EDGE = Education Drives Our Great Economy

Cyndi Fisher named Executive Directory

Economic success in Central Iowa has long been tied to the cultivation of the state’s most valuable resource: its human capital. The authors of Capital Crossroads: A Vision for Greater Des Moines & Central Iowa believed so strongly in educational success as a key strategy of economic growth, they outlined Human Capital strategies focused on improving education from early childhood through graduation. Today, the Human Capital implementation council takes that vision one step further, seeking a Cradle through Career approach that includes elementary, secondary, and higher education as well as adult re-skilling. This initiative has been named “Education Drives Our Great Economy” or EDGE.

“Raising the bar on education attainment means successful students become successful employees and citizens,” said Dave Wilkerson, Superintendent of the Waukee School District, member of the Business Education Alliance Board, and Co-Chair of the Human Capital. “But why should our talent development mission stop at graduation? If the average working adult today changes jobs five times over the course of a career, our workforce plan must include training and education that ensures our talent pool keeps its EDGE, giving Greater Des Moines an economic advantage over the rest of the country.”

The Business Education Alliance, with its history of bringing local business and education leaders together, is perfectly positioned to help drive the EDGE initiative. In preparation of the launch of EDGE, the BEA and the Greater Des Moines Partnership signed a memorandum of understanding which aligns the organizations’ respective talent development efforts. A newly formed BEA board will provide formal oversight of the community’s EDGE efforts through 2016.

“Continuing the development of a trained workforce is not only about retaining and attracting top talent,” said Marsha Aldridge, former BEA Board Chair. “The EDGE Initiative differs from the existing workforce development plans we researched because it considers the entire career cycle – ensuring children and adults reach their full potential and advancing opportunities so that they may maintain their edge, and their jobs, in our highly competitive and global marketplace.”

BEA is pleased to announce that locally recognized marketing professional and development strategist, Cyndi Fisher, has been named Executive Director of the EDGE initiative. Fisher’s official start date is July 23, 2014.

“Helping key business and education leaders collaborate to better align and measure our workforce development efforts will drive progress and help Central Iowa meet future workforce demand,” said Fisher. “I am excited to be a part of this initiative, and I look forward to working with the BEA to enhance partnerships among Greater Des Moines education and training, government, private and non-profit constituencies to foster positive academic and economic results.”

The EDGE Initiative will be organized into the three areas of focus, each with key metrics to measure progress: Advocacy, Pre-K through 20, and Life Long Learning. Advocacy strategies will seek to inform the community about legislation impacting education, foster public discourse about key issues in education and advocate for best practices in education. Pre-K through 20 strategies will seek to ensure every student is prepared to become a successful, productive citizen by providing resources to support assessment/exploration of student career/education interests and the measurability of student/teacher achievement. Life Long Learning strategies will include both higher education and adult re-skilling to provide citizens an opportunity to expand and grow their career options and to help match them to current and future workforce needs.