WASHINGTON, D.C. – An east-central Nebraska business leader has been recognized nationally.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced Friday that Sarah Ehlers, Director of Talent and Workforce Development for the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, was selected to participate in the seventh cohort of its premier business leadership program.

The Business Leads Fellowship Program trains and equips leaders from state and local chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and trade associations with resources, access to experts, and a network of peers to build their capacity to address the most pressing education and workforce challenges.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected by the U.S. Chamber Foundation to join 34 other chamber professionals in this cohort,” Ehlers said. “The Business Leads Fellowship Program will provide new insight from policy experts and other chamber professionals. I intend to bring new ideas and concepts back to Columbus to enhance our childcare, education, and workforce development efforts through our already great Drive For Five program.”

Program leaders say driving success in communities across the country is the goal.

“We created the Business Leads Fellowship Program in response to the needs of our state and local chamber partners,” says Cheryl Oldham, Senior Vice President of the Center for Education and Workforce. “They, better than anyone, see the critical link between education and economic development, and we are glad to be able to support them as they take on this critical leadership role in their community.”

Following a competitive application and selection process, Ehlers was selected along with 34 other state and local chamber executives, economic development professionals, and association leaders to participate in the seventh class of this program.

The six-month program, consisting of both in-person and virtual meetings, will cover the entire talent pipeline, including early childhood education, K-12, postsecondary education, and workforce development.

“As a graduate of the program, I have seen the value that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation provides to Cohort members”, said Dawson Brunswick, President of Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and a graduate of Business Leads Fellowship Program Cohort Five. “Sarah is the third chamber professional to be selected from Nebraska, and her selection shows how involved she and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce are in leading the area’s workforce and education efforts.”

Upon completion, Business Leads Fellows will join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s network of over 250 chambers of commerce and statewide associations from around the nation who regularly engage on education and workforce initiatives.