Peers to speak at Penn State Berks' fall 2018 commencement

Randy Peers will be the keynote speaker this year for commencement.
Credit: Penn State

READING, Pa. — A new class of 158 Penn State Berks students will receive their baccalaureate and associate degrees at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in the Beaver Community Center, when Berks hosts its fall 2018 commencement ceremony.

The honorary keynote speaker this year will be Randolph Peers, president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA).

Peers has spent the last 25 years working in the fields of economic and workforce development, adult education and association management. Currently he serves as president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA), an organization formed from a strategic alignment between three Berks County business organizations: Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Reading Economic Partnership, and the Greater Berks Development Fund. The GRCA, with an operating budget of over $3 million and assets totaling over $40 million, is the leading business membership association and economic development corporation in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Prior to this role, Peers led Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT), New York City’s leading provider of job training and education services for disconnected youth. OBT is known for its highly effective job training and education program designed specifically to meet the unique needs of out-of-school, out-of-work youth. 

Before becoming CEO at OBT, Peers spent four years at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce as vice president for economic development. During his tenure he managed a project portfolio of over $3 million, including Brooklyn Goes Global, an exporting initiative, and the Good Help Program, a small business staffing service. Under his leadership, the Brooklyn Chamber launched a research department that produced the Brooklyn Labor Market Review and the Brooklyn Business Survey, two leading borough-wide business publications. One of his proudest achievements, he said, was developing a nationally recognized model for integrating workforce and economic development services for small business that has been expanded and replicated over the years.

Peers holds a baccalaureate degree in political science from Brooklyn College and a master’s degree in public administration from New York University's Wagner School.