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The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce turns 100 years old

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The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce turns 100 on Jan. 9, 2023.

A century after it began, the chamber’s fundamental mission of moving the community forward in business and industry hasn’t changed. But, like many businesses and organizations, the chamber is having to adapt to a changing culture. That includes efforts to solve the worker shortage, particularly in technology and healthcare.

“I don't want to use the word pivot anymore,” says President and CEO Sue Dick, preferring the word “nimble” to describe the chamber’s efforts at “trying to bring to the market solutions that people say are needed.”

“Those industries are saying we need entry and mid-level employees. We just can't find them, and it's because A), people don't know the jobs are out there, but B), they're not trained, certified or have the credentials that they need,” Dick says. “So (we’re) turning to our partners like Tallahassee Community College (TCC) and Lively Technical College, going and creating those programs to get them trained up.”

The Tallahassee chamber has approximately 1,200 members representing close to 60,000 employees. That includes small businesses, universities, and nonprofits. (Full disclosure - WFSU Public Media is a member.)

As the pandemic is waning, Dick says the chamber is focusing on talent and workforce education, plus creating an economically competitive and prosperous city.

“It's a proud feeling to know that the Chamber of Commerce, which is really our local leaders, was involved in the sales tax that brought forward Blueprint projects; involved in a half penny sales tax for our schools to provide capital improvement,” Dick says.

“Not only are we a membership organization that is bringing forward resources and tools, but we’re also involved in really important efforts and initiatives with other key partners and stakeholders in our community. So our goal is to always be at the table and really try to bring the business community to that table to just make this a better community for everybody.”

The chamber will mark its first century in existence with the Chamber Centennial Celebration and Annual Breakfast Meeting on January 18. The keynote speaker is Brian Kight, a leadership trainer and author of DailyDiscipline.com.

The meeting is at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center and it’s open to anyone. Click here for more details and registration information.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.