Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, Albany Area Chamber, Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau collaborate on student internship program

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May 15—ALBANY — The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau are working on a collaborative initiative to match local students to employment and internship opportunities in the community.

The organizations are asking businesses to report available opportunities, requesting information on what positions or internships are available, what the terms are, who is eligible and how to apply.

The initiative comes as a result of conversations with both business owners and higher educational institutions, expressing the idea that there is an apparent disconnect between businesses in need of employees, and qualified candidates in need of opportunities.

"The EDC exists, in part, to foster job creation and growth, and aims to accomplish those goals through both the recruitment of new industry and the retention and expansion of existing industry," Jana Dyke, president and CEO of the Albany-Dougherty EDC, said. "We heard the call for a collaborative effort to address the need for connection between existing employers and job candidates, and came together with our partners to answer that call through this initiative."

The need for the resource grew, most notably, out of conversations with Albany State University. The university expressed interest in expanding opportunities to actively engage as a member of the corporate and educational community.

"We have many great professional certificate and academic degree programs that certainly could address the needs of local businesses and organizations," ASU President Marion Fedrick said. "Through this partnership with the EDC, CVB and the Chamber of Commerce, ASU can increase our ability to meet the needs of community business partners, stimulate the local economy, and most importantly, provide outstanding opportunities for experiential learning and employment for our students."

In the evolving aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have found themselves in greater need than ever for increased work force.

"The hospitality industry, in particular, has suffered in the wake of COVID-19," CVB President Rashelle Beasley said. "Employers are having a hard time staffing their organizations to keep up with demand due to the competitive rates of unemployment benefits, and in some cases, are having to condense their hours in light of that."

With work force development as a continued focus of leadership in Albany-Dougherty County, chamber leadership expresses confidence that the needed resources, for both job seekers and job posters, are already right here in the community.

"The Albany Area Chamber has long advocated for and advanced work force development through increased connection between industry and our higher educational institutions, and this initiative is a great example of how our public and private community service organizations can serve as that connector piece, bringing partners to the table in order to produce results," said Barbara Rivera Holmes, the Albany Area Chamber president and CEO, the region's largest business advocacy organization.

As a further resource, the Albany Area Chamber offers a job posting service to its members year-'round at http://business.albanyga.com/jobs. Businesses that would like to advertise available job opportunities with the Chamber but are not yet a member may contact Membership Director Mary Bickerstaff at mbickerstaff@albanyga.com, or call (229) 434-8700 for more information.

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