play is, what do businesses like to hear? Well, they like to hear how efficient you're going to be. They want to hear your expertise within your your organization. They like rational, fact-based data, and they like results-- ROI. Again, what's in it for them?

And you'll see, when Sharon and Kelly talk a little bit about the Behind Every Employer campaign and what we're trying to do there, all of that is wrapped into that campaign website, which we'll talk about momentarily. Think about that as you are putting together language on your website or a flyer or even on your LinkedIn profile. This is another thing Dr. B will talk about in her courses is that a lot of times adult educators and community colleges, when you go to their own personal LinkedIn profile--

And trust me when you have a business, you have an appointment with a company, whether it's on Zoom or face to face. And it's the first time they are going to look for you on LinkedIn. And so LinkedIn is an incredibly important tool. It's the number one tool that businesses use, and so everybody needs to be on it.

What we find is when we look at your bio, it'll say all that passionate stuff about students, very little about how you work with employers to keep them competitive. So even making that-- and we work with students and that results in employers be more competitive. Even something along those lines will help a lot, showing that you work both with the supply with your students and the demand, which is employers. We are looking for that, as CEOs, as executives. When we go on your LinkedIn profile and friendly stalk you, we want to see that your organization is going to be worth our time in taking that meeting.

One more point I want to bring home. And on your website, during COVID, one of the things you want to focus on when you build that section out for employers is focus on workforce development strategies like work share and rapid re-employment. So on, on EDD, there's a lot of COVID-related information for businesses on how they can rebuild. Even though you're not doing that-- your focus is on adult learning and career education.

So you have to translate that and say, OK, well, I need to help the businesses be more competitive and help them grow. So even having a list of resources on there for rebuilding things like work share-- a lot of things the workforce development system does and the workforce boards do. Share it on your website. You don't have to provide it.

Just say, hey, here's some resources. We're here to help you rebuild. Just some tips and strategies there.

So now, I want to get into very exciting-- the campaign Behind Every Employer. And again, kudos to Kelly and Sharon for funding this, for leading it off. And we have what I want to say is the bones of the campaign developed.

But I want to share with you the vision of what we want to do in creating this national movement not just here in California, but nationally. Because if we can create this national movement around elevating what we do in adult and career education, not only is it going to benefit our students but it's going to also benefit us from a funding standpoint as well. The more we can get out and really show the high impact education and industry partnerships that are happening across the nation.

So there are three parts to the campaign. And by the way the website is, and that you can check out. But I'll run you through it really quickly here. And the first piece behind it is to build awareness and knowledge to specifically employers about the benefits of adult and career technical education to solve their immediate talents needs as well as build their future pipeline. So that's the first part is awareness building.

The engagement piece is to-- and I want to say Sharon and Kelly have done an amazing job, and they're going to talk about some of the initiatives with these employers. Sharon's got a great one she's going to talk about with Amazon and things of that nature. To engage hybrid sector industries of all sizes of employers in what we call the continuum of ways to engage. And I'll show you what we've done on the website for that.

Because a lot of times businesses don't even know what they can do with us or you. I say us because I feel like a part of your family. But in adult and career and technical education, they don't know the ways they could serve on an advisory committee or they could recruit-- you could help them recruit, et cetera.

And then mobilization, which is building the capacity. What we want to do is set up pilots across the nation if we have the funding behind it, which we're looking for right now, where we can bring BusinessU in. And have actual certified business engagement professional learning events where Dr. B's knowledge and everything is actually expanded. And you're actually having an action plan just in terms of going out in your community to proactively expand your reach beyond that 1% to 3% that we're currently seeing.

That's the vision behind it. And so what we've done in your package is just share with you some screenshots of the current website. And you can see we've got-- keep you competitive. That's the first thing that we say on the website.

Workforce talent to keep you competitive. We are the system that can do that. You help educate and push employers here.

Here's the ways to engage, which I really like because it gives value propositions for everything that we do, whether it's recruiting talent or apprenticeship mentorship all of that-- the ways to engage and tapping into workforce development strategies. Here's that infographic. Remember, I said that B2B audiences love data. Here is the fact sheet on the Behind Every Employer campaign to really give them the data points that builds that business case of support for our system and what we do.

Eventually, we're going to have a locator map on here, where employers know who to contact. We put Sharon and Kelly's name just as an example of what this might look like. But we want to engage every single state in this campaign, so that as we're doing large advertising and reaching out it's on the map and people know who to connect with.

So Sharon's going to talk a little bit about how we want to engage the state directors in this, and really get everybody involved so that employers know who to contact. And of course, when they drill down to the local level, the local level has the knowledge of how to engage businesses and things like that, which BusinessU can help assist in terms of that language. And then we're going to have our industry and education innovations.

