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The Board of Directors of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce sets the organization's priorities and programming. Below is an outline of priorities for 2017 and beyond:
#1 PRIORITY -- Workforce Development.
Workforce is the Chamber’s top economic development priority. Member businesses have noted that it is increasingly difficult to recruit and retain key employees to our area. AustinWorks is a collaborative, workforce initiative designed to help companies recruit employees and connect their families to the community. Major components of the program include:
#2 PRIORITY -- Promoting Our Members
Buy Mower/Grow Mower, a shop local campaign, was established in 2008 in response to data that showed declining retail sales in Austin and Mower County. Since Buy Mower was established as the Chamber's top marketing priority, retail sales have improved. City retail sales tax collections are double initial projections established in 2008. Last year, retail sales tax collections hit a new high with more than $1.5 million, reflecting $300 million in sales. However, overall sales continue to lag statewide averages. The Board feels the Buy Mower message is an important one and should be continued and enhanced.
To improve the effectiveness of the Buy Mower/Grow Mower campaign, the Board included $16,000 in the 2017 budget to promote Buy Mower and We Are Austin efforts. The Board encourages all members to participate by promoting the messages in their places of business and marketing efforts.
#3 PRIORITY -- Membership
The Chamber will continue to grow its membership base, thereby raising the value for all members and increasing the volume of our voice for business.
#4 PRIORITY -- Business Advocacy
The Chamber will provide a strong, effective voice for its business members in government affairs.
#5 PRIORITY -- Promoting Our Community
The Chamber will host activities that connect and showcase our members, and also organize events that enhance our quality of life and improve our area economy. The Chamber will work through Vision 2020 toward projects that enhance the quality of life in Austin and Mower County.
GUILDING PRINCIPLES - 2012-2017
TOP 5 LONG-TERM GOALS
1. The Chamber will promote and support its members, working to increase their visibility and success.
2. The Chamber will serve as the voice of business, promoting policies and economic development efforts that strengthen our business climate.
3. The Chamber will work to enhance the quality of life for all residents, making Austin and Mower County a preferred choice to live, work and play.
4. The Chamber will broaden and strengthen its membership base, reaching out to all businesses in Mower County.
The Board of Directors will revisit all priorities and long-term goals at its annual Fall Retreat this October. Members will be surveyed in advance of the retreat for their input and suggestions.