Last week at our Chairman’s Lunch, a panel of community leaders responded to questions raised during last fall’s Fuel the Fire Speaker Series. Almost 500 people were in attendance and heard that by 2020, millennials (those currently between the ages of in the 18 to 34) will comprise more than 50% of the American workforce. This statistic makes the need to attract and retain young, talented workers more urgent than ever before. In response to a question about how Wichita can be successful in those efforts, Young Professionals of Wichita Chair Laura Bernstorf said, “We have to be excited about our city before anyone else will be.”
Other topics covered included how to promote Wichita’s educated workforce and the need to continue to encourage people to seek college degrees. According to Fuel the Fire Speaker Carol Coletta, 58% of the success in a community can be explained by the percentage of college graduates in a population. “If anything determines 58% of your success, it ought to be a top priority.”
When asked about the importance of collaboration, Wichita State President Dr. John Bardo said, “We all have skin in the game in regards to building community collaboration to move Wichita forward.”
Attendees took to Twitter to add their comments during the event, and you can see those discussions using #chamberict. You can also see videos used during the Chairman’s Lunch event on our YouTube channel and photos from the event on our Facebook page.
Panelists from left to right: Richard Ranzau, Chair, Sedgwick County Commission; Laura Bernstorf, Chair, Young Professionals of Wichita; Jon Rosell, Chair, Wichita Metro Chamber; Carl Brewer, Mayor, City of Wichita; Gary Schmitt, Chair, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition; Dr. John Bardo, President, Wichita State University