Talent Retention Community Development
Columbus, GA is a world-class municipality. We are nestled in the beautiful natural environment of the Chattahoochee Valley. We have a wide range of educational options for our children. We have a thriving economy. We’ve got big city dreams to match our small town charm.
We know it.
So, our job here at the Chamber of Commerce is make sure everyone else knows it, too. Our focus on talent retention and community development is one of the most important, forward-thinking projects we have taken on. Over the years, Columbus has continually produced great minds, skilled workers, and talented artists who have gone on to accomplish great things. It is our duty to incentivize our best and brightest to buy into Columbus, to stay here and put their shoulder to the wheel of progress.
The Young Professionals Program is an example of the Chamber being pro-active in this area. Recruiting and retaining young professionals in the region will be a key in our continued growth and development. Already over 200 people and nearly 100 companies are actively participated in a myriad of activities designed to focus on talent retention and recruitment. We will become a national model of choice for Young Professionals.
1. Quick Start Training, Jamie Loyd @ Columbus Technical College
Through a collaboration of Columbus Technical College, Georgia Quick Start, and the Chamber, qualified local (Georgia) companies have access to free customized workforce training. This program is one of the state’s key assets for supporting new and expanding industries.
The best way to encourage new industries to put down roots in the region, as well as facilitate the further expansion of existing businesses, is to foster an environment of enlightenment. That’s why the Columbus Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with Columbus Technical College to bring Quick Start to local businesses.
Quick Start is an initiative that provides custom-tailored training designed to produce the knowledge and skill sets required of entry level employees for a wide array of companies, from manufacturers and distribution centers to corporate headquarters and customer service operations.
And the best part is that if your business qualifies for this service, you can benefit from Quick Start at no charge. A great reason to join the chamber and save money. The Chamber’s Workforce Department helps to coordinate whatever is needed to meet the workforce needs of existing and new companies.
2. Work Ready Certification, Sue Hall @ Eastman Kodak Company
Communities awarded Work Ready certification have a competitive advantage over non-certified communities because they can quantify an available skilled workforce to an existing employer or a new business considering Columbus as a new location. During the recent expansion at Kodak Columbus, we recognized applicants with Georgia Work Ready certificates, and also incented current team members to earn Work Ready certificates through a grant opportunity we learned about during a Chamber Eye Opener Breakfast Program. Thank you, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, for actively supporting the effort to achieve recognition in the Chattahoochee Valley as a Work Ready Certified Community and a Work Ready Region for Advanced Manufacturing. Georgia Work Ready is clearly a great regional workforce and economic development tool!
Every company aims to hire and retain the most skilled workers. That has also been the case at the city and state level since the advent of Georgia Work Ready, an initiative that seeks to improve the job training and marketability of the state’s workforce at the municipal level.
Through a rigorous skills assessment and certification, Georgia Work Ready identifies the available skills of Georgia’s workforce and directs them towards the most pressing needs of local businesses.
The Columbus Chamber of Commerce will help you use that information to ensure your business finds the proper people for the proper jobs.
3. Lean Six Sigma, Coy Nichols @ Colormac
The Chamber has been an important partner for us and was instrumental in Kodak’s decision to build a new plant in Columbus in 1990. Most recently, we partnered with the Chamber with their Continuous Improvement Academy (CIA) which involves Lean Six Sigma experts within the region collaborating to assist businesses in improving, networking, and sharing best practices. We look forward to a continued collaborative efforts to improve quality.
Originally a procedure that sought to improve manufacturing processes by eliminating the glitches that cause a system to fall short of customer expectations, Six Sigma has become synonymous with a sound and self-regulating business management model. If a company is Six Sigma certified, clients can rest easy that their best interests are foremost in mind.
As a member of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, your company can benefit from Six Sigma’s disciplined approach for improving quantifiable results for any business through completion of leadership-sponsored projects. The Chamber coordinates a focused effort, working with existing business to identify costs savings and systems to bring about efficiencies. We all know perfection is impossible to achieve, but with Six Sigma certified businesses, that doesn’t stop management from trying. Another direct benefit worth thousands of dollars if purchased on the open market.
4. Dual Enrollment, Amy Giglio @ Aflac
Today, more than 560 Aflac employees have taken part in the Certified Life and Health Insurance Specialist program (CLHIS). Candidates are hired and attend a three-week training course at Columbus Technical College. These employees receive college credit for the class and have the opportunity to be certified. Once complete the employee continues with several weeks of Aflac-specific training. This partnership has not only accelerated the rate it takes to train a new employee, but has also reduced expenses and helped provide quality employees for Aflac.
