It’s always great to have an advocate, and if you’re a business, student or working individual in the Lynchburg area, you can count on the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance to be yours.
What does the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance do?
The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance is the Lynchburg region’s combined chamber of commerce and regional economic development organization. Over 730 local businesses, nonprofits and school systems are members of the Alliance. As members, these businesses and organizations, which collectively employ over half the region, receive products, services, events, consultations and leadership development programs.
The Alliance also advocates for pro-business policies to public policy makers. “We work to promote regional economic growth and enhance the quality of life for all citizens of the Lynchburg region,” says Christine Kennedy, chief operating officer and executive vice president at the Alliance. “Our mission is to help organizations and individuals thrive in the region.”
How does the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance support students?
The Alliance has long-standing ties with Central Virginia Community College. All of the college’s employees and faculty get to take advantage of the Alliance’s events, programs and coalitions. In fact, there are quite a few associates at CVCC that are graduates of the Alliance’s nationally award-winning leadership program called the Leadership Lynchburg.
“We know from talking to local businesses and employers that in addition to pandemic-related supply chain issues, the need for a skilled workforce is at the top of the list of continued challenges and concerns,” says Kennedy.
“While we’re more on the business side, anytime we do get in front of students we talk about what their interests are. From there, we can discuss the degrees they can pursue and what the demand is like for those industries. In this region healthcare, manufacturing and IT are all in-demand industries, and when you look at G3, these careers fall within the programs G3 and CVCC offer.”
The Alliance can also talk to students about apprenticeships, internships, on-the-job training and even tuition reimbursement that some of its employers will offer students.
“Part of it is doing your homework long before you’re ready for college,” says Kennedy. “It’s a great idea to start doing some research on what you’re passionate about and where your talents lie. Then you can look at what the demand and pay is like in that career field.”
While some students know what they want to do right after high school, Kennedy knows some students may not even know what’s out there.
“Part of helping prospective students find their path is getting them to experience what a day in the life with some of these employers is like,” she said. “Pre-COVID, we did a region-wide career exploration event where we bussed in over 3,500 middle and high school students from across the region to do hands-on, real-world activities with some of our in-demand companies.
While it’s been a little harder with COVID, we can do something similar without being on site, using gamification and virtual reality. With the resources at CVCC and G3 tuition that allows you to pursue in-demand careers, the sky’s the limit to helping students figure out what they might want to do and get into that career field.”
The Lynchburg Regional Alliance is a supporter of Central Virginia Community College and the statewide G3 Business Ambassador program. Visit the Lynchburg Regional Alliance’s website to learn more.