CHAMBER’S VICTORY FOR THE VALLEY, COMMUNITY CONNECTORS INITIATIVES RECEIVE PRESTIGIOUS MAEDC AWARDS IN CHICAGO

Dec 06, 2017
The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s 2016 Victory for the Valley initiative and ongoing Community Connectors program both received recognition from the Mid-America Economic Development Council (MAEDC) at its annual Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum in Chicago this week.

The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s 2016 Victory for the Valley initiative and ongoing Community Connectors program both received recognition from the Mid-America Economic Development Council (MAEDC) at its annual Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum in Chicago this week.

The MAEDC, which comprises economic development professionals/members in 12 Midwest states, honored the Chamber’s Victory for the Valley initiative as the winner in the 2017 Economic Development Awards’ Marketing Program category, while Community Connectors was chosen as a runner-up for the Workforce Development category.

Sarah Boyarko, senior vice president of Economic Development at the Regional Chamber, said, “It’s always an honor to be recognized by your peers for a job well done. Victory for the Valley was an exciting and unique opportunity for our market to be highlighted on a national level, and we’re pleased with the results of our efforts. Community Connectors has been an ongoing success in the Valley, and we look forward to its continued growth.”

The Chamber team created and implemented Victory for the Valley in response to the 2016 Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland, to take advantage of the opportunity of the national spotlight the convention would bring. The overall goal of Victory for the Valley was to promote the Valley as a viable place to do business. Through the initiative, the Chamber brought site consultants from all over the U.S. to town for its first familiarization tour; worked with local partners to create life-sized, 3D-printed bobbleheads of both presidential candidates—thereby prominently displaying our region’s role in advanced manufacturing and garnering significant global media coverage for the Valley; and scheduling meetings with influential D.C. dignitaries to discuss issues of importance to our region.

Developed and implemented by the Regional Chamber, along with a collaboration of school districts, community organizations and businesses, the Community Connectors Program for 11th- and 12th-grade students seeks to develop soft skills, assist with job placement and pair participants with approved mentors in preparation for workplace readiness. The program, which had been implemented in Youngstown and Warren schools—and for 2017-2018, Austintown schools, as well—helps to address employers’ concerns about the lack of soft skills in workers and their difficulty in finding and retaining applicants for jobs.