The new head of the Metro North Chamber of Commerce said he wants to work with area schools to help build the next generation of workers. “I’ve met with some of the school superintendents at the …
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The new head of the Metro North Chamber of Commerce said he wants to work with area schools to help build the next generation of workers.
“I’ve met with some of the school superintendents at the six school districts we represent, and it’s pretty incredible what we have to offer,” said Dennis Houston, the chamber’s new CEO, at coffee meeting Sept. 24 at the Reunion Coffeehouse in Commerce City. “When you look at the region, about one out of two students that walk across that stage at graduation don’t know what they’re going to do. I want to change that.”
The chamber’s board hired Houston this summer and he started Aug. 19, replacing former 9News business reporter Greg Moss in the chamber’s top job.
Most recently, Houston was CEO of the Parker Chamber of Commerce. Houston was previously the CEO of the Norfolk Chamber in Nebraska.
The future of Adams County’s workforce matters to everyone, he said.
“Even if you are a sole proprietor, workforce matters,” he said. “You might think it doesn’t but I’d venture to say it’s very important. If you are a sole proprietor and you sell widgets to another company, they’ll by a lot more widgets if they have 25 or 50 employees than if they have five or 10.”
He compared businesses and schools to kids at a middle school dance standing on either side of the dance floor, each unwilling to make the first move.
“The two have not come together as much as they can,” he said. “One of our goals as regional chamber is bring those two sides together at that first dance and get the agree to work with each other. Even just in my early conversations, it makes an impact on the schools. But it also has a huge impact on the businesses because there is a huge opportunity out there for training and mentorship opportunities.”
The Metro North Chamber encompasses 12 municipalities in four counties: Adams, Broomfield, Jefferson and Weld.
“It’s pretty incredible when you look at the 6,500 people who work in the businesses, our business partners,” he said.
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