Executive director of Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce graduates from business leadership program

Merritt, Lauren

Caitlin Codella Low, left, vice president of Policy and Programs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, presents Lauren Merritt with her certificate of completion of the Business Leads Fellowship Program. | Photo courtesy of Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce

MACOMB, Ill. — Lauren Merritt, executive director of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce, graduated Jan. 26 from the eighth cohort of the U.S. Chamber Foundation Education and Workforce Fellowship Program.

The Business Leads Fellowship Program trains and equips leaders from state and local chambers of commerce, economic development agencies and trade associations with resources, access to experts and a network of peers to build their capacity to address the most pressing education and workforce challenges.

In a press release, Merritt said, “It was a true honor to be a part of the Business Leads Fellowship Program. I learned a great deal and built relationships with workforce development experts, as well as other chamber leaders from across the country. I plan to take these resources and put them to work in our community so we can address our talent pipeline management needs.”

“We created the Business Leads Fellowship Program in response to the needs of our state and local chamber partners,” said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce. “They, better than anyone, see the critical link between education and economic development, and we are glad to be able to support them as they take on this critical leadership role in their community.”

Following a competitive application and selection process, Merritt was selected along with 34 other state and local chamber executives, economic development professionals and association leaders to participate in the eighth class of this program. The six-month program, consisting of both in person and virtual meetings, covered the entire talent pipeline, including early childhood education, K-12, postsecondary education and workforce development.

Upon graduation, Business Leads Fellows join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s dedicated network of more than 300 chambers of commerce and statewide associations from around the nation who regularly engage on education and workforce initiatives.

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