Changing the Job Search Process in Huntersville
This post was authored by Jill Swain, Executive Director, Huntersville (N.C.) Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
Huntersville, NC has been growing for nearly 30 years. Located north of Charlotte and at the crossroads of several active highways, Huntersville has positioned itself to be a hub for large business and corporate headquarters. Despite the success of bringing in a strong contingent of larger companies, Huntersville has seen downsizings and restructurings, and citizens sometimes look for employment elsewhere. We have underemployed experienced workers and executive level talent, but our corporate HR departments will spend thousands of dollars on job postings and relocation packages, even though the talent is right here.
With citizens coming to the Huntersville Chamber asking for networking assistance to find local job positions, it became clear that the traditional methods of job searches were not working for our local talent. As a chamber that works diligently to make direct and personal connections, we knew we had to change the job search scenario.
Working with Job Hubbub, our chamber established a local job search board, HuntersvilleWorks.com. We offer free job postings to our members and encourage residents to share the site with family and friends through social media. The site connects directly with Google Jobs, so anyone searching "jobs near me" locally is directed to our local Chamber member open positions.
A more personalized, local approach to job searches also allows our chamber to directly connect people to potential jobs. Although the site is easy to use and self-sustaining, we can monitor incoming jobs and applications and, when possible, make direct connections. The previous mentality of networking and trying to find someone in each company to get a foot in the door is now morphing toward a more direct effort to hire local and stay local in job searches.
We wanted to ensure that the system meets the needs of applicants and employers. Job-seekers receive an update if their application was read, so they didn’t have to wonder if their application went to some national headquarters “black hole”. We have also begun locating job kiosks at local establishments to increase business foot traffic and to make sure that people have access to search jobs throughout town. HR professionals can rate applicants and keep a file for any applications that come in for job positions. With the connection to Google Jobs, clicks to jobs listings on our site also improve SEO for member companies that post jobs on our board.
We are seeing a consistent increase in clicks and usage, currently at over 260,000 clicks a month and rising. We are about to launch a partnership with a local media organization to link our open jobs to their website and publications. Because HuntersvilleWorks has become a connector for our residents, we have developed the application to be utilized for other chambers of commerce. For example, Union County, N.C. is now utilizing the application as UnionCountyWorks.com and has launched with great acclaim.
We created the Job Hubbub platform to be the new way communities link job applicants to open, local positions. In a world of unlimited budgets, we would have launched an advertising campaign to encourage people to shorten their commutes and work where they live. Nevertheless, we are seeing a positive response to this new way of connecting, and offering this amenity has helped us attract new members. We would love to share the same application with any interested chamber. With potential for banner ads and paid chat features, it can quickly pay for itself!
Encouraging Entrepreneurship in High School
This post was authored by Danielle Britton, Talent and Education Director, Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.
The Greater Binghamton Scholastic Challenge is an annual event in Binghamton, NY that brings together innovative minds of high school students and local businesses in a unique way. Founded by Modern Marketing & Commerce, GBSC gives high school students the opportunity to develop ideas and businesses that directly impact our community, all while competing for a chance to win scholarship money and internships.
The Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce and MMC partner to provide students with business connections and an inspiring final event. On Tuesday, May 21, MMC held its 10th annual Greater Binghamton Scholastic Challenge at Binghamton University in partnership with GBEOP. There were over 50 teams from 8 different local high schools who worked all year on the perfect business plan to showcase at the event.
Students worked with their teachers and business mentors to develop business ideas, create award-winning business plans and hone presentation skills. While given the choice to work individually or in teams, students were strongly encouraged to work together to learn communication and people skills. As part of the competition, the student or group was required to provide a professional tradeshow booth and business idea pitch. Local entrepreneurs and business leaders could then mentor or judge their business plans, which provided great connections and networking opportunities for the students.
To see a video from the 2019 Scholastic Challenge, click here.
The New Strategy for Afterschool
Over the past few years, chambers have increasingly focused on using afterschool as a strategy for career awareness and to decrease the skills gap in their communities. Afterschool has traditionally been used as time to do homework before parents get out of work, but it can be so much more. Afterschool can be the time when students are exposed to career opportunities, learn in demand skills and apply what they learned in the classroom to real life scenarios.
Chambers that have seen the potential of afterschool as a talent strategy are capitalizing on their investment in the workforce of tomorrow. Greater Spokane Inc, is taking advantage of afterschool opportunities to raise awareness of STEM possibilities and continue education past the bell. Check out the webinar featuring the Greater Spokane Inc’s work here. The Casper Area Chamber offers afterschool programming to improve students’ soft skills. Whether your chamber provides direct programming or supports other existing programs, there are many helpful resources at your disposal.
If you are considering your next steps for developing deeper partnership in the afterschool space, you may find ACCE’s afterschool partnership model helpful. This model illustrates how chambers can evolve a new partnership into a mature, effective collaboration. You can find other helpful resources on the Afterschool STEM Chamberpedia page.
