Talent Development

One of the greatest opportunities and challenges facing business communities nationwide is that of talent development and retention.  The Lakeland Area Chamber is fortunate to have several institutions of higher learning within its service area, including Florida Polytechnic University, Florida Southern College, Keiser University, Polk State College and Southeastern University.

With such a wealth of talent right in our own backyard, the Chamber has been seeking partnerships with area organizations, students, professors and business leaders to take advantage of the our “college town” assets. This has included hosting a “Welcome Back” event for all the students in the fall and an event entitled “Suit Up” in the spring which brought students into downtown Lakeland, resumes in hand, to mix and mingle with area employers in an attempt to retain many of our best and brightest.

Future initiatives that our Talent Development Committee seeks to pursue include a “talent pipeline” that begins with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) for our middle school and high school students, progressing into partnerships with the “Slingshot Polk” Entrepreneurial Competition and “Intercollegiate Council” for area college-aged students interested in business and entrepreneurship, continuing with an introduction to our young professional’s organization EMERGE Lakeland, and finally to full immersion into our vibrant business community through active participation in the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce.

Studies have shown that the younger you can get students interested in entrepreneurship, the more likely they are to start a business, grow that business and possibly create a second, and keep that business in the community in which they incorporated. It is for these reasons that Talent Development and Retention has become key to the future success of local economies and the continued relevance of Chambers of Commerce.