The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce (CMCC) is a major metro chamber of commerce serving the Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester metropolitan statistical area of South Carolina. Founded in 1773, the CMCC is the oldest continually operating chamber of commerce in the United States.
Today, the Chamber is the region’s leading Advancement and Advocacy organization and is comprised of more than 1,500 member organizations. The Chamber has earned five-star accreditation from the US Chamber of Commerce three times (one of only 13 Chambers out of 7,000 nationally to be accredited at this level for this length of time), the most recent in 2017. In 2018, the Chamber was named America’s top metropolitan Chamber as it received the Chamber of the Year award from the Association of Chamber of Executives (ACCE).
Major areas of the focus include regional, state and federal advocacy, the development and execution of a talent platform aimed at ensuring all high school student graduate career and college ready and that the strategy is focused on preparing students for the high demand fields, in the Charleston region, and a robust set of leadership development programs geared for member and community professional and personal development. Also launched a 2020 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion platform with a generational commitment to empower the metro area’s business community to lead the region in being more diverse and inclusive.
The CMCC has an annual budget of $3.5 million and a total of 25 full-time professional staff members.
The Senior Vice President (SVP) for Talent Advancement will play the lead role in helping CMCC achieve its vision to provide high quality programs locally, state-wide, and eventually extending the use of its talent initiatives nationally. The SVP will be responsible for the vision, leadership, strategic direction and management of the Chamber’s talent advancement and workforce development programs and initiatives. Reporting to the President and CEO, the SVP will be a member of a 7-person senior leadership team leading Talent Advancement. The SVP will manage a team of 2 and work closely with the SVPs of Government Relations and Leadership/Programs. The SVP will lead CMCC's strategies to attract and retain highly skilled, career-ready individuals to ensure that the region's workforce meets the current needs and anticipated labor force requirements of the area’s employers that have the highest job availabilities in revenue maximizing business sectors/clusters. In addition, they will also engage with partners to provide quality programs and services to the region's existing businesses, young professionals, universities, and local organizations and to support workforce development. A 2021/2022 “front windshield” responsibility will be developing partnerships and targeted programs to rapidly upskill the metro area’s displaced and incumbent workers in high demand industries facing labor shortages. This work focus takes on added significance we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chamber’s five-year strategy for talent development includes the assessment, strategic re-booting, post the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing enhancement of the regional Career Academy platform and a co-priority of examining partnerships for re-skilling displaced and incumbent workers as a result of Covid-19’s impact on our metro economy.
Currently, all of the CMCC talent efforts are strategically directed by the Talent Demand Study - a comprehensive research-based study that projects talent needs based on job growth and educational alignment. The Talent Demand Study is updated every 24 months (Talent 2020 & Beyond was released in Q3 2020).
The CMCC, in partnership with the region’s three largest public-school districts currently is operating a Career Academy platform that includes an array of Career Academies operations in 22 area high schools. The CMCC recruits and manages business partner volunteers through a Regional Advisory Board in the following areas: STEM, Health Science, Business, Culinary/Hospitality and Computer Science.
Career Academies are career-themed schools within high schools, in which the learning environment reflects the atmosphere and expectations of 21st-century employers. The Chamber and public-school districts have worked for many years studying successful career academy models across the country and planning a program here. Today, Career Academies are available in high schools, throughout the region, in the following areas:
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
Plus, other high demand occupations/fields
Each two-year Talent Demand Study update identifies gaps within the high school curriculum that must be filled to meet the needs of area employers. Gaps will naturally ebb and flow given the metro area economy’s diversification, maturation and general economic health.
Microsoft’s Technology Education and Literacy in School (TEALS) is a program being implemented through volunteers teaching in the region’s high schools in an effort to increase both the number of Computer Science courses offered in our high schools and the number of students in those classes.
Area companies provide professional volunteers who work with teachers to instruct high school students and train teachers at the same time to teach computer science. Currently, TEALS has been implemented in five area high schools with a goal of expansion into additional 11 high schools in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Industry Immersion and Deep Dive Programs
The CMCC is implementing a targeted strategy to expand the number of Career Academy construction programs across the region. The program delivery approach includes an annual building competition – Build the Shed, a summer internship program, and the expansion of Construction Trade Academies in each District. The springs of 2020 and 2021 have prevented the Chamber from holding Build a Shed due to the pandemic.
An innovative new approach, during 2021, has been the introduction virtual deep dives into specific high demand sectors, including health care, IT and construction trades. Expert panels have been virtually broadcast into high schools and middle schools reaching more than 800 students interested in careers in these specific fields. We will continue to build out and harness virtual delivery of these top available occupation offerings.
Youth Apprenticeship Program
Students involved in the Youth Apprentice Program take their normal high school academic program and also travel to Trident Technical College (TTC), two to three days per week, where they are enrolled in dual-credit classes in a specific field of study. They also apprentice at an area company for about 10 hours per week. During the summer between the junior and senior year, the students work full-time as paid apprentices.
The Chamber, through its yearly Accelerate Greater Charleston funding, covers the tuition and expenses for a targeted annual set of Youth Apprentice participants based on investor commitment interest/designation. At the end of the two-year program, students will have earned a high school diploma, certification in a specific field from Trident Tech, credentialing from the U.S. Department of Labor, and two years of paid work experience. Currently, there are ten apprenticeship-based industry pathways and 100+ students in the program.
Common Skills in High Demand
The four public school superintendents asked the Chamber to identify a set of career readiness standards that would help define the skills required of “a successful high school graduate.” Representatives from several industries were brought together, in 2017, for professionally facilitated sessions in each of the following areas:
• Building and Construction
• Advanced Manufacturing
• Computer Science, IT and Cyber
• Transportation and Logistics
The discussions focused on actually defining what a particular skill looks like in an entry-level position in the designated job field. As a result, specific skills were identified as top priorities, and those that were repeated across industries became obvious as “common skill competencies.”
