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Des Moines Downtown Chamber Partners with Six Community Programs to Launch New Initiative Connecting Students with Employers

June 26, 2018

DES MOINES — The Downtown Chamber and its partners are launching Student-to-Employer (S2E) Wednesday, June 27th. This new initiative connects the Downtown Chamber’s S2E student program partners with the Chamber’s employer-members who can provide students with occupational experiences via job shadows, internships, apprenticeships and/or other occupational activities like reverse job fairs and career nights. The long-term goal is to boost Des Moines’ sustainable and inclusive workforce by increasing the number of student/employer connections. S2E will also increase business community awareness of and the need for greater employer involvement with S2E student program partners while making the business case for S2E participation. S2E student program partners include Central Campus, DMACC Urban Campus, Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families, GEAR UP Iowa, iJAG, and Oakridge Neighborhood


S2E student program partners provide experiential-based education opportunities for traditional and non-traditional students. These programs expand student’s occupational aspirations by providing tools necessary to obtain training, education, and experience to help students imagine and achieve their full potential. The S2E student program partners share a common limiting factor – the need for increased employer participation with their students. In a Downtown Chamber study, 95% of the respondents said it would be beneficial if the Downtown Chamber connected them with students looking for internships. 81% were interested in providing job shadow opportunities. The Downtown Chamber’s S2E initiative was designed to fill this need by connecting S2E student program partners and employers. Employers can choose which S2E partner program best suits their business needs and desired involvement level. 

Why June 27th

In 2017, the United Nation’s General Assembly designated June 27th as MSME Day, a new international day celebrated each year, recognizing the strong contribution of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises to the UN’s new global development goals. A growing workforce needs to be equipped with the skills required for jobs of the future and an enabling business environment is necessary for job creation. Globally, as in the United States, Iowa, and Des Moines, a mismatch of skills and labor market requirements means many young people face difficulties in securing a job and youth unemployment is more than double that of adults. Today we join others around the world observing MSME Day as we launch S2E, an initiative of the Des Moines Downtown Chamber, connecting student program partners and employers. We recognize the importance of MSME’s in achieving United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; and Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. #MSMEDay

About the Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce 

The Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce is a provider of information and resources for the downtown community through knowledge sharing, the fostering of civility, and understanding of economic issues in the service of the betterment and sustained growth and success of Downtown Des Moines. The Downtown Chamber was established in 2008 and currently serves over 350 business members in the downtown and surrounding metro area. More information can be found at dtchamber

About Central Campus (Des Moines Public Schools) 

Central Campus serves as the Premier Regional Academy within the Des Moines Public Schools. Over two thousand students from dozens of Iowa High Schools experience Central Campus’ Advance Career Training Programs. With academic planning and support in high school, students have the opportunity to earn community college credit and two-year Associates Degree at no extra cost. Central Campus provides nine advance career academies with three dozen specialized programs offering multiple pathways to college and career readiness. Students can explore international learning experiences and earn nationally recognized advanced career certificates. Central Campus

About Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) – Urban Campus 

The Urban Campus of Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is one of the most diverse and multicultural student bodies in the state with students and faculty from 75 countries, more than 95 languages are spoken on campus, and 75% of student identify as a 1st generation student. Whether starting a four-year education through DMAC’s Transfer Programs, pursuing a rewarding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Career, or one of DMACC’s many in-demand career and technical degrees, DMACC offer 153 programs and short-term certificates that help students qualify for the many Central Iowa job opportunities. Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families is part of the DMACC family. DMACC Urban/Des Moines Campus

About Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families 

Helping people connect to career goals and achieve financial stability, the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families is helping families and individuals improve their financial position and connecting them with their work and career goals. This first-of-a-kind center formed the ten-week Summer Youth Experience Program (SYEP). SYEP provides youth, ages 14-21, two weeks of work-ready training followed by eight weeks entry level work at a minimum $8.00 per hour, 20-hour work week. SYEP’s subsidized work experience prepares youth with the necessary skills to fill the workforce employee gap, emphasize real world labor expectations, provide real world labor exploration, career instruction, financial literacy training, academic improvement and social growth, increase the awareness of impact volunteerism has on social growth and development, and encourage student to explore college opportunities. Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families

About Gear Up Iowa: Gear Up 

Iowa follows students in 12 low-income school districts, including Des Moines, from seventh grade through their first year in college. Current GEAR UP Iowa students are in the high school class of 2020. The program works with schools and families, providing services aimed at preparing students academically, financially and inspirationally to enroll and succeed in college. GEAR UP Iowa students are eligible for the GEAR UP Iowa scholarship of at least the minimum Pell Grant amount ($600 per year). This U.S. Department of Education-funded program is administered by Iowa College Aid. GEAR UP Iowa

About iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates)

iJAG provides quality, comprehensive drop-out prevention and school-to-work transitions services for youth in 7th grade through the college level on a statewide basis. Building resiliency in Iowa’s Youth, iJAG is an independent, statewide 501(c)(3) and has become a leader within the national JAG network. iJAG has mentored over 18,500 students who were at the highest risk of disengaging from school or dropping out of school without the skills and motivation needed to succeed in higher education and the workforce. Through iJAG programs, middle school through college age students achieve their personal potential via “for-credit” elective courses during the regular school day. The iJAG specialist serves as adjunct faculty, works with a total 35-40 students in small learning environment, and continues to work with students into the summer in areas of leadership, employment, and ,in some cases, academic support. iJAG offers a venue for students to interact with employers and community-based organizations. iJAG

About Oakridge Neighborhood

Oakridge Neighborhood provides a safe, secure neighborhood with supportive housing, programs, and services to build and develop the strengths of children, adults, and families moving them toward sustained self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Oakridge Neighborhood is the most culturally diverse neighborhood in Des Moines. Oakridge Neighborhood workforce readiness classes – for speakers of English and other languages – help many residents and community members from across the Des Moines metro find jobs and increase their income. The Youth Summer Employment Program (YSEP) provides subsidized employment opportunities for low-income high school-age youth each year. YSEP provides eight weeks of paid part-time (20-30 hours) work experience at non-profit and public agencies in conjunction with job skills workshops, career exploration, and development opportunities. Students come away with an understanding of the direct link between academic achievement and future career aspirations, the basic skills needed to find and keep a job, and the value of giving back to their community through service learning projects. Oakridge Neighborhood