What Chambers Are Doing Around the West

This month we are featuring our 2022 Outstanding Chamber Program Award winners. Copies of their award submissions can be found in the Resource Library under the section titled Outstanding Chamber Program Award Winners.

B.O.L.D. Arvada

This five-year strategic initiative was designed by the Arvada (CO) Chamber to lead and solve critical challenges facing business in their community, with efforts to improve and advance talent availability, housing and child care, and strengthen the local business environment. Through annual pledges over five years, the chamber raised more than $2.5 million.

In their application, Kami Welch, ACE, explained: “We hope that we have debunked the myth that only “big” chambers can fund their mission and brand purpose to drive outcomes for the future health of their economy.”

To learn more about their process and the initiative, visit www.arvadachamber.org/bold2026/.

Upskill Chino Valley

Chino Valley (CA) Chamber developed a seven-year program that focuses on economic development, entrepreneur development, leadership development, and workforce development. The chamber has received more than $2.3 million, which has allowed them to hire five new staff members, including a workforce manager, community engagement specialist and a youth program coordinator. They’ve placed more than 100 people into new careers for local businesses and supported 20 young entrepreneurs in starting new business. They also have hosted a dozen roundtables, four job fairs and started the Chino Valley Leadership Collaborative.

To learn more about the program, visit www.chinovalleychamber.com/upskillchinovalley/.

Irvine Gateway

Irvine Gateway was conceived by the Greater Irvine (CA) Chamber as a way to attract and provide a soft landing for companies to expand in Irvine. They identified areas in and beyond the United States that were the best match resembling their industry sector strengths for targeted outreach. The program includes 80 subject matter experts offering up to two hours of pro bono consulting to help companies navigate expansion to Irvine. The program has had connections with groups and individuals from Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom, Romania and Korea.

Visit www.greaterirvinechamber.com for more info.

Child Care Initiative — Discover Kalispell (MT) Chamber

Realizing that the reality of the child care situation in their area was that it cost less to send a child to Montana State or University of Montana than to pay for child care, the Discover Kalispell (MT) Chamber proceeded to build the business case for affordable quality accessible child care. The chamber raised $30,000 (10 businesses each giving $3,000) to hire a consultant to do an assessment, design a process and build an action plan. The plan included forming four action teams to handle outreach and advocacy, facilities, home child care, and scholarships for early education studies. They identified pre-COVID operators and enticed them back into operation. They are working with the school district and Immanuel Lutheran Communities to open new facilities. As a result, Kalispell will have more than 500 additional child care openings within the next two years. To download their full call to action document, visit kalispellchamber.com.

Eagle Valley Transportation Authority

The Vail Valley (CO) Partnership (VVP) led the charge for the formation of a regional transportation authority — a valley-wide transit system — that was seen as a necessary element in the county’s evolution into a year-round community and world renowned visitor destination. Raising $30,000, the VVP managed the ballot measure issue, handled marketing and advertising on behalf of the YES on Eagle Valley Transit effort, which voters in seven communities in the Valley voted to approve on the November ballot.

To learn more, visit heaglevalleyrta.org/eagle-valley-rta or contact Chris Romer to discuss the effort.

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Information featured each month in Around the West is taken from chamber newsletters and websites that W.A.C.E. receives from its members. We try to share best practices, innovative ideas and programs from chambers working hard to be Catalysts, Conveners and Champions and make a difference in their community. Make sure to subscribe W.A.C.E. to your mailing list, if you haven’t done so already, and you may be featured in a future Insider!

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