There's nothing more powerful than telling the story of how different businesses connected with us as a system and the benefits their company derived. Not only the student, but the company. That is also on the website.

And then we have here, "Complex workforce issues are solved through public private partnerships," and testimonials and things of that nature. That's the start. And again, three different components. Really, the campaign portal, which we're starting to do.

We want to build our toolkits for the educational professionals, capacity building and doing that overall outreach. So awareness, engagement, and mobilization. So I'm going to pause here because I sure have been talking way too much.

And Sharon, I'm going to bring you on first. And just share with us anything you'd like more about what you're doing. I know you're out there working hard to get funding. You and Kelly are just beating the bushes to see how we can expand the bones. So I'm going to toss it over to you for your section and all the great work you're doing with business.

Thank you so much. So one of the things that is just happened recently is we've started working with a number of employers, and they have decided that they will support this campaign. So that would be Dollar General, Merik UniFirst, Tyson-- a number of different employers. They're actually serving as an advisory committee to the campaign. And so I think that's a good next step is to get a number of employers on who can help us.

They're also very interested in return on investment factsheets. So to your point Celina, they're all about return on investment. So what's really neat is Tyson built up Upward Academy, and they're interested in sharing that success story and really helping other employers to think along the same lines, that they can do this. This is something where they can have literacy programs right there on site potentially.

So they're interested in that, but what also really came out during our three initial discussions with these employers is that they really feel frustrated. They feel they are constantly running into roadblocks. So they want to actually serve as some sort of a coaching development committee for employers that are interested in even learning how to work with adult education. So that's something that we've been talking about as well. And they're also very interested in producing webinars and things like that.

So I'm excited because I feel like we're going to be launching this out like a hard launch in March at our national conference. But the missing piece has been that employers were engaging as well as the field of adult educators. So we were having difficulty hearing from the field of adult educators and their success stories, but we also were having difficulty getting employers to sign on. There was that typical barrier that we've been talking about today.

So I don't know if you want to go to the next slide, Celina. But I did find this really encouraging that we now have a team of businesses that are interested in supporting the campaign.

Sorry, Sharon, my computer is locking up. So I apologize. It'll catch up momentarily. It looks like it's-- just give me a moment here and I'll get you started.

No problem.

There we go.

Great. So I'm going to talk a little bit about some of the different initiatives that we're engaged in and working with employers. The IBM Skills Build credentialing option, this is really exciting to me personally because so many of our adult learners-- they need credentials. And so IBM is one of those steadied, true older organizations.

Everybody knows IBM. And so they've been building out the Skills Build platform that provides credentialing in specific areas. So what's really neat about this is we asked IBM if we could customize that platform so that it would not be overwhelming to our adult learners and it would be customized to the field of adult ed.

So right now, we're working on a program to do just that. And we believe that by January 1, we'll be ready to roll this out to the field. So it won't be the entire Skills Build platform. It'll be a customized version.

One thing I want to say about this that's exciting to me is that Sheryl Hart, who's one of the state directors of adult education. She's there in Arizona. She was one of the folks that participated on our board and looking at this platform. She thought it was excellent. She really could see the use the usefulness to our field but felt that it really needed to be customized. So I think it's exciting that we're able to do that, and I really think it will be useful to the field. So the next slide, Celina.

This one, the Move Ahead with Adult Ed, this for us is another one of those exciting partnerships. This is with NASDAE, the National Association of State Directors of Adult Education. Specifically, because we know that there has been a real drop in enrollment and a real concern for local programs who had to move from that brick and mortar to the online setting, that they didn't really feel they had the skills that they needed to be able to be promoting online their program. So the idea was that this was to really help them to increase their enrollment.

So we deployed a campaign tool kit for adult educators, and we worked specifically with Celina here and her firm to help us do this. We had over 1,000 people that attended that first webinar, and we've had more than 600 that have since then signed up to download the resources. But what's really neat about this is that we also have received Google Ads grants, so that we can help push out the enrollment information and we can help push out your program online.

So if you want to go to and checked that out, you would see that there's the option for you to sign up so that your program can be listed in our map. And so it's right there online, and that you can start receiving-- it's basically it's like free ad space that we can help you with. So that's the Find Something New Campaign. Celina, did you want to say anything about that?

I was just going to say, thank you for funding this Sharon. And the session that Marianne and I did for my team yesterday, we were talking about this resource as well because many people do not have a campaign theme for their local area. So Sharon has and Pat Tyler over at NASDAE have funded this.

And it's fantastic because it's got all the tools in there that you need-- handouts, factsheets, social media posts, and everything. You can take that now and now what you've learned from Dr. B and flip that as well and use Move Ahead with Adult Ed because that message would apply to business as well. How do you move ahead with your own company? So you guys designed it that way, and I just want to shout out the kudos, and let people know that they can take that and use it as a campaign right away.

Absolutely. And we were hearing some really wonderful responses from the field that it was just what they needed. So Celina, thank you for your help with that. The idea really is to help folks to market their program, so that it's not just businesses that know that you're out there but those adult learners who you want to bring into your program.

One other point to make. There is a current funded program through the Department of Labor called Find Something New. The idea is that a lot of jobs have gone away, so find something new. And now this, Move Ahead with Adult Ed, is now one of their featured programs there on the Find Something New campaign.

So we're excited about that. We also have been able to get this into the Department of Labor is Career One Stop site as well. So that's there too. And John, I did post the link, just so you can see it right there.

That's great, Sharon. And one other quick thing Gina had posted, before you move on to this. I want to make sure her question-- remember when you were talking about earlier and you said employers are seeing roadblocks.

Can you just name a couple of those roadblocks? And then again, I think those roadblocks-- I know what you're going to say, but I think that can be handled through this campaign and the language to get the awareness out.

I mean, first of all, they're not even sure what programs are offering, what local programs are offering. Workforce readiness skills-- so that's one. They aren't really sure where the programs are. How do they connect with them? Right now, it's being left to what programs are sitting at the workforce development boards or attend their local chamber of commerce meetings. It's very helter-skelter.

I can tell you, I was talking to one employer who told me I literally spent three hours online trying to find a local program in my area and ran into roadblock after roadblock and finally just gave up. It wasn't worth it. I couldn't find it.

They couldn't tell what programs provided what services. The idea behind this Move Ahead with Adult Ed campaign is that they can go online, they type in their zip code, they can find what programs near them offer HSC, offer ABE, ESL, workforce readiness and digital literacy skills. They can find it that way.

Thank you.

You're welcome. This next one we're really excited about as well. We're tipping our hat to chancelleries, presidents, provosts, registers, registrars, and financial aid directors. We will have a virtual symposium November 17. The idea is really to give you the tools that you need to build access, equity, and enrollment.

And this is Ability to Benefit. So those of you who are already working with community colleges, we encourage you to ask them to attend this. It's free of charge. It's funded by Essential Education and COABE, and we have a number of really wonderful, stellar partners on this project as well. So we really want to help as many individuals and programs in college's useability to benefit as possible for the good of that adult learner, but also to help build enrollment for the community college.

And our national conference will take place March 21 through 24 in Nashville, Tennessee. We do have a workforce strand. We also have a CTE strand. We also have an Ability to Benefit strand. So lots of really exciting things taking place at the national conference, which is scheduled for Nashville, Tennessee. We'll have a virtual option into that as well as an in-person option too.

And we also have a workforce literacy edition of our COABE journal. And I'm really excited to show that our partner SkillsUSA-- their immediately retired president, Tim Lawrence, wrote an article for the sternhell. We have a lot of really great articles in the US Chamber of Commerce and others that we're partnering with for workforce literacy and adult education. So it's only 2.99 per article or 29.99 for the full issue.

Fantastic. Thank you, Sharon, for all your leadership around what you're doing. You guys are doing so much with different organizations. Oh, and I'm sorry I misspoke. You have one more slide, don't you? That you want to talk to--

Super quick, absolutely. COABE has been working with Google, and so last year we were pushing out Google Applied Digital Skills at the state level. This year we're pushing out at the local level. The idea really is that we will have seven trainers who are trained who are working with more than 20 teachers and volunteers who will then train more than 50,000 adult learners. And why we feel this is so important is we know there's this huge digital divide that impacts primarily people of color.

So our goal is really that we want to bring resources to them. This is a really easy way to do that. It's a simple program that teaches people how to set up a Gmail account, how to work online, that sort of thing. So we're very excited about that opportunity as well.

Yeah and I mean the large-scale initiatives that you brought with Google, and all of these larger organizations, Amazon I think that just elevates in the eyes of companies what our system is all about. So again, thank you so much for leading that because it's one to many that we're going to get the word out. So thank you again, Sharon.

Thank you, Celina. Yeah. So Kelly-- last but certainly not least, SkillsUSA and all the fabulous work you are doing. What can folks tap into and learn to help them while we're getting all this word out about who we are and what we do?

Thank you. It really is a pleasure in the last few minutes just to talk to you all a bit about SkillsUSA and the work that's being conducted currently. You may be familiar with the organization, that we serve students all the way from middle school into the adult learners. So just excited to be able to share some of those pieces with you

SkillsUSA has been in existence for over 50 years. And I think what we're getting better at is obviously these rich partnerships, like our partnership with COABE which we really value as well as Behind Every Employer, the campaign, to really connect our learners with their futures. And so a few of those things that we really find that our employers have been talking more to us and helping us to be better at labeling the work that we're doing really centers around occupational identity-- ensuring that students know not just those things that directly impact their families or their personal experiences, but also have the opportunity to really know what's out there in the rich, meaningful experiences that take place in career and technical education.

