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2023 Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit Wraps with Record Attendance and Strong Collaboration Among Business, Education and Community Leaders

In partnership with Think Together and the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, the third annual
summit bolstered nearly 200 attendees and participants on March 15, 2023 at Loft 84 in Downtown Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif., March 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Think Together, California's leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning and school improvement programs, in partnership with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, hosted the 2023 Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit at Loft 84 in Downtown Riverside on Mar. 15, bringing together nearly 200 leaders in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

This year's summit convened a diverse set of stakeholders to discuss ways to improve education and workforce development in the Inland Empire, with a focus on increasing access to quality education, preparing students for the job market and creating equitable career pathways.

"We have a responsibility to provide our youth with the resources needed to succeed in today's economic landscape, said Randy Barth, founder and CEO of Think Together. "The turnout and engagement from fellow educators, business executives, and community leaders is a sure sign that together, we can give students the tools, and businesses the talent, needed for success."

The event opened with Mayor of Riverside Patricia Lock Dawson emphasizing the need for access to meaningful career pathways, college readiness, and job opportunities that allow youth to achieve their full potential regardless of zip code or circumstance. The summit then transitioned to Think Together alum Diego Martinez who shared his first-hand experience in Think Together's Hack Club and his post-graduation work with Think Together to help expand Hack Clubs to additional program sites.

"Afterschool programs like the ones I was able to participate in inspired me to dream big," said Martinez. "Today, I'm proud to share those same dreams with other students as a Hack Club leader and be a positive change to my school and community."

Bank of America's Inland Empire Market Executive Cathy Paredes led the panel to showcase regional perspectives on how today's current economic environment impacts workforce development and what educators are doing to prepare students for today's job market. Panelists included:

  • Ted Alejandre, County Superintendent, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
  • Randy Barth, Founder and CEO of Think Together
  • Dr. Angelo Farooq, Chairman at California Workforce Development Board
  • Dr. Edwin Gomez, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools at Riverside County Office of Education
  • Charles Henkels, Executive Director of LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network

"The Inland Empire is poised to experience tremendous economic growth, and businesses have a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between classroom education and workforce needs," said Paredes. "This is why Bank of America makes it our top priority to invest into workforce education programs and summits like this one that help create pathways to careers in the region."

The 2023 Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit was proudly sponsored by Bank of America with Think Together and the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce partnering to produce the annual summit. 

"The Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit has become a vital platform for building connections and driving change in our community," said Edward Ornelas, Jr., President and CEO of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce. "The energy, enthusiasm, and commitment of everyone involved was truly inspiring."

The summit closed with a networking reception to provide a forum for collaboration among peers, exchange of ideas, and exploration of potential partnerships to support education and workforce development in the region.

For more information about the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce and its programs, please visit

Those looking to get involved with Think Together can visit:

About Think Together

Think Together partners with schools and communities to pursue educational equity and excellence for all kids. As a nonprofit organization, Think Together innovates, implements and scales academic solutions that change the odds for hundreds of thousands of California students. Think Together's program areas include early learning, afterschool, school support services and leadership development for teachers and school administrators. For more information, call (888) 485-THINK or visit

About the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC)

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) supports commerce and economic prosperity throughout Riverside & San Bernardino Counties. The IERCC provides a platform for business executives to engage, network, and conduct business with like-minded individuals from all over the Inland Empire region. Learn more about the IERCC visit

SOURCE Think Together

For further information: Elena Bosch,