Linda Barton of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance, Erin Helms of the Casper Area Chamber, and Elissa Ruckle of Elevate Wyoming presented a webinar titled How Afterschool Can Shape Your STEM Workforce. This webinar also included perspectives from aftershool experts Ron Ottinger from the STEM Next Opportunity Fund and Kari Pardoe of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
Do you use afterschool as part of your career awareness and closing the skill gap strategy? We would love to hear from you. Email Amy Shields (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know what you are doing.
Investing in Work-Based Learning and Our Future
This post was authored by Amanda Beights, Vice President of the Leadership Collier Foundation.
The mission of the Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, is to build a broad-based network of engaged community leaders. The foundation accomplishes this through its well-recognized leadership programs and talent development initiatives.
Cultivating Student Leaders & Developing Our Workforce
For more than 15 years, Youth Leadership Collier (YLC), the foundation’s program designed for students between their junior and senior years of high school, has empowered over 500 local graduates to become effective community leaders. The week-long program teaches leadership skills and personal development through hands-on experiences and eye-opening industry tours.
We also often hear from the local business community about their frustrations with talent development in our area which led our leadership to define workforce development needs to be a top policy priority for the Naples Chamber. Knowing the impact Youth Leadership Collier has made and the Chamber’s investment in connecting education and business, we realized the potential to develop similar work-based learning experiences for all local students.
Connecting Students to Professional Opportunities
Our focus is connecting students and businesses to internship opportunities, mentoring prospects, shadow days, industry fairs, networking events, work-site tours and in-school career programming. Over the past two years – through partnerships with our public and private high-schools, higher-education institutions and nonprofit organizations – we’ve paired thousands of students with successful work-based learning opportunities.
For example, one of the main draws of Youth Leadership Collier is the opportunity to get behind-the-scenes tours of local businesses. Expanding on that idea and the needs of our community, our team has set up site-tours with local manufacturing facilities to introduce up-and-coming talent to potential new career pathways.
We also host Mentor Mingle opportunities designed specifically for high school and college students to network with local business professionals. This gives students the opportunity to practice their soft-skills and develop relationships with community members out of their immediate circle.
The benefits for students, businesses and the community are extensive. Students enjoy applying what they learn in the classroom to the real-world and establish professional contacts for future employment. Employers gain access to a pool of skilled future employees and find opportunities to pursue new projects with student assistance. The community benefits because we have created an environment of collaboration, cooperation and respect for all involved. Work-based learning is a win for everyone.
Over the last year, our director of work-based learning has served as a resource to students and employers. Taking the time to nurture future talent from our educational institutions and informing employers on the value of hiring an intern.
More Resources to Come
Southwest Florida can expect a lot from the Greater Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation in the future.
Our team is going beyond the traditional methods and encouraging students to think differently about careers in Collier County and pathways to prosperity. We are here to support all by serving as a leader and partner in the connection to business, education and talent development in Collier County. Our goal is to create economic opportunity for all and motivate our future leaders to better our community and their lives for years to come.
Creating a Workforce Readiness Institute for Educators
This post was authored by Stephanie Newland, Vice President, Workforce Readiness, Shoals Chamber of Commerce.
Students ask, “Why do I need to know this?” and “When will I ever use this again?” Do educators really know? They may know about doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers and teachers, but what about machinists, CNC operators, multi-craft maintenance and so many other technical professionals who have high-demand, high-skill, high-paying careers? Would they know to advise their students to consider these jobs? Most likely not. Hence, our nation’s current skills gap!
We never discourage anyone from getting as much education as they desire or need to reach their goals, but we have found that many students do not know enough about technical careers to choose them as a goal. We want students to marry their interests and passions with available career opportunities and get as much training and skills in those areas as they can. We encourage all students (directly and through their teachers) to gain a marketable skill and preferably to earn certification(s) in high school.
We believe students should learn how to do something that employers will value and which will benefit their ultimate educational and career goals. If they are not financially able or choose not to go directly to college, they can still make a living. Then, maybe their employer will pay for their continued education. If not, they can still save for school, or work through school and have less, or possibly no, student loan debt. It is simply a win-win to have a marketable skill no matter what you plan to do after high school.
Since 2008, the Shoals Chamber of Commerce has hosted a summer program now called Workforce Readiness Institute for Educators. During this program, 25 – 30 regional educators (classroom teachers, counselor, administrators, youth workers, etc.) spend seven days touring local industry and the technical programs at Northwest-Shoals Community College, learning how the academics they teach in the classroom tie into jobs in business and industry.
