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  • Workforce Development

  • As a champion for our local community, the Chamber recognizes that building a strong local workforce will help strengthen our local economy. We have various community partners we work with on workforce development, as well as programs our local businesses and communtiy members can get involved in to help develop a strong workfroce locally and build the next generation of business leaders.


  • Chamber Programs

  • The Chamber has developed a series of workforce development programs to engage community members of all ages and levels of experience in becoming strong local leaders as a way to help build a strong local workforce for the Santa Maria Valley.

  • Junior CEO Junior CEO

    Junior CEO, is a six-week digital business education course that teaches kids the basics of starting their own business. The program was developed by the Visalia Chamber of Commerce and has been licensed to the Santa Maria Valley Chamber who will be the program administrator for the local version of this program. Junior CEO is created with the theme of opening up a business selling strawberry-themed desserts. At the end of the program, Junior CEO students will get to open their own dessert stands (or another concept that they created) at various spots around town.

    You can learn more about the Junior CEO program and how to register for an upcoming session here.

    Santa Maria Valley Next Santa Maria Valley Next

    The Santa Maria Valley Chamber has partnered with the Santa Barbara County Education Office on "Santa Maria Next", a program that highlights the career readiness training offered in high school career pathways and recognizes students who are excelling in these various pathways.

    Teachers from local high school districts have the opportunity to nominate students in the career pathway being highlighted for that month. A group of students will be selected to be highlighted on Chamber social media/communications and by the local school districts.  Each quarter, the Chamber will also invite these students to attend a recognition event where they will have a chance to network with industry leaders in their career pathway of interest.

    A list of recent articles highlighting Santa Maria Valley Next nominees can be found here.

    FBLA Speaker Series FBLA Speaker Series

    The Chamber partners with Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) to host a monthly speaker series for high school students. Business leaders have spoken on topics including networking tips, job interview techniques, and more. If you are interested in being a speaker for this program or would like to learn more, contact Alex Castillo, Events and Special Projects Manager for the Chamber, at alex@santamaria.com.

    Santa Maria Connect Young Professionals Santa Maria Connect Young Professionals

    Santa Maria Connect, a program of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber, delivers networking and career development opportunities for professionals under 40. We are focused on building business, community leaders and relationships through fun and professional events.

    You can learn more about Santa Maria Connect here.

    Leadership Santa Maria Valley Leadership Santa Maria Valley

    Leadership Santa Maria Valley is an 11 month program designed to foster and create future community leaders. The program allows participants to increase their understanding of local issues, challenges and solutions while expanding their personal and professional networks and refining their leadership skills. Each Class gives back to the community with their own unique Legacy Project.

    Founded in 1995, Leadership Santa Maria Valley has over 330 graduates serving on boards of local organizations and in a variety of leadership roles within government, service, non-profit and business sectors today.

    You can learn more about Leadership Santa Maria Valley, including how to apply for the next class, here.


  • Santa Barbara County Partners in Education

  • Santa Barbara County Partners in Education and its programs are administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Their mission is to connect businesses and individuals with schools and youth-serving nonprofit organizations that serve them, in order to 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.

    The Chamber has partnered with Partners in Education to help connect local businesses to programming that assists with building our local workforce. Opportunites to get involved are outlined below.

  • Student Internship Program Student Internship Program

    Partners in Education's Student Internship program gives local businesses the opportunity to provide job experience to junior and senior high school students who have gone through a job readiness training program. Some details about the program:

    • Your $800 investment gets you 80 hours of support from a job-ready high school junior or senior. All interns have taken an extensive two-month long job readiness training program.
    • Partners in Education manages payroll and provides worker’s comp insurance.
    • The program has seen great success in South County with many businesses repeat clients for hosting interns, and are looking to expand more into North County as they have a lot of student interest but are in need of more business hosts.
    • Businesses that are not ready to host an intern but still want to be involved in the program can sponsor another business to host an intern for $800.


    You can download the program brochure here.

    Ready to take the next step and host an intern at your business? Contact Debra Hood, North County Liaison for the Santa Barbara County Office of Education at dhood@sbceo.org to learn more.

    Computers for Families Computers for Families

    Computers for Families is an award-winning program that seeks to bridge the digital divide that hinders low-income students from achieving academic success. This comprehensive program includes access to subsidized high-speed internet, training and ongoing technical support for teachers and families and a computer repair program at the Los Prietos Boys Camp.

    With the shift to remote learning due to COVID-19, the need for computers has been higher than ever. If your business has computers you plan to replace now or in the near future and would like to donate them to this program, please fill out this form.

    Career Coaches Career Coaches

    Career Coaches are volunteers who guide high school students throughout the duration of the 8-week Virtual Job Readiness Training, a component of the Student Internship Program. The program prepares students for the workplace and inspires new levels of confidence.

    Career Coaches play an important role by: 

    • Leading at least one group of up to 5students during weekly 45-minute Zoom sessions
    • Boosting student confidence through encouragement and support
    • Facilitating discussions on important career readiness topics
    • Providing personalized coaching on resumes, cover letters, and other assignments, in preparation for potential internships
    • Committing to the full 8-week program, including the same days and shifts each week (exceptions apply)
    • Conducting the admissions interviews for your student cohort (optional)


    Learn more about the program and how to apply by downloading this brochure.

    Download the Spring 2021 Career Coaches Calendar here.

    FBLA Speaker Series FBLA Speaker Series

    The Chamber partners with Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) to host a monthly speaker series for high school students. Business leaders have spoken on topics including networking tips, job interview techniques, and more. If you are interested in being a speaker for this program or would like to learn more, contact Alex Castillo, Events and Special Projects Manager for the Chamber, at alex@santamaria.com.