The West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce has joined its Annapolis counterpart in a new business/school partnership to help turn out a better-trained work force.
The 145-member west county chamber plans to work with the Business Education Clearinghouse, created by the Greater Annapolis Chamber of Commerce several months ago.
During the first meeting yesterday of the western chamber's new community affairs committee, chamber members worked on ways to boost education, substance abuse prevention and beautification in the western county, including by joining the clearinghouse.
The clearinghouse matches businesses' resources with schools that need resources such as mentors, tutors, consultants, seminars, field trips, on-site work experience, scholarships, speakers or donations of equipment, said Kathy Dulisse, the St. John's College representative to the Greater Annapolis chamber.
So far, the clearinghouse has focused on Annapolis and South County schools and businesses. Members of the clearinghouse committee, including representatives of the Greater Annapolis chamber and other county chambers, the county school system and the Washington Board of Trade, asked businesses what they can offer students and asked school administrators for requests.
Twelve schools have made requests, some for career speakers, field trips, tutors and science fair judges. Fifty county businesses said they can help.
The clearinghouse has matched Westinghouse Oceanic Division with Annapolis Middle School, St. John's College with Germantown Elementary, IIT Research with Edgewater Elementary School and Be Beep, a toy shop, with Annapolis Elementary School.
Now, the committee is turning to other county chambers to help expand the clearinghouse countywide.
"If the schools in Anne Arundel County can go to one source to look for partners, it would be better than going everywhere," Dulisse said.
Nancy Proctor, the western chamber's representative to the clearinghouse, said she plans to survey western county businesses, then bring survey results back to the clearinghouse committee.
Already, several businesses have offered to help, she said.
The Hanover law firm of Wagonheim and Cummins offered to take part in schools' career days, while Odenton dentist Richard A. Friedman offered to speak in schools about dentistry. Fort George G. Meade also is likely to provide speakers, Proctor said.
Dulisse said that Gov. William Donald Schaefer's challenge to the business community to help schools turn out good leaders and responsible citizens prompted the Annapolis chamber to set up the program.
The clearinghouse committee also is using an information data base started by the Washington Board of Trade, which matches businesses with schools in the Washington area, Dulisse said.