Our target audience is middle and high school math and science teachers and counselors, but if we have space, we accept any interested educators. At the conclusion, they write career-related lesson plans, so students better understand the “why” and “when” of what they are learning. We then provide links to the lesson plans from our chamber’s Education/Workforce webpage and invite other educators to use them, which increases the ROI for the program. Those not on contract during the summer are paid a modest stipend ($75/day), which is funded by grants, sponsorships and donations. Participants are also eligible to receive professional development credit, both CEUs / Contact Hours for classroom teachers and a state-approved PLU for administrators.
Businesses who participate love sharing their workforce needs and challenges with the educators. Educators are amazed at all the businesses they never realized were even in the area, on “that street” they had never ventured down, as well as the great career opportunities for so many of their students who may not be interested in a 4-year degree … at least not yet. They learn how their math, science and English concepts are used daily within these businesses. They also see how important soft skills are, such as taking responsibility and pride in your work, being on time, critical thinking, teamwork and respecting others. They usually rank the WRI among the best, most relevant professional development opportunities they have ever encountered.
We are encouraging those at the state level to implement this type of program at colleges of education so student teachers will have a better understanding of the end result of the academics and skills they teach before they ever enter the classroom. An educator's goal should not only be to get students from Math A to Math B, but to make sure their students have a working understanding of how Math A can be used someday in various careers and why it is important that they can use it in the real world.
Did you know that making upgrades to your community’s environment can improve the health outcomes of your community? Your chamber or community may have added sidewalks, created pedestrian-only downtown spaces or host a local farmer’s market every weekend. Placemaking has traditionally been seen as an economic development strategy, but it also can be a community health strategy. No matter how your chamber implements placemaking, one thing is for sure; it makes your community the place to be.
The Billings Chamber (Mont.) is intentional about using placemaking as an avenue for better health outcomes in the community. Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Reiser CCE, IOM says, “Healthy placemaking means making the healthy choice the easy choice by being intentional about considering health when developing policies and systems.”
The Billings Chamber put this into action through their Trails Initiative. The chamber led the task force that increased and connected trails in the community. Billings went from having 15 miles of trails to 40 miles. Jennifer shares, “By including opportunities for physical activity and movement, we can also increase opportunities for social connectedness, thus affecting both the physical and mental health of our employees. We are encouraging our employers to use healthy placemaking as a tool for employee engagement and workforce development.”
If you are interested in learning more about healthy placemaking, the Inclusive Healthy Placemaking Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a helpful place to start. Below is a summary table from the Inclusive Healthy Placemaking Report on how to incorporate healthy placemaking in your community.
Public SpaceNeighborhood City Regional/National
Do you have healthy placemaking stories to share? We would love to hear from you. Email Emily Counts (email@example.com) to let us know what you are doing.
ACCE's 2019 40 Under 40
Emerging Leaders Shaping the Chamber Industry
ACCE is dedicated to recognizing and supporting the most talented professionals in the chamber industry. This new annual recognition program showcases 40 of the industry's best emerging leaders who have demonstrated success in their careers and made significant contributions in the communities they serve. The list includes CEOs and staff professionals from a wide variety of roles and chamber sizes. Their creativity, dedication and commitment to identifying innovative solutions will help shape the future of the chamber profession.
2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows
Abby Osborne, Salt Lake Chamber
Alesha Washington, Greater Cleveland Partnership
Alisha Benson, IOM, Greater Spokane Inc.
Allen Smith, CCE, Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce
Allison B. Walden, CFRE, IOM, Tulsa Regional Chamber
Amber Mooney, The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
Andy Johnston, IOM, Grand Rapids Chamber
Beth A. Bowman, CCE, IOM, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
Celia Richa, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Christie Rogers, CMP, NKY Chamber
Corey Atkins, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
David Pruente, IOM, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Ellen Cutter, Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Erin Aylor, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Erin Erkins, Boise Metro Chamber
Heather Valudes, Lancaster Chamber
James Reddish, CEcD, Little Rock Regional Chamber
Jessica Verderame, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Welch, IOM, Greater Irvine Chamber
Joe Murphy, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Jonathan Long, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
Joshua Gunn, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
Juliet Abdel, IOM, Westminster Chamber of Commerce
Kate Bates, Arlington Chamber of Commerce
Kate Lufkin, Kalispell Chamber of Commerce
Kelle Marsalis, CCE, IOM, Plano Chamber of Commerce
Kristin Craig, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce
LaKendria Robinson, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
Lindsay Henderson, Conway Area Chamber of Commerce
Lindsay M. Keisler, IOM, CCEC, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Hermes, CCE, IOM, McKinney Chamber of Commerce
Mark Fisher, Indy Chamber
Paul Rumler, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
Sara Swisher, IOM, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, Greater Louisville Inc.
Sarah Moylan, Greater Omaha Chamber
Savannah Whitehead, Edmond Chamber of Commerce
Sherry Taylor, Mason Deerfield Chamber
Simone Thornton-Salley, IOM, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
Tim Giuliani, CCE, Orlando Economic Partnership
Applications for the next class of 40 Under 40 will be available in March of 2020 here.
