As leaders in the business community, we all recognize the value of the enthusiasm and innovation young professionals and entrepreneurs bring to chambers of commerce across the country. They care deeply about their communities and can energize local economies.
How can chambers harness that enthusiasm though?
For many chambers, the answer is a Young Professionals (YP) program. These chamber-affiliated programs are designed to connect young business leaders to each other and their local chambers. If done correctly, YP programs enable young professionals to develop both personally and professionally to the benefit of the entire community.
Providing local chambers with a guide and a forum to discuss their own experiences with YP programs is key to the success of these programs and to energizing America’s future business leaders. For that reason, I spent much of this summer reaching out to chambers of commerce of varying sizes from around the county to gather information and advice concerning the management and creation of YP programs. Utilizing the information garnered from these conversations, we have compiled a comprehensive toolkit to YP programs. On behalf of the U.S. Chamber, I am excited to present you with that guide and a commitment to empowering future business leaders moving forward.
The following toolkits provide an in-depth look at the what, why, and how of YP programs across the country, with recommendations and tips on how to build a YP Program for your chamber. I encourage you to use this resource, along with the guidance and encouragement of your chamber network (including your Institute classmates!), to engage the future leaders of your local business community.
The three sections of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Guide to Young Professionals Programs are available for download below:
- What? — A call to action from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce encouraging you to activate and utilize the intellectual curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit of young business leaders and entrepreneurs. This also includes an overview of YP program objectives and logistical details.
- Why? — A comprehensive list of several ways your chamber may benefit from a YP program. Summarized in three words: advocacy, involvement and membership (A.I.M.) this section of the guide describes the benefits of opening your chamber to the input and energy of young professionals.
- How? — A compilation of best practices that provides insight on how to start or revive a Young Professionals program, including a review of three important structural components, a list of tips from current and previous YP program directors, and a guide to engaging your YP program in advocacy.