In the past year, we have featured three articles about the art of the Business After Hours Mixer. We know how quick calendars can fill up, so we invite you to start planning for 2020 right now.
Are you interested in hosting a Business After Hours Mixer in 2020? Several businesses have already reserved a date for the coming year. Contact the Chamber as soon as possible to secure a date.
Not sure if hosting a mixer is right for your business? Contact us to learn more about the benefits of hosting an event and learn about the many options to ensure your event meets your goals for spotlighting your business.
Local businesses continue to express finding employees is one of their biggest barriers. Population decline, skills deficits, and failed drug tests are often listed as reasons enough prospective employees are lacking, but you may be surprised to learn that lack of knowledge about available jobs may be the largest contributor to the shortage of qualified applicants.
There are those who are simply unaware of the number of open positions, that span from entry level to high skills trades and professional careers. Then there are those who assume that they are not a good match for the available jobs, because of a mismatch in the skills possessed and the advertised job description/requirements.
Unfortunately, it has become common to hear that many people do not have a familiarity with our local businesses, what they do, and what job opportunities they have available. There appears to be many opportunities to bridge gaps between communities.
Long gone are the days when multi generations of family members worked for the same businesses, passing along information about a business’s products, services, and culture of the company, typically accompanied by a special kind of pride.
Most recently, 10th grade students from Oil City High School visited several local businesses including Klapec Trucking, Webco, Millcraft, Pepro, and USA Choice. Oil City High School Principal Scott Stahl remarks: “These tours were very valuable for students, but just as impactful to the teachers who had the chance to chaperone the tours.” To include all high school teachers and 12th grade students, Scott has planned for presentations throughout the school year, with business leaders addressing teacher and student groups. Chamber President Susan Williams has been assisting in making introductions between educators and businesses.
Local school districts Valley Grove, Cranberry, and Titusville invite business representatives to assist them in providing seniors with realistic mock interviews, after thorough preparation in preparing a resume, application, and cover letter. Several Chamber members and staff have or will participate as volunteers and report that the students are remarkably prepared for a job search.
Businesses who are interested in participating in career readiness programs can contact the Chamber to be identified for future presentations and volunteer opportunities.
Additionally, businesses can continue to submit their information to be included in the Job Shadow Resource Guide and to have Job Posters created for use by the schools, by visiting venangochamber.org/education-committee-2019.
Business After Hours Mixers have long been a main stay of Chambers of Commerce. These short gatherings, just at the end of the workday, include refreshments, a few door prizes and a mix of other chamber members. While those who attend may vary depending on a mixers host, the location and scheduling, there are members who frequently attend and those who never do. If you are the latter, we’d like to suggest you consider a few of the reasons you might want to give a try.
Relationships – Mixers are hosted by businesses to invite others to visit their location, sometimes to celebrate an accomplishment, or perhaps just to give exposure to products and services. Either way, attendance is a show of support that is always appreciated. When you visit a member’s event, they understand that you are busy but still willing to show them support with your attendance.
Information Gathering – We often think we know our community, but in the busyness of our own lives, we often miss the changes taking place. From new staff members to significant investments in products, services or infrastructure, information can often best be gathered through a visit, and a mixer can be a unique opportunity to get inside a business.
Preparation for Your Mixer – You may not be planning it now but hosting a mixer might be something you want to do in the future. It’s best to attend other mixers to get a sense of what you’d want to do as a host. Just like any social invitation, those who you have supported are most likely to support you.
There are several mixers still planned for 2019, each an opportunity for you to test out these suggestions. One of those mixers is hosted by FLEX and will be held in the courtyard of the Venango Chamber on August 22. FLEX members promise to help you build better relationships with local young professionals, learn about how to better engage them, and will set a great example for your next get together. We hope to see you there!
Summer is finally here and for many of us, we are fortunate to have a college intern (or two) joining us for the next few months. It may be tempting to think of extra staff as the opportunity to boost your office with some affordable help and, let’s be honest, many interns will spend a good bit of time doing busy work, fielding phone calls, filing stacks from our desks, and running errands.
But if that’s all they’re doing, we’re wasting a wonderful chance to infuse our offices with new ideas and energy, while short changing their experience. So how can you and your intern make the most of your time together?
Start with a Plan
Before your intern’s first day, you should have a good idea of what their daily tasks will include. Discuss what goals you have for your time together and invite your intern to share what they hope to take away from this work experience.
We all talk about engaging young people, so once you are together, take the time to meet regularly and ask for feedback on your business. Take advantage of what your intern is currently learning in school and find ways to incorporate this newfound knowledge in what you’re doing, even if it may be a little uncomfortable.
Be a Great Example
Make sure you are always modeling good behavior. Having the extra help in the office is not a good excuse for you to slack. Be on time, dress as you would expect them to dress, and remember how you talk about others will reflect on the character of you and your business.
Let Them Know You Care
Ask your intern to share their career goals and be willing to share your journey. By letting them know what has worked for you AND what hasn’t, you can help them envision the many possible paths (even bumpy) to success. Genuinely attempt to learn what’s most important to them, personally and professionally, and invest time into supporting their priorities.
Most interns will have some anxiety, at least initially, as they try to fit into your office culture. Make sure to take some time in your day, or at least week, to invite a little down time. A quick walk for coffee or ice cream or a few minutes laughing about something funny can help lighten stress they may be experiencing, allowing them to be far more productive. It will make your day more fun too, if you are doing it right.
We’d love to meet your intern! Please give us the chance, by stopping by our office, bringing your intern to our next Chamber event, or sending us a message so we can reach out directly. We want all those spending time in the region to have the best summer ever, with the possibility of staying in or returning to Venango County sometime after graduation.
More than 90 state and local chamber representatives from across the Commonwealth gathered in Harrisburg on June 4 for the 2019 Chamber Day at the State Capitol.
The annual event is co-hosted by the PA Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals during one of the busiest times of the year in the Capitol, as state elected officials work to finalize the 2019-20 budget.
The event provides a forum for constructive dialogue between local chamber officers and policymakers on key issues important to the state’s business community and the best ways to improve the Commonwealth’s business climate.
Venango Chamber President Susan Williams remarks “Chamber Day provides Pennsylvania leaders the opportunity to represent the united business voice that our membership represents. Multiplied across the state, we are able to convey the needs of our businesses and learn about what’s happening at the state level to address them.”
The program featured several panel discussions focusing on a wide range of topics, including workforce development; transportation and infrastructure in the Commonwealth; and community revitalization.