The School District Superintendents have asked the Chamber to form a Talent Advancement Cabinet to meet quarterly to outline, implement and refresh a strategy for specifically incorporating the common skills into school teaching and evaluate increased proficiencies of graduating students who seek and gain jobs in the study’s high demand occupation fields.
Strategic Regional Partnerships
As the region’s largest private-sector membership organization, the CMCC is uniquely positioned to work collaboratively with other organizations and the public sector in advancing regional talent initiatives impacting the futures of our communities and metro business market. At the center of these efforts are a number of existing partnerships and projects with the four public school systems, Tri-County Cradle to Career, university/college partnership and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA). The SVP of Talent Advancement will be a staff leader and collaborative nexus point in the partnerships specifically focused on talent advancement and workforce development.
Talent Platform Fund Development
The Chamber’s Accelerate Greater Charleston Program currently provides $500,000-600,000, per year, over and above normal Chamber revenue to help fund major metro advancement initiatives, including the Talent Advancement Platform of the Chamber. The Senior VP will be expected to help raise revenues through Accelerate and other areas, including foundation grants, to fund the Talent Advancement Platform.
Relevant Reports and Studies
Chamber’s 2020 Annual Report and 2021 Strategic Priorities
Chamber’s Talent 2020 & Beyond Demand Study
Chamber’s Common Skills in High Demand Study
Chamber’s Mapping Your Path: The Career Pathways Project
Oversee and manage all talent and workforce development programs and initiatives, including Career Academies, TEALs, Construction Trades, Virtual Industry Deep Dives, Youth Apprentice Program, and Common Skills in High Demand
Develop a departmental vision and strategic plan that includes strategies for outreach growth and potential revenue generation based on quarterly objectives and key results
Oversee and develop assessment methods for determining the effectiveness and enhancement of the largest talent program at CMCC, Career Academies, which are career-themed schools within high schools, in which the learning environment reflects the atmosphere and expectations of the 21st-century workplace. Manage the existing partnership with the region’s three largest public school districts that includes multiple Career Academy operations in 22 area high schools, with multiple business partners through a Regional Advisory Board in the following areas: STEM, Health Science, Business, Culinary/Hospitality and Computer Science
Apply germane experience ensuring metro market’s young talent is career and skill ready
Assess immediate and long-term talent and workforce development trends and recommend appropriate programming, initiatives, and expansion efforts
Establish and maintain partnerships with key external community stakeholders to develop and execute talent strategies and initiatives and address regional workforce needs
Develop and manage the annual talent team budget and budgets for each program and initiative administered by your group
Supervise personnel assigned to your group and assess the staffing level and growth needs of the team to effectively execute the annual talent development plan
Ability to evaluate and assess current programs and initiatives and make suggestions for improvement and expansion
Collect data and submit reports regarding talent and workforce development programs and initiatives that demonstrate progress to be shared with AGC and Foundation investors
Serve as CMCC’s representative on appropriate talent boards and committees at the local and state level and attend meetings pertaining to CMCC’s talent and workforce development programming and initiatives
Act as CMCC’s member, business community and general public spokesperson on talent and workforce development efforts, issue and research questions
Participate in fundraising activities as needed in collaboration with the President and CEO and partner senior staff members. Provide support to the existing Accelerate Charleston fundraising initiative that provides $500,000-600,000, per year, over and above normal Chamber revenue to help fund major metro advancement initiatives, including the Talent Platform of the Chamber
Meet directly with all four public school superintendents, twice per year, to build collaborative delivery programs, share progress updates and secure their Chamber funding commitment for the upcoming academic school year
Work directly with the SVP of Government Relations and government relations team to assemble research findings and state public policy recommendations to increase the quality of SC public schools’ educational outcomes and equitable access for all students to a high quality education
8+ years of relevant professional experience, including Chamber, business/professional association and/or education advocacy organizations
6+ years of managing and directing teams with outward facing responsibilities and budget and programmatic performance results
Proven experience and substantive increasing responsibilities and metrics based performance results in community development, regional advancement and/or talent development
Excellent communications and relationship-building skills, both internally and externally, with the ability to build and sustain relationships with targeted industry executives
Ability to engage in public roles when interfacing with a wide array of funding, design and delivery coalition partners
Demonstrated track record of working with public school superintendents and elected boards, high school principals and faculty, and business and industry partners to build collaborative talent and workforce training programs resulting in actual skilled employee pipelines and regional hiring successes
Ability to gather large amounts of data, analyze, evaluate and disseminate in a succinct and effective manner. Demonstrated reporting, data analysis and research skills
Fundraising and or grant seeking experience and marked results of securing funds for program operating budgets preferred
Understanding of and passion for CMCCs missions, programs, culture, and values
Bachelor’s degree and professional credentials
Additional Salary Information: This position offers full-time benefits, including medical/dental insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement program.
About Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
The Charleston Metro Chamber is a membership organization, 1,600 members strong, serving as a collective voice to drive solutions for a thriving community. We work each day for our members, each of their employees and our entire community to ensure we have a healthy business environment. We tackle the toughest regional challenges like housing attainability, infrastructure and bridging the talent gap, while creating exclusive access, networking and leadership opportunities to grow your business and your employees.
We can tackle the tough issues because of the strength of our members and volunteer leaders. Together, our collective voices are advancing our region. And yes, it is because of each one of our members and leaders, and our tremendous staff, that we were honored to be named the 2018 Chamber of the Year by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.