Let’s Talk Business: October 28, 2021

November is National Career Development Month.  Business establishments and educational institutions are encouraged to develop and implement development programs to fill the needs in their local communities. With our country in the midst of a profound worker shortage, employers might stand out from the crowd by offering career development options as an employment perk.

Whether you are a job seeker, an employer, or a student, it is important to recognize that career development is a life-long skill that offers benefits to all who participate. Employers can plan for the future by connecting with students pursuing education and development in specific areas of work. Job seekers can enhance and advance their careers by developing and honing skills that are in demand. Whether pursuing higher education or mastering a skilled trade or taking the entrepreneurial leap, students are taking the necessary steps toward career development.

Right here in the Emporia area, there are a variety of programs that support and enable career development. Headed by Rob Gilligan, the Chamber’s Ignite Emporia initiative is partnering with our four area high schools to support and engage career readiness within the curriculum, helping enhance the skills our students need to build a future local workforce. The partnership through the Work Keys program focuses on taking academic skills in the classroom and helping students translate that knowledge into workplace skills, including the soft skills that employers feel new hires sometimes lack.

This program purposely does not promote a distinction between students focusing on career or technical pathways versus those focused on post-secondary education paths. The skills assessed and developed through the Work Keys program are valuable in any career or educational path the students choose to take. Employability isn’t just an issue for front-line workers; it is something all students must consider essential to their future success.

The Ignite Emporia campaign was launched in 2019 with the goal to spend time, energy, and resources to take on persistent community issues: workforce availability; housing affordability; business support and retention; and promotion of local opportunities to our community and beyond. These issues are not unique to Emporia and Lyon County. Various communities across the country have entire teams of people dedicated to working on just one of these topics.

Ignite Emporia, through partnership projects such as the career development Work Keys program, is steadily building teams across local and regional organizations to turn these goals into reality. Much of the work occurs behind the scenes, but progress is being made in all the identified areas,  continuously enhancing the livability and viability of our local community.

Visit the Emporia Chamber website at emporiakschamber.org for more information on Ignite Emporia initiatives. You can also contact Rob Gilligan at the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce, 719 Commercial Street; call him at 620-342-1600; or email him at rgilligan@emporiakschamber.org.

It’s a great day in Emporia!



“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.