BRAC Director Selected for National Fellowship on Education

Liz Smith one of 22 professionals selected to participate

Baton Rouge, LA (July 19, 2016) – Liz Smith, director of policy and research at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), has been named a 2016-2017 Fellow for the Association of Chamber Executives Fellowship for Education Attainment, the program’s first Louisiana participant.

“We are proud to have Liz representing BRAC in this exclusive program,” said Michael DiResto, senior vice president of economic competitiveness at BRAC. “Her work on education initiatives over the years has yielded incredibly impactful results, and we look forward to her being able to share with and learn from this cohort of professionals.”

The Fellowship is designed for chamber of commerce executives and senior staff who work to improve the birth-to-career education pipeline in their communities. Fellows participate in an immersive education and workforce development experience that includes best practice sharing, reviews of case studies, interaction with and learning from national experts, and the opportunity to build a strong peer-to-peer network.

Through the experience, Smith will develop and execute a specific regional action plan to meet the Baton Rouge Area’s educational attainment objectives. Currently, she serves as BRAC’s staff lead for regional and state-level public policy research and reform efforts in the areas of workforce development and public education.

“I’m excited to be given the opportunity to advance BRAC’s work in public education and workforce development by creating a targeted regional education attainment plan informed by national best practices,” said Smith. “Our goals of cultivating the region’s talent and transforming its quality of life require concentrated action aimed at ensuring all Capital Area residents receive an excellent education that prepares them to participate in the workforce.”

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ Fellowship for Education Attainment is being offered to only 22 chamber professionals nationwide this year. Smith was selected based on her passion for strengthening the talent pipeline and improving regional education and workforce development outcomes.

Smith’s current work at BRAC includes:

  • Creating partnerships between K-12 schools and businesses to provide workplace experiences for students and educators
  • Expanding high-quality STEM education by advocating for teacher preparedness programs and greater access to computer science courses for students
  • Developing an annual regional school report card, summarizing performance of the 13 area public school districts and charter schools
  • Advocating for new and redeveloped schools in the region, specifically those that will provide state-of-the-art STEM education (Lee High School) and Career and Technical Education (the career training center at Ardendale), and that present opportunities for high-quality academic outcomes (IDEA public schools and InspireNOLA)
  • Driving regional review of and input on state occupation projections to better align use of public training dollars with the workforce needs of business and industry
  • Partnering with area community colleges to provide customized training to area businesses in support of new projects, products, services, expansion and employee retention
  • Addressing the need for entrepreneurial education by driving development of high school credentials related to small business ownership


About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at

About the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, founded in 1914, uniquely serves approximately 7,000 individuals who manage chambers of commerce. The mission of the Alexandria, Va.-based organization is to support and develop chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities. Learn more about us by visiting


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