Attracting Summer Talent to Rockport-Fulton
Rockport-Fulton is rising with a positive and quick recovery after Hurricane Harvey’s eye hovered over that community for more than 13-hours just 20 months ago. Employers of the Rockport-Fulton needed workers to fill positions in their community.
For the summer 2019, the Chamber ran a campaign called Build Your Resume at the Beach. Using their website, social media and other collateral, the Chamber encouraged job-seekers to apply for summer jobs on the coast. Job types include hotel staff, waiters, waitresses, breakfast clerks, cooks, general managers, massage therapists, landscapers, etc. A full chart of available jobs can be accessed through the link above.
“We are recovering at an impressive pace and are having a great summer. Our employers need to bring on more staff. We are encouraging anyone interested in summer jobs on the coast to get in touch with our employers,” said Diane Probst, President/CEO of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber thought this campaign would be attractive to young adults wanting to build their resume while still enjoying a great summer locale. Rockport-Fulton is surrounded by water on three sides, there is a mile-long beach, tons of outdoor recreation and lots of opportunities. In a tight labor market, finding new ways to sell your location to potential employees is important.
The Chamber provided both job listings and a listing of available housing on its campaign webpage. Interested candidates could then reach out directly to employers to set up interviews. Once they secured a job, they were able to easily find a place to stay for the summer. “It’s a great way to get some experience and help our employers get some relief at the same time,” said Probst.
For more information, visit Rockport-Fulton.org or call 1-800-242-0071 or 361-729-6445.
About the Chamber
The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is a 5-star Chamber as recognized by the US Chamber of Commerce. The mission is to work in partnership with businesses, individuals and governmental entities to promote commerce and tourism while maintaining the environment. The Chamber works very closely with small businesses. It is PLANE-ly focused on promotion, leadership, advocacy, networking and the economy.
ACCE 2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows Announced
ACCE is proud to announce the sixth cohort of Education and Talent Development Fellows. The Fellowship for Education & Talent Development is a workforce and education incubator that provides chamber of commerce professionals the opportunity to interact with peers, ACCE staff and national experts. This is accomplished through a combination of in-person and virtual activities where fellows delve into cutting-edge theories, approaches and best practices in talent development. This year, 21 fellows have been selected amongst a national pool of applicants to represent communities all over the country.
Commenting on this year’s class, ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly said, “The new cohort of fellows is a thoughtful, experienced and knowledgeable group with a broad range of perspectives. With the creativity and energy they give their organizations, we are delighted to offer a program where these professionals can expand their portfolios and evolve their already impressive community initiatives. This class represents some of the foremost leaders in the chamber industry, and the impact they will have on their communities, as a result of their determination, will be immeasurable.”
ACCE’s Fellowship for Education and Talent Development is designed to inspire tangible and attainable talent development goals to be implemented in participants’ communities. The program will begin in September with the first in-person meeting shortly after in October.
2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows
Adrian Hale, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce (N.Y.)
Alex Greiwe, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce (Mo.)
Alexa Kramer, Grand Rapids Chamber (Mich.)
Christopher McDermott, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce (Mass.)
Corey Hutcherson, Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce (N.C.)
Cynthia Bennett, Newnan-Coweta Chamber (Ga.)
Cynthia Lyon, The Business Council of Fairfield County (Conn.)
Danielle Permenter, Orlando Economic Partnership (Fla.)
Dean Blinkhorn, Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (Fla.)
Georgina Chapman, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber (Ala.)
Karen Fox, Capital Region Chamber (N.Y.)
Kayla Rombalski, Portage County Business Council (Wis.)
Kimberly Vegliante, Greater Phoenix Chamber (Ariz.)
Laurie Radke, Greater Green Bay Chamber (Wis.)
Lindsay Keisler, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce (N.C.)
Lisa Hermes, McKinney Chamber of Commerce (Texas)
Norma Ritz Johnson,Lubbock Chamber of Commerce (Texas)
Sondra Howell, Greater Memphis Chamber (Tenn.)
Steve Cox, Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce (Ark.)
Sully Pinos, York County Economic Alliance (Pa.)
Travis Groth, Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance (Tenn.)
Chairmanís Award Presented at #ACCE19
At the ACCE Annual Convention in Long Beach, Immediate Past Board Chair Nancy Keefer, CCE, presented the 2019 Chairman’s Award to Jay Chesshir, CCE, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. The award is given annually to an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to the betterment of the chamber profession. In Keefer’s remarks, she commended Chesshir for “going beyond the call of duty, not only by leading the association in the very special role of Chairman for one year, but [he] took on a second year when our CEO transition occurred...”.
Chesshir served two consecutive one-year terms as ACCE board chair from 2016-2018.