Professional development builds OKC economy
Oklahoma City has an opportunity to grow our economy by investing in professional development for our existing workforce. LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report found that 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if it invested in their career. Keeping quality employees in a tight labor market, and growing their talent and network, requires professional development.
It’s also a way to protect our community’s investment. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Alliance for Economic Development and other entities spend time and effort attracting companies and growing companies already located here. But our job doesn’t stop there. We also help these companies attract and retain talent by providing professional development and connection opportunities.
The Oklahoma City Chamber just added a new opportunity. The Elevate Conference is a professional development conference and networking event that’s all about elevating Oklahoma City’s workforce. It will be held Oct. 23 at the Cox Convention Center and will feature inspiring speakers, breakout sessions, tools, networking events and motivation that are critical to career advancement. There will be tracks for new employees, new managers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and sales, accounting and legal professionals. The networking event at the end of the conference will feature food from caterers and restaurants and tasters from Oklahoma City breweries and wineries.
The LinkedIn survey, as well as many other surveys of business executives and business owners, cite soft skills as critical for professional success; 57% of senior leaders value skills such as problem solving, good communication, organization and team-oriented even more than hard skills. Finding professional development opportunities and volunteering within your own profession are excellent ways to hone these skills and meet new people.
I am the incoming president of the professional association CREW, Commercial Real Estate Women. I’ve been a member of this organization for nearly four years and have met dynamic and accomplished women locally and around the country. Besides professional development and a strong networking mission, the organization helps high school and college age women understand commercial real estate’s diverse career opportunities in law, architecture, lending and finance, engineering, development and more.
We can all participate in furthering our own career and the careers of others. Supporting and engaging in professional development is a good investment of time and resources.
Cathy O’Connor is the president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
Read the story on JournalRecord.com.