So working a lot with our business partners as they're looking for more solutions to ensure that they're not just checking a box, in particular when it comes to diversity and equity and inclusion, but really looking for strategic ways that have long-term sustainability. And we feel like the opportunity to do that is really to help our learners to really understand what's available and how they can connect to that. And then, obviously, a key business partnerships-- SkillsUSA is not federally funded at all and so really relies on over half of our operational budget comes directly from business partnerships.

We're certainly a membership organization as well but really rely on that. And I don't know about all of you-- I've seen all the great comments-- but every time I have an opportunity to present with this team, I even have good checks and learnings that I'm taking a lot of notes from. So we're in this business as well obviously because we're so passionate about our mission.

But we have really found that in particular during this COVID time-- how do we really ensure that our partnerships are strategic in nature and aren't just specifically transactional? Because we certainly experience that as folks who see us-- and perhaps a lot of what Dr. B and what Celina spoke about early on-- may not see the value. Or if they see the value, it's not one of those deeply entrenched relationships that during difficult times are willing to sustain.

So looking at that as well as obviously, from our standpoint, skill development and how do we continue to do that. One of our key areas is around a program that we've seen a lot of participation and interest in the adult learning community. It's around a program called Career Essentials.

It is built around our skills as a framework but was built from research from employers as well as validation from employers and their assistance and participation in writing the curriculum as well as the assessments as well. So really, ensuring that our students are-- we love to use the term that they're job ready day one-- and that ensuring that those employers are being played a significant role in the creation of that work. So that the end product is something that they have said they need, and that we're able to marry the two. So Career Essentials, if you have any interest in that, I'd be happy to speak more about it.

I think Celina, we'll go ahead and go to the-- we've just got a couple of slides here. Here are some of the work. Really, our focus-- we usually do annual campaigns.

But what we really found-- and I'll just give you in the few minutes that we have left just really a couple of examples about how we have taken a step back, if you will, during this time. So in fact, we can just go to that next slide that you've got there.

We're in the process of building a product called SkillsUSA CONNECT. And it really is the opportunity for our learners to build community. We really found through some research that our learners were really looking for three things-- a sense of community, a sense of recognition, and a connection to their future and an opportunity to grow and learn.

And so this really exemplifies that. Through SkillsUSA CONNECT, business partners coming on board with us and giving us the opportunity to build those connections, supplying their resources and material. And I found that particularly interesting about Dr. B and talking about the extension of that relationship-- really allowing our business partners to direct and share the important knowledge curriculum assessments, whatever is top of mind for them, to allow them to be able to provide that to all of our locations.

I would say one strategy that I think was really useful in particular had to do with-- we had a data point around one of our business partners being able to share that 80% of their new employees that were skills former SkillsUSA members were still on the job and most of them had been promoted in that last five years. And the next closest recruiting agency that they worked with, their numbers were in the low 30s.

So we really use that and translated that into how we worked with other business partners, letting that be that data point really being the guide, and then also allowing those business partners to open the door to other business partners. So again, allowing them to use the language of business rather than oftentimes our supply side, mission-driven excitement and passion. So just a couple of examples of the things that are happening in SkillsUSA that we really believe are helping connect students to their futures and meaningful careers that allow them the economic security they deserve. Celina, I can turn it back over to you.

OK, fantastic. Fantastic. I know we've got just a few minutes left here. I think three minutes. But we've been trying to keep up with all the questions as we've gone along.

At the end of the PowerPoint deck-- and I know some of you-- I have Dr. B adjusting the download on that link that we posted to unlimited. Because I think it was set at one, so if you want to try to go back in and just give it a few minutes. We'll also make sure the tab for CAEP has everything so that we can make that happen for you and get all of the handouts.

Just want to, first of all, thank Sharon and Kelly because I can't think of two more wonderful leaders at the national level to help us really get the word out to employers. And I just adore working with both of you. You are two high-powered women that just know how to get stuff done, and I just wanted to give you a shout out. So thank you very much for participating and all that you do to fund and just get everything going for us.

Thank you very much. We love working with you as well.

Thank you. I know Dr. B has left and off and running, but what I've done in the PowerPoint deck is I've given you information about each of the organizations that presented today as well as contact information. So thank you again for joining us.

I hope you join us at our 10:10 workshop, which is about student recruitment during COVID and full capacity marketing. Myself and Maryanne Conlin are going to be teaching that. So I'll turn it back to the CAEP TAP to close this out, and thank you again.

Thank you all for attending this great workshop, and thank you presenters. It was very informative. It seems like everyone received a lot of great information.

And as Celina mentioned, they will have another workshop at 10:10 that you can access through the vFairs platform. We appreciate you all coming. Thank you, and we will see you soon. Enjoy the summit.