Preparing the Workforce of the Future
At our June Wake Up West Coast Breakfast, the hot topic was talent development. It’s no secret that employers across industries are finding it more and more difficult to fill employment vacancies, and educational institutions are actively developing programs to match the skills needed for future careers. Following breakfast, members of the Chamber’s Manufacturers Affinity Group met with representatives from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD), Muskegon Community College and Grand Rapids Community College to discuss strategies for increasing student awareness of future career opportunities, and of the pathways to success. It was the first of many discussions, and the Chamber looks forward to facilitating strategic and productive meetings between businesses and educators on an ongoing basis.
The Chamber’s internal student talent development comes in the form of our amazing interns. Emmy Surface has been working as a membership engagement intern since last fall, and we welcomed Jocelyn Racelis to the marketing team in May. We'll bid them farewell in August, armed with new skills and experience and a huge dose of contagious energy. Our interns make a real impact in our day-to-day work, and it’s bittersweet when it’s time for them to move on to do more amazing things.
Emmy Surface has been a membership engagement intern at the Chamber since September 2018. As she heads to Cornerstone University this fall to pursue a degree in Strategic Communication and a minor in Nonprofit Administration, she reflects on her time at the Chamber.
Holland’s Careerline Tech Center helped Emmy find this internship opportunity at the Chamber. She was hired to assist Britt Delo, the Chamber’s Director of Membership. Throughout the internship, Emmy focused on meaningful communication with members, as well as tracking and recording active and prospective member analytics in the Chamber’s database. Emmy is confident that the foundational skills she has learned through her experience with the Chamber will be transferable anywhere she goes in the future. “My time at the Chamber has helped me figure out what I want to do career-wise,” she said.
The relationships Emmy built with both the Chamber staff and members are special to her. “It can be scary, at first, working with people that already know what they’re doing,” Emmy said. “But if you’re at the right place, they’ll welcome you in, help you out, and make you feel at home. I’m really going to miss it.”
Jocelyn Racelis joined us in May as our summer marketing intern. Jocelyn is a junior at the University of Missouri, pursuing a major in journalism and strategic communication and a minor in business. She assists Marketing and Communications Director, Caroline Monahan, with Connect magazine, social media accounts, press releases, the website and much more.
Caroline noted, “Jocelyn’s background as a journalism major makes her a great fit to work on our magazine. She enjoys going out and interviewing our members and telling their stories, and she definitely exhibits all of our core values. She’s a fast learner and is a real asset to our team.”
“I’m excited to expand my knowledge of marketing and communication with a chamber that has a such strong media presence,” Jocelyn said. She is looking forward to spotlighting emerging leaders and outstanding businesses in the community.
Investing in Interns is a Win-Win
We've been developing our intern program for two years, with a focus on providing opportunities to gain applicable and valuable experience. Our interns don't get coffee (even the ones who have on-campus jobs as baristas!). They are part of the team and make significant contributions to our daily operations (in EOS terms, they even get their own rocks to work on each quarter). It's an investment of time and resources to bring them along, but it's a win-win for everyone when they leave having accomplished great things. Some of our Chamber intern graduates have returned to our community to begin their careers, which is a huge win for employers here. If you're on the fence about creating an intern program, reach out and ask us for more information about how we structure ours.
Believe it or not, now is the time to get prepared for hiring your fall interns...