In Your Corner: Closing the Skills Gap

I’m sure many of you have read about or perhaps have experienced that there is a skills gap in Flint and Genesee County and throughout the state. Employers have open positions but cannot find employees with the necessary skills. And in fact, many job seekers recognize that they need more education or training to get the jobs that they want. While the skills gap is not new, it is growing, and it will continue to impact our economy and our standard of living if it is not addressed.

At the state level, Governor Rick Snyder cited this issue as one of his top priorities for his second term. Since then, he has created the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, a new organization that will align more state job seekers with careers, and puts job training and economic development efforts under one department. Also, the governor has asked Michigan legislators for a 75 percent boost in funding for skilled trades training and career technical education with a goal to help fuel Michigan’s economy.

Both moves are timely to our efforts to help close the skills gap in Flint & Genesee, and create a climate that fosters job growth and a talent base with 21st century skills.

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TeenQuest Awarded $20,000 Donation

The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce TeenQuest program has received $20,000 donation from AT&T.

The contribution, offered through the AT&T Aspire Program, helps support the integration of the TeenQuest program into high schools where the Chamber’s YouthQuest program is offered.

“The AT&T funding helps us to not only blend the two programs together, but also helps to enhance teens’ experiences, exposing them to emerging fields, local skills gaps, in-demand jobs, training resources, and college and vocational preparation that guides them on a pathway to employment,” said Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education and Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber, which administers the TeenQuest and YouthQuest programs.

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2015 Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit

Pure Michigan Business Connect, in partnership with Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, will host the second annual Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit on March 19 at the DeVos Center, 303 Monroe Ave. Northwest, in Grand Rapids.

This year’s participating purchasers include:  Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers, Busch’s Fresh Food Market, Cherry Capital Foods, Fortune Fish Company, Garden Fresh Gourmet, Heeren Brothers, Lipari, Kroger, Marquette Food Cooperative, Michigan International Speedway, Meijer, Metro Health Hospital, Pearson Foods, Plumbs Supermarkets, SpartanNash, University of Michigan, The Henry Ford, Walmart, Whole Foods and more.

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Flint & Genesee Chamber, eTEAM Host Jumpstart Entrepreneur Conference

Entrepreneurs and small business owners can gain the knowledge and resources needed to start a business during the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce eTEAM’s eighth annual Jumpstart Conference.  The conference, which takes place on Thursday, February 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre, features workshops and an awards luncheon. Chemical Bank will serve as the event’s corporate sponsor.

Mark Rice, President of Loving Hands Adult and Senior Care Services, will be the keynote speaker.  Loving Hands is a rapidly growing company that provides Home Health Care, Private Duty Home Care, and Adult Day Care services throughout Michigan.

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Economic Development Team Helps Businesses Meet Project and Performance Goals

The Economic Development Team at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce works year-round to enhance the economy and bolster the quality of life in Flint and Genesee.  It does so by working to facilitate the progress and performance goals of local businesses whose sales outside the area and value-add processes have a significant impact on the community.

A local company may be just beginning to ask if it makes sense to invest in a new market or review its short-term or long-term human resources needs.  Alternatively, a business may be farther along in its growth strategy but needs some guidance in identifying financial resources.

That is where the Flint & Genesee Chamber can help members and non-members alike grow with an array of free business development services. Understanding a company’s operations is a key step in enabling the Chamber to deliver these value-added services.  The process starts with an exploratory meeting to gain a deeper understanding of the business and the company’s goals and objectives for a venture.  From there, the Chamber’s Economic Development Team goes to work assembling the right toolkit for the project.

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Shared Services Leadership Alliance Graduates Second Class

The number of alumni of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce Shared Services Leadership Alliance increased by eight members on January 23, as a second class of students earned the distinction of “Shared Service Architect.”

It is the second graduating class of the two-year-old program that provides individuals with training in a variety of areas to improve the operational proficiency of public-sector organizations in the region. Participants attain the knowledge and skills to develop, initiate and sustain collaborative and shared service projects. The six-month program includes one full-day session and a one-hour coaching session per month.

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New Members: February 2015

To become a member, contact Heather Kale at or (810) 600-1427 or DeAndra McCain at or (810) 600-1408.

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Baker College Teacher Preparation Program Earns National Accreditation

The Baker College of Flint teacher preparation program has earned national initial accreditation for five years by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This endorsement is based on principles set by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) that support the preparation of competent, caring and qualified professional educators.

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4 Business & Leadership Reads

Check out these articles that may prove helpful as you run your business, provide leadership tips and strategies or spur creativity in your organization. The articles were selected from a variety of publications and websites such as FortuneInc.Fast CompanyNew York Times and Wall Street Journal.

We hope you find these links informative. Let us know what you think!

How One Simple Change Can Make You a Better Listener

Don’t Waste Those 30-Minute Gaps Between Meetings

Women shouldn’t have to lead like men to be successful

5 Classic Business Lessons From the 2015 Super Bowl

In Your Corner: It Takes a Village

Tim Herman, CEO

Tim Herman, CEO

Good day, FGCC members. I hope business is going well.

In this week’s column, I want to talk about something that is weighing on my mind. It’s an ongoing issue that frustrates me to no end. It’s the negativity and misinformed viewpoints about Flint & Genesee.

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