About The Education Committee

About EdUp

About The Education Committee
Recognizing the role of education in a changing economy, the Education Committee of the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry was formed in an effort to promote education attainment and encourage the wider community to recognize its importance. Education affects all aspects of the community and is an issue with which all area residents should be concerned. To better equip the citizens and businesses of the Fall River area to compete in the changing market, the Education Committee seeks to raise community expectations regarding education and academic achievement.  The ultimate goal of the Committee is to elevate the quality of life in Greater Fall River.
The Education Committee is made up of community leaders from both the educational and corporate spheres. We are inclusive in our approach. The purpose of the Chamber’s Education Committee is to support all branches of learning from public, private, and vocational schooling to continuing education and the value of life-long learning. It is not the interest of the Chamber to change or critique the operation of the local schools. Instead, the intent is to promote and advocate for educational attainment initiatives in the wider community. It is for this reason that the Committee’s initiatives and programs are fashioned to work toward influencing the local culture in a way that makes education a top-of-mind issue. 
The Committee believes that embracing the importance of education is the first step toward raising expectations, which in turn will raise educational attainment and promote workforce and job readiness. A multipronged approach is necessary to be effective, which is why the Committee is leveraging community groups and organizations to achieve common goals.
The Committee’s current long term initiative is to produce “EdUp,” a long-term marketing campaign meant to promote educational appreciation by raising local expectations to aspire for higher educational attainment. Some of our other initiatives include:

About EdUp

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 SouthCoast’s transitioning economy. Improving educational attainment levels in Fall River and the surrounding towns is also critical to the attraction and retention of businesses. How can the region successfully attract innovation technology and niche manufacturing firms into the new Life Sciences and Technology Park when many within the area workforce lack the credentials to work there? Clearly, a change in accepted local wisdom is required.

Shifting the mindset of an entire community is a major undertaking. It requires a collaboration of many organizations and resources including area schools, universities, colleges, financial institutions and businesses. Ultimately, it must leverage the use of all mediums of media including billboards, television, web, radio and traditional print publications. In many ways, the campaign to raise awareness and aspirations about educational attainment is already underway.

Phase one began with the reinstatement of the Education Committee at the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry. For the past two years the Education Committee has been advocating on core issues such as support for level funding of services at the Fall River, Somerset, Swansea and Westport public schools. There was also the introduction and funding of Teach for America (TFA) teachers into the Fall River school system two years ago. That success led to the introduction of TFA teachers in the New Bedford school system. Another initiative has been the sustained release and publication of monthly editorials that are routinely published in The Herald News, WSAR1480AM and the Chamber Voice monthly newspaper. Copies of the editorials are chronicled within the “Workforce” section on the Chamber’s website. These early efforts shaped and set the foundation for Phase two of the EdUp campaign.

Phase two has been the production of a multi-year marketing campaign that is aimed at raising awareness about the value of educational attainment. Utilizing feedback from research gathered by 3 separate marketing research survey projects, a marketing team comprised of UMass and BCC administrators, faculty and students has outlined and produced a brand for the region. The brand is entitled “EdUp.”

The community partnership led by the Education Committee has transitioned into the third phase, which marks the launch of the “EdUp” campaign. The official launch was 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 is now being expanded with this social media platform. The EdUp website is designed to be a resource for people seeking information about improving performance in school, how to acquire college scholarships and provide assistance in applying for college financial aid. The website will eventually serve as a gateway for area families and individuals to connect with local experts. It is through the charitable work of the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation that the EdUp website and marketing campaign are made possible.

Next steps include release of a local ad campaign and the launch of two television programs in partnership with Bristol Community College, FRCTV and the Chamber. One of the shows, the “Workforce Connection” is on the air now. It features interviews and discussions about workforce related issues. The Workforce Connection began airing in September on local cable access stations across the region. The other program, which is in the development stage, will spotlight regional educational issues. 

The EdUp campaign may prove to be one of the most important initiatives undertaken by the Chamber and its many partners. Please help us ensure that more people in the area aspire to higher educational levels. With so much at stake, we must all do our part to collectively “EdUp” the SouthCoast region.