(Boston) March 2, 2017 – The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the largest Chamber in New England, announced today that the Worcester Chamber has signed on as MBAE’s first business “Affiliate” signaling its commitment to driving education improvements that will ensure all students get the education they need to be successful in college and career.

President and CEO, and former Lt. Governor Timothy Murray said, “The number one concern of our member businesses, regardless of the size or the sector, is workforce. We are actively engaging with schools and our college community on a local level, but it is important to look beyond the region. The business community needs to be proactive in engaging with the schools as well as represented at the state level to ensure that students are prepared for college and career.”

The Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Business Leaders for Education, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber of Commerce, Concord Chamber of Commerce, and TechNet have also joined the network.

“We are thrilled that the Worcester Regional Chamber and other business groups are joining with us to defend and advance education measures that better prepare students for a competitive economy,” said MBAE Executive Director Linda Noonan. “Every student in every community needs an excellent education to be ready for the future and making that a reality is our number one priority.”

Groups are responding to their members’ concerns on education and the workforce expressed through their responses to a recent statewide employer survey. 72% of Massachusetts employers say the schools need major or moderate change. Employers believe that there is much room for improvement in preparing our youth for success in postsecondary education and the workforce. Deep inequities in education that leave far too many students on the economic sidelines and a widening skills gap that makes it difficult for employers to find qualified candidates to fill open positions, must be addressed.

Education is emerging as a key policy issue this year. The Massachusetts business community has played a significant and successful role over the past three decades in calling for improvements in education. With efforts underway to roll back education reforms that have made Massachusetts number one in the nation in student achievement and with a need to better prepare all young people for a competitive economy, business groups are joining with MBAE to have a greater impact on that debate.

MBAE is finalizing its legislative priorities and positions and looks forward to working with its Affiliates to be effective advocates in the years ahead.

About the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education
The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education was founded in 1988 by employers concerned about the educational attainment and skills of graduates entering the workforce. Driven by the business community’s commitment that all students graduate high school prepared for success in college, career and citizenship, our core work is influencing state education policy to improve the quality of all public schools in Massachusetts.