SMALL BUSINESS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Chamber is also leading the way with the newly formed Women In Business quarterly luncheon series where business women at all levels can gather to discuss key issues and learn together. Our offices are also the home of the Small Business Development Center where you can get assistance in developing your business plans in one-on-one consultations with Joe Jacobs, SBDC Coordinator. The Chamber also works to recruit small businesses to the area as well as develop home-grown businesses. We support the economic development efforts of the Port as well as the cities of Walla Walla, College Place, Milton-Freewater and other local government entities.
PUBLIC POLICY & ADVOCACY
Our Chamber representatives are always hard at work with our elected officials promoting your business interests on issues that impact all of us. Imagine how difficult it would be if you had to research public policy issues and defend your business on your own. There’s strength in numbers, especially when it comes to being the “Voice of Business.” Your membership and sponsorship in the Chamber means you stand united with us on behalf of business, your business.
Walla Walla and the surrounding area already have several non-profit organizations that focus on community development. The Chamber, along with a vested interest in the community ourselves, represents the voice of the business community with these other organizations. We’re frequently asked to participate in their efforts so that they’re sure to get input on how their community development efforts may impact local business, and how local businesses can get more involved.
We’re proud to be the voice of business in helping wonderful organizations like the Sherwood Trust, Blue Mountain Action Council, and a host of others. As you can imagine, helping other community development organizations requires a lot of staff time and resources. This includes work on such efforts as homelessness, affordable housing, clean energy, trails & blueways, and so much more.
The Chamber is actively working with all of our educational institutions to build connections between skills development and job readiness here in the Walla Walla Valley. Your Chamber membership helps us develop, partner with and promote job training programs in many area schools, such as the B57 Program at College Place High School, the after-school programs at WA-HI and the SEATech program at Walla Walla Community College, all of which help prepare our students for life after this phase of their education. Our goal is to help local businesses find and hire local people to fill those jobs while also helping our students realize they don’t necessarily have to move away to find meaningful, rewarding work.
We’re also excited to partner with Whitman College on the Pitch It youth entrepreneur competition, with Walla Walla University on developing the Chamber’s new style guide and re-branding efforts, and with the Community College in a variety of ways, including speaking to classes, and developing opportunities for hospitality and service job training that would integrate directly into the growing tourism sector.
The Chamber also works directly with the Community College as a co-sponsor of the Leadership Walla Walla program. Each year, your Chamber leads the Public Policy Day, where participants and others from the business community have the opportunity to meet with and hear from elected officials and public policy experts from around the state. The purpose is to make sure our rising leaders are fully informed on policy issues of the day, how those issues impact the community and offer possible action steps they can take as community leaders.