The Education Committee of the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce has been leading a multi stakeholder campaign in 2011 that is aimed at raising awareness and aspirations about educational attainment throughout the serve area of the Chamber. Earning a post-secondary degree is no longer just a pathway to opportunity for a privileged few. To the contrary, it has become a prerequisite for the retaining and growing of jobs in this region’s transitioning economy. Improving educational attainment levels throughout Southeastern Massachusetts is also critical to the attraction and retention of businesses.
The EdUp Campaign was established in three stages. Phase one began with the reinstatement of the Chamber’s Education Committee. Since 2011, the Education Committee has been the resounding voice on core educational issues such as support for level funding of services at area public schools. There has also been the introduction and funding by the local business community of Teach for America teachers into several area school systems. Another initiative of the Education Committee has been the multi-year sustained publication of monthly editorials that are published in The Herald News and the Bristol County Business News monthly newspaper. Educational focused opinion editorials put forward by the Education Committee are also frequently heard on WSAR1480AM. Copies of the editorials are chronicled on www.edupaspire.org.
Phase two of the EdUp Campaign was the creation of a multi-stakeholder marketing campaign that is strategically aimed at raising awareness about the value of educational attainment. The campaign was fashioned from data gathered by three marketing research survey projects. A marketing team was then comprised of UMass and BCC administrators, faculty, students and businesses leaders. The team produced the “EdUp - Aspire” brand.
The EdUp community partnership then shifted into the implementation stage on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. On that day the Education Committee unveiled the EdUp campaign during a special edition of the Chamber’s “Voice of Business” radio program on WSAR1480AM. The “EdUp” brand has since been expanded to include the development of a community stakeholder group of parents that meets regularly.
It was through the work of stakeholder and parent group that the EdUp Campaign’s first large scale public activity called, “College Day,” was inspired. The first area College Day was held on June 5, 2014. College Day focuses the attention of children and their parents on making it an achievable goal to attend college from a very young age. Research demonstrates that getting children to aspire to attend college is an important tool for schools in meeting school attendance expectations. On College Day school children throughout the region spend the day immersed in activities designed to bring dreaming and achieving to attend college into their sphere.
The EdUp message is additionally published through the use of the Chamber’s local cable access television show in partnership with Bristol Community College and FRCTV. The “Bristol Business Connection” features interviews and discussions about business and workforce related issues. Other steps have included higher visibility through bill board advertising on Interstate 195, the production of EdUp shirts and wrist bands for students and EdUp banners that are on display at area schools. There has also been the creation and distribution of EdUp book makers. Another significant undertaking has been the development of an information rich website. Visit www.EdUpAspire.org for more information.
People engaged in business recognize and value local education. That is why the latest effort spearheaded by the Chamber’s Education Committee is support of the Durfee Rising Campaign. Durfee Rising is a community-based effort to promote the building of a new Durfee High School in Fall River. After years of re-engineering, repairing, reworking, and resolving issues, the city of Fall River has received approval for a significant match grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority to build a new school worthy of its students.
Durfee Rising and all the other EdUp initiatives are part of a privately supported community engagement effort that is made possible through funding by the Bristol County Chamber Foundation, which is a 501(C)3 charitable non-profit organization and the Education Committee of the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce. One hundred percent of the funds raised through the Bristol County Chamber Foundation are used to support and maintain the EdUp website, education advocacy and the EdUp marketing campaign. Tax deductible charitable contributions to the Bristol County Chamber Foundation can be made to:
Bristol County Chamber Foundation, Inc.
200 Pocasset Street
Fall River, MA 02721
The EdUp campaign has been one of the most important initiatives undertaken by the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce. Your support and partnership is needed to ensure that area citizens embrace educational attainment. Please contact the Chamber on how you can help support the mission of the EdUp Campaign.