Baton Rouge, LA. (October 21, 2020) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced a partnership with the region’s postsecondary institutions – Baton Rouge Community College, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, and River Parishes Community College – to reduce barriers for small and mid-sized companies to access student talent and to commit to fostering an expectation of experiential learning both in the business community and on each campus.
The partnership supplements the announcement made in September with LSU and Southern University to leverage the Handshake platform to retain graduates from those institutions. Taken together, the collaborative represents more than 50,000 students in higher education.
“The Baton Rouge Area’s wealth of postsecondary institutions is an asset that not many regions across the country can claim,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “For the first time, all of our postsecondary institutions are at the table together focusing on making regional retention a priority. Developing and retaining talent here post-graduation is a key component to growing into the vibrant talent magnet we know this region can and should become.”
BRAC and each institution have signed an MOU to set expectations and outline responsibilities for this work.
Postsecondary partner commitments include:
- Work collaboratively to identify and implement a data tracking strategy that enables the institution to set measurable goals and track progress, and share those data points on an annual basis with the group;
- Increase opportunities for small to mid-size businesses to engage students on campus and virtually via guest lectures, hosted field trips, lunch and learns, etc.;
- Increase the institution-wide focus on job-based, experiential learning as a critical component of academic success, beginning with the first year a student is enrolled;
- Encourage and launch more paid internships for credit in more aspect of the curricula;
- Engage students to activate and utilize career placement software, with a goal of 100% student profile completion;
- Explore a migration to the Handshake platform to support a singular regional higher education career platform; and
- Promote positive messaging about Baton Rouge to students to enhance awareness of the region as a vibrant community in which to consider launching a career.
BRAC’s commitments include:
- Produce an annual scorecard to track regional progress on placing students in local internships and job opportunities, based on data provided by postsecondary partners;
- Promote paid internships as a key component of early talent attraction strategy among the business community of the nine-parish region it serves;
- Promote each institution’s career placement software to the regional business community;
- Conduct educational workshops with regional businesses to increase awareness and usage of career placement software; and
- Host quarterly meetings with postsecondary partners to assess current status and areas of support needed to help the partnership progress.
BRAC will host workshops with the institutions’ career service centers to help employers set up profiles in Handshake, College Central (the system currently used by BRCC and FranU), and GradCast (the system currently used by RPCC), and learn how to most effectively engage with additional resources available through career service centers. Upcoming workshops include:
- Intern 101, October 21 at 10:30 a.m., to provide pointers on how to create a valuable experiential learning program within a company both in person and virtually
- College 101, October 28 at 10:30 a.m., to explore how to engage with the area’s technical and community college institutions on performance-based experiential learning
Recordings of the workshops will be made available on BRAC’s vimeo channel.
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 1,400 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 brac.org.