What Does a Chamber Do: Influence

August 16, 2022

Public Policy panel onstage

As YOUR Chamber works to create a thriving community, we rely on partners to achieve that vision. Our 550 members are vital to the mission to champion business growth and business prosperity throughout Union County. Many of those members have joined the Chamber to create a positive effect on our community.

In part 3 of our series on what a Chamber does, we are focusing on how we help you have more influence in the area.

Influential Voice for Business

It can be challenging for one business or organization on its own to ensure your voice is heard. Chamber membership allows you to join with hundreds of others to create an influential voice on issues affecting your business.

Public Policy Program

One way we can help with influence is through our Public Policy Program. This program convenes community leaders, influencers, business leaders, and community stakeholders to discuss issues and policies affecting the business community.

YOUR Chamber advocates for businesses at a local, state, and federal level.  We communicate regularly with elected officials to communicate the needs and challenges of our business community as well as to learn about pending policy that affects business.

We host quarterly Public Policy Luncheons with panelists discussing policy and initiatives in areas including healthcare, education, the state of Union County, infrastructure, and more. In addition, we host an annual Elected Officials Reception to allow you to meet and chat with local, state, and federal elected officials.

Legislative Agenda

Beginning in 2022, the Public Policy Committee helped craft a Legislative Agenda for the Chamber. This living document highlights the Chamber’s support of policies that ensure everyone who does business or lives in Union County enjoys a thriving local economy and excellent quality of life. 

The first 3 pillars focus on infrastructure, workforce, and taxes/regulation.

» The Chamber supports policies, programs, and initiatives that provide adequate, cost-effective public and private infrastructure essential for business development, growth, and prosperity throughout Union County.

» The Chamber supports policies, programs, and initiatives that provide an adequately trained, available workforce for all businesses and industries including future expansion in Union County

» The Chamber opposes taxes and regulations by any jurisdiction that hinder or interfere with business growth, development, and prosperity in Union County or that place Union County businesses at a disadvantage when competing with businesses outside Union County.

You can read the full Legislative Agenda here.

One of the highlights of the Public Policy Program is the Chamber’s efforts to work with Union County to create the Back to Business Grant program during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Chamber President and CEO Pat Kahle reached out to Union County Manager Mark Watson in 2020 to see if the County would be able to provide financial support for county small businesses. Watson and his team were able to work with the Board of County Commissioners to set aside $1 million in CARES funding for grants. When the county received requests that totaled well over $1 million, they went back and reallocated more dollars to the program, for a total of $2.4 million that was distributed to over 200 small businesses in Union County.

Workforce Development

Chamber membership gives you the opportunity to influence the workforce of Union County’s future. Our Workforce Development Taskforce exists to gather business, educational institutions, and workforce development organizations to attract, develop, and retain our community’s most important asset – our people, meeting the talent needs of business and industry now and in the years to come.

One way we achieve that mission is through the Middle School Speaker’s Bureau. The goal is to influence younger students to explore career paths in trades and manufacturing before important high school class decisions are made. Speakers from local manufacturing and trades organizations, along with the Union County Human Resources Administration take over classes at UCPS schools sharing hands-on presentations about career opportunities. The program also introduces students to soft skills employers are looking for. Speakers will return to the classrooms in the fall for another round of presentations.

Chamber membership grows your influence so that you can have a bigger positive impact on our community. Next week, we’ll share our final post in the series on what a chamber does through Impact.

Last modified: June 27, 2023

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