First, what is the Linked Learning Convention? 

This is an annual convention put on by the Linked Learning Alliance - a nonprofit that supports the field of Linked Learning (learning linked to career). 

Why were we there?

I was attending to deliver a breakout session on Strive San Jose -specifically how we think about reducing competition and increasing collaboration to increase businesses offering work-based learning opportunities.

Then we got a grant from the James Irvine Foundation as part of a network of Chambers who are pursuing work-based learning initiatives. So the CalChamber Foundation paid for our flights and hotels and hosted us at the conference. 

Businesses involved in LinkedLearning

Several companies were highlighted via breakout sessions or awards. 

The Wonderful Company - very high level of involvement in their local pathways, detailed at their website

Kaiser - strong ties between a Hollywood STEM school and the local Kaiser hospital with over 800 volunteers from the school participating in almost all Kaiser departments from front desk to pharmacy

JP Morgan Chase - title sponsor of the convention and a big financial supporter of career technical education

Useful Connections and Learnings

One of the main reasons you go to a conference is to build relationships with others in your field so you can reach out for advice and best practices. From this conference there were 4 major connections and relationships that were built or strengthened.

Chamber Network and the California Foundation for Commerce and Education (CFCE) - we got to meet our fellow grantees and begin learning and sharing about each other's projects. The Chamber Network is supported by Loren Kaye of the CFCE, a think tank affiliated with CalChamber.

The other chambers include: Sacramento (1000 strong - mayor's youth employment program), Oxnard, LA, Riverside, and Chico.

East Bay

There is a lot going on in the East Bay in Oakland, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties. We really like the salesforce platform they are using to scale business engagement in work-based learning. http://www.earnlearneastbay.org/

They are also launching a collective impact initiative out there called Alignment Bay Area

The Oakland Chamber is highly supportive and highly involved in these efforts - Barbara Leslie and Courtney Riley were in attendance.

LinkedLearning Alliance

We saw and met with people from the Alliance including the new president - Anne Stanton. She came to the chamber network meeting to share with us her excitement about the network and her thoughts that the real next priority for the Alliance was a focus on preparing businesses to engage with the education sector.

Jobs For the Future

This is an important organization in the field of career pathways. They offer a lot of technical support to Linked Learning efforts in California and to career pathways programs nationally. 

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