We invite you to take a moment to review some of the history of the VIA CEO Forums, and to gain some insight into the programs and projects that have developed out of Forums over the years.
In 1995, VIA sponsored their first CEO Forum, bringing together chief executives, community leaders and educators to discuss the business community’s training needs and workforce plans. At that gathering, CEOs emphasized the need to re-engineer and re-tool the local workforce if they were to be successful in diversifying from defense to commercial manufacturing, and in expanding to new markets. As a result, the Valley Industrial Association and College of the Canyons Employee Training Institute began working together to fund a “retraining” initiative in the SCV. An Employment Training Panel project was developed through College of the Canyons and through that program, millions of dollars in training funds to support skill upgrade training have been provided to thousands of employees in the SCV.
In 1999, a similar group met to focus on key skills for success in the rapidly changing economy. Top priorities identified at that Forum included communication, problem-solving and team skills. In response, VIA developed the Valley Industrial Association Website Contest, an annual competition which ran for five years for K–12 students. Students worked with a local company partner to build websites for their partner, many of which were adopted and incorporated by SCV businesses.
Our third CEO Forum was held in 2002. This time, an overwhelming need emerged for entry level employees to have “Basic Business Conduct” skills. Students entering the workforce needed to be better equipped with fundamental skills and work ethics. Through this event, VIA built a program based on specific work skill needs and the “Connecting to Success” program was born. Launched in 2003, the program continues today.
In 2009, CEOs unanimously indicated that basic skills and access to a skilled workforce were top priorities. VIA took that information to heart and grew the Connecting to Success Program to include all seven area high schools. 2022 represents the 20th year of the program, and over the years, we’ve trained more than 35,000 students.
Since 2009, the VIA CEO Forum has become annual event discussing and tackling tough issues and building solutions through the collective efforts of the VIA membership and local business leaders. Topics have included workforce housing, transportation, high speed internet, continuing education for the existing and emerging workforce, advocacy, infrastructure and the quest to find a qualified workforce.
Based on ideas, suggestions and support from local business leaders, we anticipate remarkable results in the future as well.
Please join us for the 2022 VIA CEO Forum on Friday, December 2nd.