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Talent Feed Articles - From the CEO

June 2018

Using outreach to broaden our pools of talent

A message from the President and CEO of The Main Line Chamber of Commerce Bernard Dagenais. To find our more information about the Talent and Education network, contact him at bdagenais@mlcc.org

Gone are the days when a classified advertisement was the prime way to fill a job. Companies on the Main Line and throughout Greater Philadelphia are in a war for talent and they have to be proactive to get the job done.

That’s why companies are making extra effort to connect with college students. While internship programs are prevalent, too often companies haven’t figured out how to employ college students – who together create a ready and relatively inexpensive workforce that offers plenty of upside when converted to full-time hires.

A survey conducted by the Chamber’s Talent and Education Network last year, in partnership with Accenture, found that 70 percent of respondents have interns, while 16 percent expressed an interest in creating a program.

For many companies, there’s an increased emphasis on attracting a more diverse pool of candidates. They want to be reflective of their customers and attractive to a broader client base. They want to benefit from different ideas and backgrounds. And with increasingly fewer unemployed individuals as the national unemployment rate dips below 4 percent, it is becoming increasingly important that we engage more fully with the available workforce.

Then there’s the fact that extending opportunity for individuals to make something better of themselves seems, contrary to the stand taken by a would-be member of Congress from New Jersey recently, squarely like an American ideal. In other words, in the eyes of many, focusing on diversity and inclusion is both good business and the right thing to do.

That’s why you see Comcast Corp. promoting its opportunities for veterans. That’s why, in this issue of The Talent Feed, you can read about how Independence Blue Cross has actually cut its number of interns overall, with a goal of converting more to full-time hires. It’s part of the reason that global tax software solutions providers Vertex is making an extra effort to hire individuals on the autism spectrum.

Campus Philly, which is focused on keeping the region’s college talent in the region, took up the topics of diversity and inclusion during its recent annual meeting.

A panel featuring, left to right, Philadelphia Society of Human Resources Management President Jameel Rush, who is also human resources director of talent staffing firm Yoh, along the Rutgers-Camden’s Associate Chancellor Nyeema Watson and Philadelphia City Office of LGBT Affairs Executive Director Amber Hikes discussed diversity and inclusion.

Attendees left with suggestions that included, according the Campus Philly:

  • Implement inclusion and/or unconscious bias training
  • Celebrate cultural and commemorative holidays of various cultures
  • Welcome allies into employee resource groups and support cross-ethnic conversations among  diversity groups

It’s also the reason that The Main Line Chamber of Commerce’s Talent and Education Network is hosting a Student-Employer MeetUp on June 16, extending invitations to organizations that seek to help first-generation college students along with students from Chamber member colleges and universities – including some from diverse campus groups.

Politicians might be able to afford to remain stuck in the past. Sometimes, it appears, being provocative pays off while running for office.

For companies facing talent shortages and skills gaps, looking to a future in which the workforce is tightening, demographics continue to change and everyone matters is a better policy.


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