Partnering to achieve economic vitality in Flint & Genesee

Tim Herman — Guest columnist

Tim Herman — Guest columnist

Earlier this year, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce completed its 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, which is built on the economic drivers of business, talent and place. The three-year plan serves as a roadmap that allows the Chamber and our partners to align with a shared vision and a set of goals and strategies that will improve the economic stability and growth, and quality of life in Flint and Genesee County.

The strategic planning process also helped to establish a premise for the Chamber’s work, which is: a thriving economy needs business; business needs available, qualified talent; and attracting and retaining talent requires a desirable place to live. As such, the key drivers of developing our local economy are providing the tools for business to develop; providing talent through workforce development, attraction and retention initiatives; and, providing a desirable place to live, work and play.

While the Chamber leads economic development for Flint and Genesee County, we also have an integral role in the talent and place categories. But clearly, we can’t do this alone, nor would we want to. So, one of the plan’s core strategies is to develop a countywide vision for an economically vibrant region.

The first step was to form a partnership between the City of Flint, Genesee County and the Chamber. The partnership is creating a stronger synergy among the three entities and already increasing our effectiveness.

An important part of the visioning process was to gather input early on from business and community leaders on where we are as a region, where we want to be and how to bridge the gap. We’ve now had two input sessions and five main themes emerged:

Business diversification and growth is critical to our regional success We must thoughtfully build communities

Educating the workforce should be thought of on a continuum from cradle to career

We must tell our success stories broadly to change perception of the region

Accountability and governance must be clear

These themes from business and community leaders are helping inform our efforts to shape a countywide vision. And we are continuing to collect input from many, diverse stakeholders along the way.

In summary, a shared vision is essential for the Flint and Genesee County region to address its challenges and seize opportunities brought on in the 21st Century including investment and jobs, developing an educated workforce, image building and growing/strengthening communities.

To achieve these things and more, the Chamber must work with its partners to ensure that we have the right leadership, strategy, innovation and active engagement to continue the region’s recovery in a sustainable way.

I look forward to sharing our progress with View readers in 2019 and seeing some of you in our community forums to share your perspective.

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about the Chamber’s Strategic Plan, you can find a copy on our website under the About section.

Tim Herman is the CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

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