What Chambers Are Doing Around the West

Great Falls Chamber Program Addresses Workforce Needs

After multiple community attempts at addressing workforce development and talent pipeline issues in their area, the Great Falls Area (MT) Chamber saw an opportunity to fill the need. The chamber hired a workforce development director and convened a group of 24 educators and business leaders to spend several days at the West Alabama Chamber to study their acclaimed program.

From this informative trip, the chamber joined with educational partners, service partners, local legislators and industry partners to create Central Montana Works!

Their strategic plan includes a five-year vision as well as identifying six focus areas. The goal is to prepare students for the future, upskill and reskill the existing workforce, and inspire dislocated and at-risk individuals to re-enter the workforce — all while meeting critical hiring needs for business and industry.

You can learn more about the efforts included in Central Montana Works at centralmontanaworks.org/.

Healdsburg Chamber Unifies with Tourism Improvement District

Seeing that the rapid and successful growth of tourism in their area had created tension with some residents and local businesses, the Healdsburg (CA) Chamber sought to create a united voice for Healdsburg to flourish.

The unification involved the chamber stepping up to manage the Tourism Improvement District with a 10-year management plan approved by the City Council. With the plan, the chamber board will now have a specified number of board members from the hotel industry.

The money received as a part of the management agreement allows the chamber to hire one full-time staff member to manage the destination tourism budget. It has allowed marketing dollars to go further because the two groups are no longer running competing ad campaigns or having duplicate websites.

Find out more about the TID at www.healdsburg.com/htid/. The Healdsburg Chamber believes tourism is business and together both entities are economic drivers for the area.

Mount Vernon Engages Latino Businesses Leaders

The Mount Vernon (WA) Chamber recognized that there was a lack of resources available to Latino businesses and start-ups and that the business community was having trouble connecting with the rising Hispanic population and emerging Latino communities.

To address this issue and increase diversity efforts, the chamber created the Latino Business Leaders program. The program includes monthly training sessions in Spanish, two successful networking events to convene and connect, and one-on-one consultations with SCORE.

The program has had 240 participants and has resulted in an increase in membership with not only new Latino-owned businesses, but also those who want to support the chamber’s diversity efforts.

Find details, photos and more at www.mountvernonchamber.com/latino-business-leaders/.

Arvada Chamber Inspires Women

The Arvada (CO) Chamber introduced the Inspiring Women networking group to provide a platform for women in the chamber to support one another professionally and personally in a safe and intimate setting.

The group is not industry-specific and welcomes women from all ages and career levels. The group holds bimonthly in-person meetings, a Facebook group and pop-up events. The group also inspired the Chamber’s Badass Women of Arvada campaign, which allows the community to nominate women leaders to spotlight in March as a part of Women’s History Month.

The group has proven to be successful and is the healthiest and most active networking group within the chamber.

Want to know more? Visit www.arvadachamber.org/inspiringwomen/.

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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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