Monday, February 27, 2012

Chamber Speaks for Business in Education Forum

On February 23, KBTC, Bates Technical College, Business Examiner and Northwest Public Radio presented “Building a Grad Nation: The American Graduate Project Forum.”

Tom Pierson, Chamber President & CEO, was invited as a business leader to participate in a panel discussion on exploring the impact low graduation rates have on our community.

Fueled by the detrimental national rate of more than a million students dropping out of high
school each year and the effect this has for our nation to compete in a global world, KBTC joined public media stations across the country to address the issue in their own communities. Pierson
represented business interests within the panel and touched upon the close ties entrepreneurship and education to jobs and therefore businesses and the community.

“There is an undeniable connection between K-12 education and business. The stronger our schools are, the stronger our workforce and the stronger our businesses and community,” Pierson said.

Pierson’s message was that businesses definitely care about the health of K-12 education and are willing to be engaged in the future of our community’s workforce.

Along with Pierson, the participating panelists also included Miguel Blanco (President - Pierce County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce), J.W. Harrington (Vice Chancellor - University of Washington-Tacoma), Kurt Miller (Director - Reach Center/Tacoma School Board), Salvador Mungia (Partner – Gordon Thomas Honeywell/Member – Tacoma Mayor’s Education Task Force) with Jeff Rounce, Business Examiner CEO moderating.


  1. Are there any more detailed proceedings of this meeting? In what way were the local school districts present? What issues do they see as key to creating or reducing the drop-out rate?

    Maxine Herbert-Hill

  2. Maxine,

    Appreciate your interest in the forum! Please contact Ed Ulman, Director of Development, KBTC, to direct your questions on the forum and to find out more information on the follow-up to the meeting. Also, you may find more info here at the Grad Nation webpage: