Chambers of commerce and local governments representing and working with businesses outside of big cities have generally witnessed a slower economic recovery than those of their urban-dwelling neighbours. Many chambers are launching and implementing economic development projects to encourage the development and retention of local businesses and workers.
But industries have changed due to automation, globalization, and the rise of service and technology sectors, making it difficult to retain the young talent they raised and educated and attract new workers and residents.
So, how can chambers of commerce help local economies evolve?
Facilitate Connections Between Residents and Employers
Making opportunities visible to the local population is a crucial element in connecting employers already looking for staff. Finding the employees they need to operate and grow their businesses helps fuel the local economy since those they employ will, in turn, spend and invest locally.
Many chambers or city-run job boards list a paltry number of opportunities, in formats that are difficult to access or read on a phone – this is a missed opportunity to connect not only the chamber of commerce but also local businesses to their community. A modern, mobile-friendly job board that lets job seekers create profiles and apply for local jobs can help improve application rates, giving employers a better chance at finding and hiring the right people.
Help Local Startups Find the Talent and Mentorship They Need to Grow
It’s encouraging to see how many smaller communities are bustling with entrepreneurs and startups, and it’s a trend that chambers of commerce are interested in supporting. Many towns and smaller cities can boast affordability when it comes to the costs of living and starting up a new business, but they may be challenged when it comes to growth.
A significant part of that challenge is finding people with the right skills to work with – be it co-founders and business partners, employees and contractors, or mentors and advisors. Again, it’s tough for a new business to connect with the right people if there is no place to share opportunities locally and forcing them to compete on national job boards.
Give Job Posting Access to Non-Members and Entrepreneurs
Businesses that join chambers of commerce as members usually pay dues or a membership fee to participate and to benefit from the resources and support their local chamber offers. For many of the chambers we’ve spoken with, posting to their job board is free. Depending on the local economy and the relative expense of membership fees, it can make a lot of sense to offer free job postings to members.
However, chambers who allow non-members to post jobs for a price can not only create a source of non-dues revenue, they may start to attract new members through their job board. Entrepreneurs and small businesses may not yet have the budget to join your chamber or have thought of themselves as qualified, but by posting to your job board, the door to engagement has been opened. You’re in a better position to communicate the benefits of membership and help them grow as a business. New or small businesses likely do not have access to tools or resources to help them with their hiring, which a good job board will provide.
Reimagine What Industry Can Look Like
Industry is changing – where manufacturing and agriculture may have been the dominant employment sectors, some regions are finding the hospitality, service, and technology sectors are growing in their demand for talent. Earlier this year, Wired declared that coding is the new standard blue collar job.
But Silicon Valley is not the only place where technology and innovation can thrive, as many businesses and cities are discovering. Your chamber of commerce job board has the opportunity to put a modern face on established enterprises and small businesses, attracting the young and talented minds who want to see them continue and contribute their ideas and hard work. At the same time, you can help open the doors to new businesses and entrepreneurs looking for a place to call home by giving them the tools they need to hire locally.
A modern, mobile-friendly digital job board run by your chamber of commerce (or in cooperation with any other entities running local economic development programs) can be a powerful part of your toolkit when it comes to revitalizing your local economy. By facilitating connections between employers and residents, creating pathways for non-members and entrepreneurs to join your chamber, and by helping local start-ups find the talent they need to grow and thrive, your job board can help businesses succeed and help residents find meaningful employment.