Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." ~ Will Rogers

I'm so incredibly encouraged by the outpouring of support we've received from the business community, local agencies, fellow service organizations, and the public to TAKE ACTION on the 4 issues identified at the Chamber's 2012 Business Summit that I have to share our progress.

As you know, attendees at the Summit, held on January 31st, spoke out on the issues affecting business in 2012. Here are the top 4 issues identified by over 130 people:

1. Burdensome regulations
2. Financing options for business growth
3. Employment challenges: qualified workforce
4. Transparency in the permitting process

I'm thrilled to report that we've made progress on ALL FOUR issues!

We're pursuing meetings with the City to discuss transparency in permitting and to gain insight into the regulatory issues that are under local control. All of our inquiries have been met with receptivity and, as we move forward with our meetings, we will find ways to partner with the City to problem-solve around these issues. We will cast a wider net once we've bench-marked our plans to re-engage the business community and will be calling on YOU to participate in this ongoing dialogue.

To address the need for delivering more content and education around financing options and availability for small business growth, we've reached out to experts in the field to speak at our upcoming Spring Business Symposium, slated for April 26th in the Big Room at Sierra Nevada. If you attended our Fall Business Symposium, you know to expect expert advice and guidance on these issues -- and financing, a hot topic, will get the royal treatment. Believe me, we’ve heard you and we're going to deliver.

Alliance for Workforce Development, a strong partner, has expressed interest in working with us to deliver a workshop on solving problems around employment challenges. Once we confirm the workshop date and time, targeted for May, we'll be asking you to tell us: What are your employment needs? What are the barriers you face? And what does "qualified" mean to you? We'll give your answers directly to the team of experts leading this workshop and you will walk away with ideas, solutions, resources, tools, and contacts to help you move forward with this challenge in 2012.

Access to broadband and the internet didn't make it to the very top of the list but, having landed at #5, we still take it seriously. Look for progress on these issues, too, as meetings are in place to determine resources available to us now.

I'm greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm we've been met with at every turn. The City, service organizations, and community members are taking our Summit results seriously.

As we draft a formal strategic plan to address these issues, detailing the steps and partnerships involved, as well as the areas in which we will need YOUR input, I promise to keep you posted.

I'm energized by the progress we've made in these few short weeks to show measurable progress on YOUR concerns. I'm also pleased that so many organizations and agencies are working together, as business advocates, for the health and vitality of our local economy.

After all, we’re all in this together.

~ Katie

Katie Simmons
Interim Managing Director

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