The Chamber supports multiple volunteer-driven entities designed to address specific community issues or the needs of particular demographic groups in the community.
Education Policy Council
The purpose the Chamber’s Education Policy Council is to help ensure continuous high quality education in Tuscaloosa County - and by extension in West Alabama - through communication, effective dialogue, collaboration, relationship building, integration of efforts and outcomes-oriented actions. The Council meets monthly and is comprised of business leaders, educators and elected officials. The Council’s objectives are:
The Chamber will select Council members who are interested in education and who will commit their time and attention to issues and opportunities centered on advancing high quality education in the community for all children and adults.
The Council will create mechanisms within the Council: to enable it to explore the many facets involved in effectively serving the education needs of the community; to enable it to continually keep the lines of communication open to understand current conditions that help or hinder the achievement of high quality education at all level; to be able to receive new, creative, and innovative ideas and ways of expanding high quality education within all educational institutions; and to be able to advocate for proven ideas and best practices that will foster high quality education.
The Council will identify ways to encourage and achieve open communication and dialogue with all interested constituents of the educational entities.
The Council will develop strategies and performance indicators, through the utilization of data resources, for our community, available from Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), Alabama Board of Education (BOE 20/20 Plan), Research and Outreach in the UA Culverhouse College of Commerce (Dr. Sam Addy’s Research Department), and other data resources as applicable; that will help to determine when progress is or is not being achieved within the educational community.
The Council will include focus group participation when issues are identified to be beneficial to include participation and perspective from parents, families, teachers and other educators from our community.
The Council will monitor its own performance and evaluate itself against its vision and purpose statements.
While the West Alabama region may not include many active duty military personnel, it does include a significant number of National Guard and Reservists, and is home to over 80,000 military veterans. Beyond that, the region has a rock-solid tradition of support to our current and former military members and their families. And, Tuscaloosa is home to a 1,000-bed U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Recognizing the importance and the uniqueness of these current and former military members, the Chamber maintains an active Military and Veterans’ Affairs Council. This Council focuses on building strong ties between the business community and our military and veterans. It also focuses on local issues unique to the military and veterans community.
In addition to the military and veterans who permanently reside in the region, the local colleges and universities attract a significant number of younger veterans, many of whom have recently returned from war. In fact, in 2014 the University of Alabama was recognized as one of the top military-friendly universities by the Military Advanced Education Magazine. Even though this group of young veterans may be transient to our community, we, nevertheless, feel a strong level of commitment toward them. The Military and Veterans’ Affairs Council pays particular attention to this group.
Toward that end, the Chamber’s Military and Veterans’ Affairs Council sponsors an annual Military and Veterans Appreciation Event where the business community can introduce itself to, and show its appreciation for, our veterans. This event is normally held on a local campus to maximize participation of student veterans.
The Military and Veterans’ Affairs Council is an example of volunteers, many veterans themselves, working together to strengthen our community and improve the quality of life of veterans and their families.
YP(t) provides a meaningful opportunity for talented and dedicated professionals 40 years and younger to unite, grow, and develop the next generation of the business and civic leaders. Members make valuable connections with peers from various professions and industries and have personal and real access to the West Alabama business community’s most prominent and influential leaders.
The mission of YP(t) is to create opportunities for future business and civic leaders to build relationships, to enhance professional development, and to contribute to the needs of the West Alabama community, with an emphasis on the members’ personal passions and professional goals. YP(t)’s objectives are:
Create relationship-building opportunities
Provide opportunities for educational and professional development
Build awareness of governmental process and issues
Provide an outlet for volunteer information and opportunities and contribute to and enrich our community
Create and cultivate our future leaders and provide leadership opportunities
Work to keep our young professionals in West Alabama
Foster economic development and enhance the community’s livability
Engage in opportunities to participate in and further develop the region’s rich cultural resources in order to build a more livable community.