The Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce (GGCC) will launch a new program for young professionals with a Thursday kickoff event in Celebration Pointe at 5:30 p.m.
The new group, Greater Gainesville Young Professionals, aims to help 21-to 39-year-old workers at local businesses, those looking for employment and graduate students.
Julianne Raymond, director of member development for the chamber, said the new program has been in the works for at least a year.
Raymond has talked with other chambers of commerce with similar programs to learn what to include in Gainesville. She said GGCC has worked with focus groups to tailor the program.
“I think one of the best parts about this group is that it was literally created by our young professionals in the community,” Raymond said.
The new group comes as an automatic benefit to all GGCC members, so employees of companies already partnered with the chamber can join the group free of charge.
For those not already a part of the chamber, membership costs $75 for the year and is available as a monthly subscription.
Raymond said the group will hold monthly cocktail mixers and philanthropic events. The chamber will also boost development through personal, professional or business growth events.
She said the goals for Greater Gainesville Young Professionals is for the members to connect, grow, discover what Gainesville offers and strive to be involved in the community.
Many times, Raymond said, top talent comes to the area but doesn’t encounter anything that hooks them into the community and makes them stay. The young professionals group looks to counter that and help retain young talent.
“Throughout the years, I’ve been involved in various organizations and groups and never quite found one that really fulfilled the needs of our young professionals,” Raymond said.
The new program may benefit local companies as well. If talent has a reason to make Gainesville home, companies can employ them.
Raymond said having the GGCC as a platform for the young professionals program serves as an important jump off point and will keep the program steady. Through the chamber’s 1,300 members—who employ around 80,000 in the area—the new program has already generated interest.
She said the kickoff event has more than 150 registered attendees—proof of the need the group looks to fill.
At the event, attendees will learn more about the group, its leaders and how it will move forward, plus food, drinks, yard games and video gaming courtesy of Infinity VR.
GGCC has more information available, and signups, on its website.