Central Palm Beach Chamber Surveying On Workforce Needs

The Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Advisory Council is conducting a workforce development survey to compile information regarding the most critical hiring needs among the chamber’s member businesses.

The nine-question, confidential survey went online last weekend and will be available until Friday, Sept. 8.

“The advisory council is using the survey to help determine the most critical hiring needs that we have amongst the membership of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce,” said Marc Strich, general manager of the Mall at Wellington Green and chair of the Economic Development Advisory Council. “We will use the data to develop areas that we can focus on and see how we can assist.”

The role of the advisory council is to help chamber members with any challenges they face, making sure that the board and the chamber are informed on matters that can affect the area positively or negatively, Central Chamber CEO Mary Lou Bedford said.

Additionally, because the chamber is involved countywide, it is able to act as an advocate for members, assisting them as they address challenges.

“In order to be advocates, we need to know what their challenges are and what they’re struggling with,” Bedford said. “The chamber is here to help and assist, and be that voice for our members. I want members to feel they can call on us if they need that help.”

The Economic Development Advisory Council is made up of community business leaders. Aside from Strich and Bedford, members include Carol O’Neill of CEO Financial Services; Mickey Smith of Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith; Al Malefatto of Lewis, Longman & Walker; David Leland of Print-It Plus; Mike O’Dell of the Village of Wellington; Lyn Cacella of Florida Public Utilities; and Johnny Brief, the chamber’s member services director.

The survey is focusing on employment needs and is available via the chamber’s Facebook page, and can be accessed directly at www.surveymonkey.com/r/PZ6SS68. In addition, chamber members are receiving e-mail blast reminders about the survey, which can be completed in just a few minutes. “We respect our membership’s time and wanted to make this as to the point as we could so we can drill down and get the facts,” Strich said.

Most of the questions have drop-down answers, while some offer the ability for the survey-taker to input information.

“We have made it as easy as possible. In our effort to serve the chamber’s membership, we have made it just a matter of a few minutes to get down to the most critical needs,” Strich said. “We hope to identify the most critical areas and hope to find ways of developing those segments.”

The survey is intended primarily for chamber members. However, others are welcome to respond.

“We want to find out from our businesses specifically where they find a need,” Bedford said. “Is it industry-specific? Are there certain industries that need more workforce help than others?”

After the survey closes, the data will be compiled and tabulated. Then, it will be shared at the chamber’s luncheon Thursday, Oct. 19 at the West Palm Beach Marriott.

“That luncheon is about workforce readiness. One of the concerns countywide is having a pipeline, having the workforce necessary for businesses to continue to grow and sustain,” Bedford said. “We’re going to be talking with the presidents of the colleges: Palm Beach State College President Ava Parker, Keiser University President Kimberly Lea, Florida Atlantic University President John Kelly, Palm Beach Atlantic University President William Fleming Jr. and Dr. Charlene Ford, principal of the West Technical Educational Center.”

Chamber members who are taking proactive steps toward workforce development will also be highlighted.

Registration for the October luncheon can be done online at www.cpbchamber.com.

“The luncheon will be focusing on some of the workforce development challenges and the opportunities that we have in the area,” Strich said. “We’re hoping that the data will give us more drilled-down information as to what is most critical to our members.”

To learn more about the chamber, call (561) 790-6200 or visit www.cpbchamber.com.