Navigating Business: Creating REAL Change for our Talent System

March 10, 2022

The Arvada Chamber of Commerce 2022+ Talent Strategy

By Kami Welch, Arvada Chamber of Commerce President

The talent crisis that employers across the country are facing is of growing concern as we see an inadequate supply of talent, skills misalignment, and a variety of systemic barriers such as cost of living and childcare access that cause people to leave the workforce in droves.  Since 2017, the Arvada Chamber has been working to understand our local talent ecosystem and the barriers that stall progress. This work has come in the form of programs, advocacy, convening, education, and more. For much of these five years, this has been an arduous, Sisyphean task. Talent systems are deeply rooted across communities and lack ownership of the “WE” that needs to solve the problems we are facing. This ends NOW.

A quick history: starting in 2017, the Arvada Chamber rolled out four Employer Collaboratives focused on understanding key jobs that needed to be filled and what skills would be required using the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Talent Pipeline Management Program. For two years we lived in what I now describe as a state of “Groundhog Day.” We had clearly identified gaps throughout our entire system (career awareness, exploration, preparation, pre-employment training, onboarding, retention, and more), but despite our efforts, we couldn’t make progress. At this moment we took a step back and recognized that until we create a coordinated regional approach, we would just be spinning our wheels. In response, we launched a coalition called the Workforce KAPS (Kick-Ass Problem Solvers) Council. This dream team of leaders from business, education, government, and the nonprofit sector worked together to understand gaps and define solutions that today we are ready to take on collectively. THIS is progress.

We understand that talent woes for employers are getting worse, not better. The pandemic revealed a variety of cracks in our workforce (check out this extensive blog post). Now more than ever we need to look at solutions for today and the future simultaneously. It is going to take a proactive, tenacious approach that will require leaders to change how they have thought about talent. Our region CAN deliver better outcomes if we focus on a coordinated approach.

Yes, this is daunting. But the Arvada Chamber and our regional partners have proven over and over that we have the grit to take on hard things. As we launch our 2022 plan we have rolled up our sleeves and are ready to create REAL change.

Here is what you can expect to see:

  • Increased promotion of local jobs that are open through the Arvada Chamber Job Board (according to Indeed there are nearly 4000 open jobs in Arvada right now).
  • A regionally aligned assessment and employer engagement strategy focussed on the top 10-15 High Demand Career Pathways in our region. 
  • Partnership as a leading organization in the launch of Career Hubs in High Schools across Jefferson County through the GROW (Get Ready For Opportunities At Work) Jeffco initiative. 
  • Increasing the number of employers who are interested in providing work-based learning to grow their talent pipeline through education and engagement opportunities including toolkits, training, and ongoing support services.
  • Increased collaboration across the region through continued efforts of the KAPS Council, convening of Chamber/Economic Development leaders and increasing the interconnectedness of our system.
  • Quarterly Talent Talks that bring together ALL stakeholders in our talent system to learn and discuss key barriers impeding improvements to our talent system.
  • The launch of a 5-year Talent Strategy focused on immediate talent needs, talent pipeline development, supporting employers in retaining and attracting talent and addressing barriers to talent sustainability.

If you are interested in getting more involved, please contact


Related Articles

Subscribe to receive Arvada Chamber news, resources, and events!