By Julie Coons, CAE, Northern Virginia Chamber President and CEO
Happy New Year! 2023 is a year of exciting activity and opportunity for our region. This year, the Chamber's 98th year, we see more businesses coming together to advocate for regional growth, to invest and grow a business-directed skilled workforce, and to advance policies and practices that accelerate a business environment and community that is welcoming to all workers. These opportunities did not happen overnight; rather, these are achievements earned by the Chamber and you, our members, through thoughtful and deliberate action. In 2022, 83 new companies joined our mission, and we look forward to adding them to our voice and strength in 2023. Starting off this month we have much to do together.
Next week, the Chamber will be in Richmond advocating daily for pro-business and pro-growth policies that advance our region in ways that benefit everyone. Nick Clemente, the Chamber’s full-time Vice President of Government Affairs, will lead our efforts throughout the General Assembly and I invite you to join us in Richmond for Lobby Day on January 18th. This is a wonderful opportunity for members to be present with elected officials and share your views on policies that directly impact your business. And we encourage you to stay for our evening reception, Viva Virginia, to mix and mingle in a relaxed environment with key elected and appointed officials. Your presence and voice are the deciding factor for many issues and I invite you to be a direct advocate for business. Register here for Lobby Day and Viva Virginia.
On January 25th, we will gather during our Economic Outlook: the Future of Work event to learn how business is adapting to our challenging workforce environment. There are estimated to be over 150,000 open job positions at any one time in Northern Virginia. To address this challenge with data our members can act on, the Chamber and its partner the Northern Virginia Community College, will announce the findings of our second annual Northern Virginia Workforce Index focused on the future of work. This is a great opportunity to learn about and benchmark your organization against your peer employers in the region on hiring, retention, and professional development trends. This data and the insights provided allows you to develop strategies and solutions for the challenge today – and as it evolves. I look forward to seeing you at this must-attend event as we lean into ensuring growth for our organizations in 2023.
If you missed it, I want to draw your attention to the Chamber Foundation’s recent study with its knowledge partner McKinsey and Company, Capital Talent Pipeline. Every business employs digital talent–an extremely tight labor category that is hard to find and retain yet is essential to competitiveness and growth. Our report provides highly actionable strategies and tools for employers to accelerate recruitment and retention of the human capital needed to accelerate and deliver on an organization’s digital capabilities and strategy. Please review the findings and share them with your human resources team and partners. Having the skilled workforce we need equates to growth for your business and our region.
The Chamber continues to provide an important forum to share best practices among all members in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We recognize the importance of value DEI practices bring to our region and are pleased that our members are joining in to create a region that will attract and retain talented employees. Chamber members are sharing their expertise monthly in the Chamber’s newest member network, DEI Connects. On January 17th, please join Chamber members to hear from Laila Salguero, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Peraton, on best practices for DEI in our workplaces. This is a 1 hour, member-exclusive networking opportunity to learn, share and ask questions of our expert speaker and each other. Whether you have extensive DEI or HR expertise or are looking to advance your knowledge and skills, come learn from one another about how to expand and retain your diverse workforce. Register here.
The Chamber is excited about the year ahead! We look forward to working with each of you to advocate for business, find data and solutions to growing our workforce, expanding our knowledge and practice in DEI to attract and retain a diverse workforce, and to engage across the Greater Washington region to advance economic growth initiatives. Roll up your sleeves with your fellow members to lean into making our region an even more exciting, growing region!