Voice of our Community and Business! I have written and spoken these words since August, but I sit here now and wonder how many of us really understand the impact of this statement. We have seen the pictures and posts of our networking and promotional events and how fun and exciting they are to attend. These events serve a purpose: to expand the network of the hosting member and of course, expand the membership and reach that the Chamber has in our community. I wonder though, how many of us are aware of the other way we spread our wings in the community?
The Chamber hosts Public Policy Luncheon the first Monday of each month to discuss topics that are important to our business community and how, as the Voice of our Community, we can make an impact. This statement says a lot. We are all part of the Voice, business owners and citizens, and we are all part of this “public.” You are invited to the table. Public Policy is open for all to attend. You do not have to be a member of the Chamber to attend, listen to and discuss important topics that affect us.
Since January we have dedicated our Public Policy Luncheon topic to Education. Why? To provide good quality jobs for our children and grandchildren, we need to compete in the marketplace for the companies and the jobs of the future in order to create the most favorable climate for business success and to continue to improve the quality of life for Sanford, Lee County and Broadway. There is a foundational requirement that we have a strong public school system. Public schools are the public educators, and the bulk of our workforce is a product of our public schools.
We, the Chamber of Commerce are also part of a larger network, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and in their 2023 Legislative Agenda they support the following efforts on public policy that align with our Public Policy initiatives: Work Based Learning, Teacher Recruitment/Retention, Support Pre-K and Childcare funding structures, and mitigate barriers to access and affordability to address current housing supply challenges.
In our February and March presentations we gathered data from well-respected public sources because we acknowledge that we are not education experts. We also knew that we could not start discussing how to improve and move forward if we did not all start on the same page with basic facts. Basic data to inform us on the educational system of North Carolina and then move deeper into the data of Lee County. It is very critical to understand that Lee County (and every community) has unique attributes that pose challenges to our educational system and make comparisons challenging unless you understand the data.
Our goal with this series is to engage with our business community and our citizens around this important topic of education and workforce preparation. Growth is here. We want our members, and our community, to be prepared. We also know that we need to be good partners. A hallmark of our community success has been working together to create shared prosperity. Join us Monday, April 3rd to continue our discussion on how we move towards finding solutions to support our students, teachers, and schools.
Chamber of Commerce Director