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Talent Feed Articles - MLCC president & CEO

October 2018

Connecting with talent for our region’s future

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

At a recent gathering under the auspices of GrowPA, a statewide initiative focused strengthening the generally anemic economy in Pennsylvania, the role of higher education was front and center. University presidents combined with business leaders at Montgomery County Community College to discuss ideas that included spurring more research to create innovative commercialization opportunities, making college more affordable and incentivizing more recent college graduates to stay.

While the brainstorming brought about a compelling set of ideas, it was the strategies to develop real-time and predictive data about the needs of employers and communicating those needs to students and educators that were among the most promising. One of the highest callings for our schools is to meet the needs of our state’s employers, providing the talent that is an essential ingredient to growth.

The conversation ties into Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s PASmart workforce initiative, which seeks to incentivize STEM education, industry partnerships and apprenticeships. GrowPA, which is backed by our lobbying partner the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, is expected to make public policy recommendations.

It’s as important, however, that Grow PA is looking for solutions that won’t involve government. One of the key goals is to look beyond the current election cycle to plot a path that can last through several gubernatorial administrations if necessary.

In the four years since The Main Line Chamber of Commerce created its Talent and Education Network, and during two years of study prior to the 2015 launch, we have learned a lot about what employers want and don’t want from their recent college graduates.

It seems clear that there will be more computer science-related jobs than students for some years to come. Our interview in this issue of The Talent Feed with Drexel College of Computing and Informatics Yi Deng explores his efforts to meet employer need.

It’s also clear that many companies on the Main Line are seeking a more diverse pool of applicants than they are seeing currently. That’s where we come in.

The Talent and Education Network is developing its capacity to help our employers to meet more diverse applicants, computer science majors and college students in general.

The role of a chamber of commerce as a connector is long established and we are taking it to the next level.

If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to read the stories in this edition of The Talent Feed. The stories about non-traditional students, including the profile about how Wells Fargo is hiring employees through Year Up Philadelphia, provide ideas for employers seeking to expand their talent pools. Our partners St. Joseph’s University and Peirce College are among the educational institutions featured.

Like GrowPA, we aren’t looking primarily to government to move our region ahead. What we really need is for employers to step up to support our work and interview the student candidates we identify, with the goal of hiring those who can be part of your company’s future. When that happens, everyone wins – the students, the employers and our region’s economy.

                Have an energizing and profitable day.

                Bernard Dagenais

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