Student Workforce Training Programs, Social Media Helps Chambers Stay Innovative

What is your chamber doing to be innovative and embrace change?

Jim Johnson
Georgetown (TX) Chamber

Through a partnership with a regional workforce organization, we have been able to establish an innovative program for our districts teachers.

As Opposed to the traditional model of students interning at businesses, teachers in our district spend three days during the summer in a program called “teacher externships.” Each teacher is assigned a local business based on their curriculum. The outcome is a better understanding of the workforce needs of our industries, and allows our teachers to incorporate their experience into their teaching models and assists in the STEM-based education of the students. The businesses benefit because they can explain their talent needs directly to those who are educating our workforce.

Kami Welch
Arvada (CO) Chamber

The Arvada Chamber committed to being a problem solver for our businesses. We recently surveyed our membership on the most critical challenges that they are facing and are using this data to evolve the role that we play within our community and beyond. We are thinking in nontraditional ways about how we can provide value specifically geared at pain points including workforce, health care coverage, capital funding, employee retention and more. This new and improved role in our community is expanding our opportunities to serve a diverse business demographic with better engagement and retention.

Brian Owen
Seaside (OR) Chamber

The Seaside Chamber looks for many ways to continue to be innovative and relevant in today’s marketplace.

One opportunity in our community was to help identify and develop a program to connect local students with our business community through a paid professional internship program. The main goals within the program are to build community, economic development, promote local opportunities and retain local talent. This program helps students with building interview skills, introduces interns to local opportunities, and exposes students to real life workforce opportunities.

Jim Luttjohann
Catalina Island (CA) Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau

Innovation and change at the Catalina Island Chamber is probably most evident in our use of blogs, online itineraries and social media.

Based on a calendar of events and seasonality of travel, we craft two blogs per month, create a graphic with headline text and post them on our website. Each blog has links to content on our site or within a member’s listing. Subjects are called out for “authority” with titles like: How to Get to Catalina Island or 15 Things You Always Wanted to know About Catalina But Forgot to Ask.

The graphics are shared in social media with a Bitly link to the blog. We also incorporate links to blogs in appropriate e-blasts to subscribers.

Marketing to key personas using itineraries is also an innovative way to continually place new content online and drive visitation to the island. For example, family travel is marketed under an umbrella of “Kidalina” and audiences are targeted from spring break through end of summer.

All of these efforts combined raise our site traffic and increase our “authority” as the definitive Catalina Island travel resource, which means organic ranking will be higher for our site.

Gina Fitzpatrick
Paso Robles (CA) Chamber

As we strive to promote innovation and embrace change, our economic development committee has streamlined the process for businesses interested in starting, expanding, or relocating a business. The Paso Robles recently announced the formation of the Business Entrepreneurial Success Team or BEST. When most people go straight to the internet, obtaining generic information, BEST offers unique resources for the specific needs of the business. This resource includes a diversified team of local professionals and business owners offering to strategically meet as a group to work through the process all at once. Our customized team is eager to help by giving advice and direction as well as assist in building a network.