May CC draft3The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of our local educational institutions, and has a number of programs which help support our local schools.

“The Chamber partners with the local school systems in our Valley on a wide range of programs ranging from recognizing outstanding students to providing computers to students/families who need a little extra support to achieve their potential,” said Glenn Morris, President/CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Programs like the Business/Education Recognition Luncheon and the Principal for a Day event connect the employers in our community with the schools in order to share information about the skills employers need in new hires and to help them understand the constraints and issues the schools face on a regular basis.”

The Business/Education Recognition Luncheon and Principal for a Day Luncheon are just two of the events the Chamber offers every year to pay tribute to schools, students, and the businesses that support them. Additionally, the Chamber partners with other local organizations like the Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council to offer programs like Youth of the Month and Computer Connections, which reward students for going above and beyond in the academic community.

The Computer Connections program is a joint venture between the Industry Education Council and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, Computer Connections has given nearly 150 computers to deserving families and children.

“Computer Connections represents a great partnership between the businesses in our community, the Chamber, and our local school districts,” explained Morris. “The computers that are presented to students each year are sponsored by local businesses. By pooling the resources of several businesses at a time, we’re able to extend the impact of the program as a whole.”

Debra Hood, North County Liaison for the Santa Barbara County Education Office, agrees that local businesses play an important role in the success of our educational systems, and offer valuable partnership opportunities of the Chamber of Commerce.

“There are many ways that local businesses support our schools. Businesses have hosted field trips or given funds to provide bus service; donated food for class parties, food coupons for awards, and refreshments for student of the month programs; businesses donate awards and incentives to encourage student success; participate at school sites by assisting teachers with presentations, tutoring and/or reading to students, and Career Days; businesses donate gifts of cash to supplement limited school budgets and donate excess materials, outdated inventory, and merchandise to help supply teachers with a variety of classroom resources,” explained Hood. “The list goes on and on. The support our schools receive from our local businesses is tremendous and truly does benefit the success of these institutions and our future business leaders.”

Additionally, Hood said she feels encouraged by the attendance at events like Principal for a Day, as it shows community’s enthusiasm for honoring local students and the efforts local businesses play in student success.

“By attending events like the Business Appreciation Luncheon and Principal for a Day, community members demonstrate a commitment to the future of Santa Maria,” Hood said. “It shows people recognize that support of our students is a worthwhile investment in building a stronger tomorrow.”

The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the health of our community and the strength of our economy depend on the success of our local schools and preparing our young people for a bright and successful future. Through community partnerships with organizations like the Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council, and through hosting events that pay recognition our local educational institutions, the Chamber will continue to encourage the community to support our local schools and students.

“Through our community partnerships, we hope to help improve public education in ways that support a more vibrant economy, the health of our community and the well-being of local children and their families,” Hood said.

For more information on how you can get involved with Computer Connections or other education-related programs, contact Glenn Morris, President/CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, at (805) 925-2403 x 825 or glenn@santamaria.com.