Daytona Regional Chamber and Partners Address Growing Workforce Challenges

Room full of high school students sitting at tables in a workshop

Despite a regional workforce larger than it’s ever been in number of workers, the low rates of unemployment and labor force participation, lack of access to high-quality childcare, and shifting demographics are creating a tight labor market and challenges for companies trying to maximize their productivity.

Workforce development is a multi-faceted issue and one of the top concerns for businesses throughout the region, both now and for the foreseeable future. The Daytona Regional Chamber is addressing this concern on multiple fronts.

The Daytona Regional Chamber’s Workforce & Education Committee is working as a conduit for all segments of the region’s talent pipeline from cradle to career. Engagement from early learning, K-12 and higher education, workforce practitioners such as CareerSource Flagler Volusia and Volusia Flagler Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), as well as the business community is creating synergy and collaboration that wasn’t happening previously. Stakeholders can respond to immediate needs and plan for the future simultaneously.

Through a partnership with CareerSource Flagler Volusia and Volusia County Schools, the Daytona Regional Chamber introduced YouScience to middle school and high school students across the district. YouScience is a web-based skills assessment that helps students uncover their natural abilities and align them with a wide variety of career pathways. By exploring aptitudes before interests, students are better positioned to choose a career option that is fulfilling with a greater likelihood for success.

“The goal is to maximize the potential of each and every student,” said Daytona Regional Chamber VP of Resource Development Ken Phelps during a recent segment on the school district’s video series, Voices of Volusia.

Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carmen Balgobin agreed.

“We are using that data to leverage not only the right planning for our students in terms of careers and pathways but also to bring the business community in,” Balgobin responded during the segment.

In addition to more effective career exploration, developing the soft skills of students preparing to enter the workforce also pays dividends regardless of industry sector. Ensuring future workers understand topics such as appropriate attire, workplace communication, the importance of punctuality, and more, expedites onboarding for new employees. This allows companies to engage in mission-oriented productivity faster. The Daytona Regional Chamber’s Soft Skills Youth Summit introduces high school juniors and seniors to local business leaders who share their experience and expertise in attire, communication, etiquette, punctuality, and work ethic. This helps students start their professional network and envision a future within the region.

This investment in our local schools is a business imperative. A recent study by researchers from Harvard University and the U.S. Census Bureau reported that at age 26, on average, 69% of the population lives within the commuting zone in Which they grew up. This means most future Volusia County workers are growing up in our community. Cultivating their talent is critical to the ongoing vitality of the region.

For more information or to become involved in addressing these important business issues, contact Ken Phelps, Vice President of Resource Development, at ken@daytonachamber.org or 386-523-3675.


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