Writer: Liz Palmer
2 min read June 2022 — As the Jacksonville region’s business community continues to grow at an accelerated rate, the local chambers of commerce are standing at the ready to meet their members’ needs. In discussions with Invest:, chambers across the Jacksonville Metropolitan Area weighed in on what they’re prioritizing and putting their energy into over the next few years as the business community continues to flourish.
Wendell Chindra, President, Clay County Chamber of Commerce
Wendell Chindra of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce told Invest: that the future of the region has to be about balance. “ We need to find a balance between community service, social services and economic development,” he said. “We don’t want to build a bunch of houses and have no parks. We don’t want to build a bunch of parks and not attract businesses. That is the balance we need to strike.” Part of this, Chindra said, will include utilizing the chamber as a vessel for equality in the community. “We have to become the solution to a lot of the issues the community is facing,” he said. “In a small town like ours, we have to find a way to answer the social responsibility component. The community has done a good job of taking care of us, so the Chamber should find a way to reciprocate that back to the community.”
Regina Duncan, President, Nassau County Chamber of Commerce
For Regina Duncan of the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce, the focus is on business services, business development and workforce projects. “Initiatives include housing, childcare, on-demand employee training, expanding coworking services, innovation grants and encouraging input from the private sector for the use of Rescue funds,” she told Invest:. “Going forward, we see our role as proactively collaborating with employers to help manage the changes within our local workforce and developing resources for businesses.”
Isabelle Renault, President & CEO, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce
St. Johns County’s leaders are collaborating together to work on economic development, according to the president and CEO of St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Isabelle Renault. “To ensure our workforce can meet industry needs, we work with our school district, which includes 25 career academies that align with the future growth of the county. Internally, our Chamber’s new strategic plan is to further align ourselves with the growth happening in the northern part of St. Johns County that includes our office in Ponte Vedra Beach and a satellite office in Nocatee,” she told Invest:.
Daniel Davis, President & CEO, JAX Chamber
President and CEO of JAX Chamber Daniel Davis discussed his vision for the chamber’s role in the city’s future economic development through the Elevate Northeast Florida program, which he told Invest: is centered around workforce development and upskilling. “Workforce is the No.1 economic development issue in the next 10 years,” he said. “The community that produces the workforce wins the economic development all day long. It used to be which communities could write the biggest checks but that’s not the case anymore. It’s about who can fill the jobs, who is developing the employees companies need to succeed.”
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