5 of 5 Things you Must Know This Month
Advocacy, Economic Development, Community Development, Talent Development
Your Chamber of Commerce had a stellar year in 2019. Stellar may not be the word to describe it, as it was record setting, both from a financial and participation perspective. While participation and membership continue a decline in organizations all around the country, here in Cheyenne, our membership numbers continue to grow and for that we owe you a big thank you!
One of the questions we most frequently answer here at the Chamber is, “What do you do?” While we all may answer this question in our own way, I think it’s important to remember what we do. The Cheyenne Chamber embraces a traditional view of the Chamber of Commerce and we divide our work into 4 "buckets." I want to quickly mention each and talk about their importance.
A primary responsibility of our Chamber is to advocate for business at all levels of government. From City Hall to the halls of Congress, our job is to make sure the rules and regulations promulgated support a positive business climate and that we receive funding for necessary projects to support our economy.
What kinds of things are we talking about? Perhaps it’s the work we have done with Chambers around the country on the USMCA and China trade agreements, or perhaps it's work on the I-25 rebuild, or work on the rapidly advancing front range rail. Some days it's advocating for the missions of the Wyoming Guard or FE Warren AFB. Some days it's lobbying for the Enhanced Use Lease or the Bachelor of Applied Science degree.
Regardless of where we are advocating, our job is to influence decisions that raise our community, our region, our state, and our country up.
The Chamber works in economic development every day. While we don’t recruit industrial companies to the community (this is Cheyenne LEADS's job) we do work to expand business, help start-up companies succeed, build the military industrial complex, and help with job creation in local and international companies. If it expands our economy, we are interested in it.
We are uniquely qualified to take on these tasks with an able staff and strategic partnerships that reach around this country and often even to foreign countries.
Your Chamber of Commerce consistently works to curate an environment that attracts, creates, and retains talent. The effort is daunting in today's economic climate, as jobs are being created at a very quick pace. We take a multi-pronged approach to talent development. We certainly put effort into recruiting workers, but we also work to educate our children more effectively as well.
We work in Wyoming and around the nation to build pre-K, grade school, high school, associates degrees, bachelor’s degrees, graduate degrees, tech schools, and even after school programs. We prioritize programs that help us develop our own people and recruit outside workforce.
I used to give a presentation where I showed a picture of a busy industrialized area in China. I asked what the audience thought of the picture and used it as a teaching moment. I was trying to make the point that this is what it looks like when economic development is pursued without community development. You can create economy without creating livable, sustainable communities.
Your Chamber of Commerce believes that we must take a holistic approach to development so that not only are good jobs created, but great communities are created at the same time. Beautification, safety, housing, transportation and cultural amenities are all important and we believe they must be a part of the Chamber’s mission.
True, we may not be the Guardians of the Galaxy, but we do take the mission of defending our community, our state, and our country seriously. The development of our economy, community, and talent while advocating strongly to strengthen each effort is our duty to you, our members.
- Dale Steenbergen, President/CEO of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce