2022 2nd Quarter Update
YOUR Union County Chamber spent the spring championing
business growth and business prosperity throughout Union County in a variety of ways. Along with a new hire to assist with our efforts to build a thriving community, we advanced our Workforce Development and Public Policy goals.
Read on to see your membership at work.
PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAM UPDATE
Legislative Agenda Updates
The Public Policy Program exists to create a business-friendly environment in our community through advocacy, education, and leadership. This Committee was busy in the second quarter of 2022, gathering and disseminating information on legislative that affects businesses.
Advocacy consultant Brian Francis has been providing weekly updates on the North Carolina General Assembly session. He explained the difference between the short and long session, including some of the rules and limitations for the short session. He also provided details on several high-profile bills moving through the General Assembly, including ones related to healthcare, broadband, sales tax, and regulation for small businesses and S-Corps.
Chamber members have exclusive access to these recap and update videos.
Public Policy Luncheons
In April, the Public Policy Committee also helped facilitate a presentation and small group discussions on the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda. Senator Todd Johnson and Representatives Dean Arp and David Willis were part of the roundtable discussions around policies impacting our businesses. The event provided a wealth of information for the Public Policy Committee to consider, including a follow-up meeting with local municipality staff and elected officials to better understand how North Carolina legislation affects local policy.
In May, Deputy County Manager Michelle Lancaster presented on progress of the County’s 2050 Comprehensive Plan. Six County Implementation Committees have been meeting since January to develop suggestions to implement the goals of the plan. The Committees are:
1. Broadband Internet Committee
2. Cluster Standards Committee
3. Litter Task Force
4. Open Space in Rural Areas Committee
5. School Siting Committee
6. Stormwater Committee.
NEW CHAMBER TEAM MEMBER
Phillip Faust Hired as Business Development Manager
In April, YOUR Chamber welcomed Phillip Faust to the team as the new Business Development Manager. In this role, Phillip has been recruiting and developing new investors, as well as working with existing Chamber members/investors on sponsorships and advertising.
Discussing his new role, Phillip said, “Working with this dynamic team at the Chamber allows me to serve the businesses and individuals dedicated to making a difference in Union County.”
Chamber President and CEO Pat Kahle “Phillip has been a wonderful addition to the Chamber Team. He brings a fresh perspective to our work, has already created meaningful relationships with our existing members, and has been busy bringing new members to the Chamber. We’re delighted to welcome Phillip to our Team and look forward to watching Phillip’s impact on our chamber and community continue to grow.”
Prior to joining the Chamber team, Phillip worked as Senior Business Solutions Consultant with Equus Workforce Solutions. In that role, Phillip worked with the local NC Works team to develop workforce development solutions for Union County companies of all sizes.
Task Force Accepting Applications
Are you looking to make a positive impact on the next generation workforce in Union County? The Workforce Development Task force is currently looking for new members.
Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is the number one challenge facing businesses of all sizes in our community, particularly in high-demand industries like advanced manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and the trades (construction, auto-related, etc.). The Workforce Development Task Force’s mission to convene business, educational institutions, and workforce development organizations to attract, develop, and retain our community’s most important asset – our people.
The Committee meets monthly to share best practices, plan future workforce development efforts, and discuss current talent and recruitment issues. The priorities of the task force are:
- Developing young people’s interest in the trades and manufacturing by including parents, guardians, and educators in the process and introducing these potential career pathways at an earlier age.
- Recruiting and developing the skills needed for high-demand careers in industry sectors driving our community’s economy.
- Addressing the durable skills gap by consistently including this messaging in our programs and outreach.
Members of this committee must meet the following criteria:
Must work for a Union County Chamber member in good standing
Must demonstrate a commitment to developing a workforce in Union County
Must be able to commit to attend at least 75% (9) meetings year
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
During the panel, Linda shared resources for employers looking to hire individuals with disabilities.
RESOURCES FOR EMLOYERS: JAN – JOB ACCOMMODATIONS NETWORK – https://askjan.org/info-by-role.cfm#for-employers
DISABILITY- IN – https://disabilityin.org/
EARN – EMPLOYER ASSISTANCE AND RESOURCE NETWORK – https://askearn.org/
Workforce development was on the mind of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee as well and led them to host a virtual panel on “Hiring Individuals with Disabilities.”
Linda Little with Union County Public Schools moderated the panel that included Mary Walls with NC Vocational Rehabilitation and Hollis Breeden with Atrium Project Search. The panelists shared valuable information and resources available to employers who employ individuals with developmental disabilities.
NC VR works with employers to provide a pre-screened talent pool so they can match with the skills desired by employers. VR provides support to the individual and employer to monitor progress and ensure the match is successful.
Project SEARCH is a partnership between businesses, educators, vocational rehabilitation (VR) and service providers. The goal is to provide on-site internship experiences for young adults with disabilities leading to competitive employment. Local collaborators along with Atrium Health include UCPS, INREACH, and the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
CHAMBER WINS COMMUNICATION AWARD
The 2021 Newcomers Guide published by YOUR Union County Chamber has been awarded a Communication Excellence Award by the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. The Communication Excellence Awards recognize outstanding communications efforts by chambers of commerce in North and South Carolina.
We are incredibly proud of the 2021 version of the publication, which is published each year to champion our business community and welcome newcomers to our diverse and thriving county.
This edition started with a vibrant cover image by local artist Bill Colt. Inside, the guide contains information on the 14 municipalities, schools, local healthcare providers, our rich arts heritage, vital information, and much more.
We are already planning for the 2023 edition. If you are interested in increasing your visibility among newcomers and top businesses in Union County and across the region, you’ll want to secure an ad. Along with thousands of magazines distributed to high impact businesses, including banks, real estate agents, healthcare offices, visitor’s centers, and more, the digital version is shared to Chamber Social Media sites reaching more than 12,000 people.
NONPROFIT WORKSHOP ON BOARD ENGAGEMENT
YOUNG PROFESSIONALS LEADERSHIP SKILLS SERIES
We wrapped up the second quarter of the year with an annual
free workshop for Chamber member nonprofits. Each year, we focus on a challenge facing nonprofits. This year, we were fortunate to bring in Ericka Ellis-Stewart, Director of Corporate Responsibility for Atrium Health, to share strategies and best practices around board engagement.
Many chamber nonprofits have shared with us that they are
struggling to engage their board, especially following the stress of the past two years.
Ericka shared practical tips for finding, on-boarding, and growing the board of any nonprofit. Her valuable expertise gave attendees practical criteria to use in searching for board members. She also gave attendees the opportunity to practice and share their elevator pitches.
If you are interested in serving on the Board of a local nonprofit, you can find a list of Chamber member nonprofits here.
THE WORK CONTINUES
It is YOUR partnership and YOUR investment that makes all of this work to champion business growth and business prosperity throughout Union County possible.