The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce: Can you afford not to be part of its holistic approach?
Throw out the standard definition of a chamber of commerce when referring to the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce. Because unlike most others, it employs a holistic approach to support not only the health and wealth of Cape May County’s business community, but also the health of the community, including the people and the environment.
The Chamber extends the philosophy that a healthy economic environment at its roots begins with the health of its people and has recently been involved with the Cape Regional Wellness Alliance as a way to help address healthy living issues for chamber members that could reduce healthcare costs and increase overall workplace productivity.
A prime example of the Chamber’s holistic approach is its’ recent involvement in an initiative called the Healthy Communities Project which looks at reducing adverse childhood experiences, or (ACES) for short. Not many chambers of commerce are involved in this type of work and you may wonder why it is important to the Cape May County Chamber. Vicki Clark, President of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce has the answer. “If we are serious about solving our workforce issues, we must first address our community challenges. When a child is affected by adverse childhood experiences (ACES), they often deal with the certain lifelong issues. We can help prevent repeating the cycle of ACES by helping children with appropriate services and resources in their early formative years. Today’s children are tomorrow’s workforce making this our issue on multiple levels.”
These are the type of issues that very few chambers of commerce address, but are in line with its “big picture” perspective, the Cape May County Chamber realizes how such things are connected and how they influence the county’s business community.
The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce takes pride in being a unique business organization and resource for the entire county. Their mission is to be the advocate for the business community through the strength of legislative engagement, member services and education programs. They look at the tourism industry as the foundation of the economy and are fully involved in Cape May County’s $6.6 billion tourism economy including the issues that effect it, plus the marketing and services that reach the visitor. The Chamber has always been a leader in tourism marketing and has a long-standing relationship with the visitor through its visitor center, presence at travel shows, and today, 24/7 through its state-of-the-art website.
The Cape May County Chamber looks at all of the components that go into the tourism industry including, workforce development, infrastructure, environmental protection and initiatives like protecting the wetlands, opposing offshore oil drilling, as well as advocating for programs like the J1 visa international exchange student worker program.
The Chamber’s work in representing the Cape May County business community on these important issues have earned them a respected reputation by colleagues around the region, state and nation. Because the Chamber’s Board of Directors believes that the organization must look at all that components of the county’s tourism driven economy in order to effectively represent their members, the Chamber has staff and active committees that engage in critical issues facing Cape May County.
The Chamber stays informed and involved with issues that affect business. The Cape May County Chamber has always been the leading local business organization for protecting our coastal economy and quality of life. For instance, the Chamber is working to influence and mitigate the critical cuts in school funding that could adversely affect the quality of education in Cape May County and workforce development. Another issue that the Chamber involves itself is the prospect of Offshore Oil Drilling & Seismic Testing. Realizing how dangerous these practices can potentially be to the quality of life and the local economy, the Chamber became a founding member of BAPAC, Businesses Alliance for the Protection of the Atlantic Coast, an east coast group of businesses, and organizations united to oppose the federal government’s plan for offshore drilling and seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean.
To learn more about issues the Chamber is monitoring and acting upon please follow this link www.capemaycountychamber.com/main/advocacy/
The Chamber’s holistic approach to building strong business has been shaped and formed over time. The roots of the Chamber reach back over 100 years ago to 1916 when it was originally known as The Seashore Association Chamber of Commerce. This membership organization was initially formed by a group of business people from the Cape May County Barrier island communities. The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce that we know today was officially chartered on January 28, 1954.
For more information, or to be part of the important work of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce please visit www.capemaycountychamber.com/join