The East Hants & Districts Chamber of Commerce (EHCC) exists to help members and the broader business community grow and succeed. One of the main ways we do this is by providing access to training through courses and workshops. The EHCC Education Committee oversees this priority.

The mandate of the Education Committee is to engage and to inform our members and the general business community and to facilitate their access to business development and education programs, to improve their business success. The committee will reference the EHCC Strategic Plan for guidance when making decisions.

The East Hants Workplace Education Partnership (EHWEP) was the original steering committee that oversaw the workplace education programs. EHWEP operated under the Regional Development Association (RDA) system. Since July 2014 EHWEP has operated as part of EHCC’s Education Committee after the RDA’s were disbanded.

The workplace education programs are funded through the Workplace Education Initiative of the provincial Department of Labour and Advanced Education. (http://workplaceinitiatives.novascotia.ca/workplace-education/). The programs run for forty hours, usually a half-day per week for 10 weeks. Each program has about 10-12 participants. The programs are very well received and we receive great feedback from participants.

Current EHCC Education Committee members are:

• EHCC (Stacey Ingraham & Sheila Bianchi, Chair)

• Department of Labour and Advanced Education (Colleen O’Connor, coordinator)

• Futureworx (Jan Underhill)

• Municipality of East Hants Department of Business & Economic Development (Graham Scott)

• East Hants Community Learning Association (Tanya Burke)

• Kings-Hants CBDC (Colin Penny)

• Linda Wood (Burchell MacDougall LLP) and Sharon Prest (Foundations for Learning), representing local businesses and program participants

The Education Committee takes a broad view of workplace education, and runs three programs that we consider to be foundation programs:

• Building Business Relationships. We recommend this program as a prerequisite for marketing & management programs such as Online Marketing, HR, Presentations, Leadership, etc.

• Dollars & Sense – basic business finance. We generally recommend this program as a prerequisite for programs such as Sage 50 Level 1 & Level II.

• Intro Technology for Business / Microsoft Office. We recommend this program as a prerequisite for other technology programs such as Social Media, WordPress Website Building, etc. although it does depend on the level of the participant.

Last fall the committee held a facilitated community meeting for business, to provide information to oversee future programs. The result of that meeting, Organizational Needs Assessment Report, was presented to the committee in January to be used for our future planning purposes. The committee is also doing a survey targeted at tradespeople and construction businesses, to get more data from them to help plan future programs.

We are hosting a ceremony March 6 7pm at the Elmsdale Fire Hall to celebrate the success of this initiative. The program has grown from two courses offered in 2012 to 13 courses successfully completed in 2016. Demand has grown as participants have shared their experiences and recounted the success they have had in their business as a result. We invite all past participants to come out and join in the celebration.

The work continues as the committee meets monthly to plan out pathways for participants to build on their knowledge. We operate on a 2 year planning schedule and adapt to meet demand. The following Workplace Education Programs are taking place now:

Winter 2017 Programs Instructor

Marketing Debbie Lawrence

SAGE 50 Part II Lynn MacKinnon

Social Media for Your Business Jeff Brown

Build Your Website from Scratch on WordPress Jeff Brown

Building a Strong Trades & Construction Business Lynn MacKinnon

Throughout the year we also offer other programs. In the fall of 2016, the Education Committee put on a Business Breakfast Series with presentations by a lawyer with information for business:

• What Your Business needs to know about the privacy laws

• The Legal Benefits & Perils of Social Media

• Business Structures

Let us know if there are topics you would like to have covered in our breakfast series. We are also looking at hosting some Lunch and Learn sessions.

The Education committee also oversees annual scholarships to students in East Hants. Scholarship objective a¬nd criteria are: To support post-secondary studies of an East Hants student who has shown

• Good work ethic

• Entrepreneurial spirit

• Community involvement

• Preference to be someone enrolled in a business-related program.