The school year has kicked off and it's time to introduce a new initiative of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce. As many of you know, many of the chamber's activities focus on promoting and supporting area businesses, connecting customers to area shops and suppliers, offering business education and training and offering resources to business. The chamber is also involved in activities that create and foster a strong economic environment. Sometimes the chamber works with elected officials at both the local and state level on legislative actions, offering a business perspective on laws and regulations. Another activity at the chamber office is aimed at helping people and businesses interested in coming to the Mid-Ohio Valley, answering their questions, providing information about the community as a place to live and work, and acting as a conduit to the other resources in the region.
Today we introduce a new undertaking of the chamber. First a little background: During the past few years, many conversations at the chamber board of director meetings revolved around schools, work force development, and jobs. During the staff report to the board, they know that the chamber staff answers questions about the school systems quite frequently. Those interested in moving to Marietta and Washington County want to know about the quality of our schools, from public schools to private schools. They also ask about day care and about post-secondary education.
Employers in the area who want to bring in specialized workers, whether surgeons or engineers, report that many of the job applicants ask about the schools. Parents look for schools that provide world-class learning opportunities. Local employers are looking for workers with good educational foundation plus specialized training and skills in a variety of trades.
As we shared stories, it was very clear that good schools are crucial to attract businesses and people to our city and county. Good schools are also vital in retaining the companies already located in this region.
Seeing a direct connection between a strong educational system and the economic viability of a community, the chamber board created a permanent board committee focused on education.
Good schools give a community an advantage. Competing for jobs is competing against foreign low-cost labor and it is competing for jobs against other towns in Ohio, in the Midwest and throughout our country. Attractive and affordable housing, entertainment and recreation, fair taxes, friendly business climate - all factors for attracting new business and retaining existing companies. And good schools are of huge importance to those deciding where to live or relocate.
For the past year the committee comprised of Chairwoman Beth McNally, Tom Betz, Marty Hansell and David Vandenberg, and others in our community met, researched and developed a vision, mission and goals for the committee.
Vision: Strong schools, prosperous businesses, flourishing communities.
Mission: Students in the Marietta area need a first-class education to succeed in life, and the Marietta area needs a well-educated work force to compete for the best jobs. The MACC Education Committee serves as a voice dedicated to ensuring that the public is informed about the needs, accomplishments, and aspirations of local educational institutions so that they receive the support needed to continually improve and attain high levels of excellence.
Through articles in the local newspapers and the chamber's Website and social media channels, we will explore education and its vital role in economic development.
This month MACC will be begin airing radio spots that foster the community's awareness of education's value to business, land values, and thriving, vibrant local economies. We thank John Wharff and WMOA/WJAW Radio for support of this initiative.
We welcome your thoughts and your ideas as we continue to share our findings.
Charlotte Keim, CCEO-AP, is president and CEO of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, The Riverview Building, 100 Front St., Suite 200, Marietta. Chamber Viewpoint appears every other Monday on Opinion.