To land that dream job, you’re going to need a good education. To reach the next rung on the corporate ladder, you’re going to need experience. To be a leader in the business world of tomorrow, you’re going to need both. And fast.
In this competitive job market, it is imperative to get a head start. That’s why the Columbus Chamber of Commerce is proud to co-sponsor with participating schools systems, a Dual Enrollment initiative with participating local high schools, colleges, and universities. There is currently one underway at Pratt & Whitney for example.
Qualified seniors and juniors can earn college credits while gaining real-world business experience that will not only further their education, but help guide them toward a career that best suits their abilities. It’s never too early to get a head start on the future, and with Dual Enrollment the Chamber is building an experienced workforce from the ground up.
5. Young Professionals, Carla Plazas @ New Life Tanning Centers
Columbus Young Professionals has introduced me to influential people that I might otherwise not have met. It has developed into more than a basic networking group for many of us, becoming more of a support system both professionally and socially for all of us next generation leaders trying to establish ourselves.
In business, the positions seldom change. There will always be leaders. What is destined to change with every calendar year are the people who fill those positions, who assumes the mantle of leadership. Through the Young Professionals of Greater Columbus Georgia, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce is actively helping to mentor the next generation who will take our city and state into the next age.
Georgia, The Columbus Chamber of Commerce is actively helping to mentor the next generation who will take our city’s industry into the next age.
Through networking, Community Engagement, Political Awareness & Engagement, and Leadership Development, Young Professionals is proving that not only is Columbus willing to invest in its remarkable pool of young talent, it is banking on them to be the future leaders of the community.
6. Partners In Education (PIE), Melissa Wilks @ Wynnton Arts Academy
I work to better the lives of children everyday through teaching. The community works to better their lives through Partners In Education. The Chamber has created a way for business and community leaders to impact our youth and, in turn, the future of Columbus.
When it comes to community development, the single most important factor to focus on is education. Few facets in a person’s upbringing prepare them for entering the workforce more than a good education.
Since 1987, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce has worked tirelessly hand-in-hand with the surrounding school districts to advance standards of education by facilitating meaningful and long-term business and community participation in public schools.
Last school year, the Chamber recorded over 59,248 volunteer hours and $291,149 of financial contributions to our various school partners thanks to PIE.
By establishing partnerships with local businesses, organizations, churches, military units, and civic clubs, our public and private school students have access to all necessary resources, are provided world-class instructive programming, and are acknowledged for their achievements. These partnerships not only benefit the students. They also offer school staff educational opportunities and recognition for their work in shaping the minds that will invent the future.
7. Leadership Development Opportunities, Jeff Hampton @ TSYS
Strength of leadership is a key to the long-term success of both businesses and communities. The Leadership Columbus program educates, develops, and engages future leaders in identifying and resolving community challenges. These leaders return to their businesses with increased skills, knowledge, and networks to resolve business and community issues. I am proud to be a part of Leadership Columbus and an alumni. I’m also proud that our Chamber supports and provides this program. It is an asset to our community and to our future.
The Chamber has staff that is directly involved with establishing, guiding and managing leadership programs including: Youth Leadership, Leaderhsip Columbus, Leadership Columbus Alumnni and Leadership Fort Benning.
Almost since the birth of our city, the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce was worked shoulder to shoulder with our community leaders to help realize our region’s potential. But since 1980, the Chamber has gone a step further, becoming actively involved in forging the leaders of tomorrow. The Chamber has staff that is directly involved with establishing, guiding and managing leadership programs including: Youth Leadership, Leaderhsip Columbus, Leadership Columbus Alumnni and Leadership Fort Benning.
For example, take our Leadership Columbus initiative. Up to 40 people are chosen annually from the Columbus region, representing every race, gender, and background. These participants enhance their leadership skills and gain an awareness of the community through a series of one-day sessions, August through June on topics as far ranging as education, health care, city and state government, utilities, transportation, military, public safety quality of life, and economic development. The only way to guarantee that the future meets our ideals and expectations is to lead the way ourselves. Join the Chamber today and help us shape tomorrow.
Also, a new program known as ACCESS COLUMBUS is being started which will add another element of leadership development for people moving to the area. Perhaps leadership development is one of the most important requirements for the region.