Greater Cleveland Partnership's Chairman's Forum
On Wednesday, October 3rd, our first event for the day was the Greater Cleveland Partnership's Chairman's Forum at their offices on East Huron Road. Mr. Scott Chaikin, Executive Chairman of Dix and Eaton as well as the Chairperson of the Board of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) joined with Mr. Joe Roman, the President and CEO of the GCP, to explain plans to move Cleveland forward in accordance with the mission of the GCP: to mobilize "private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create attractive business conditions that create jobs, grow investment and improve the prosperity of the region."
Diversity and Inclusion were among the topics discussed and it was acknowledged that progress has been "steady but slow." During the Q&A, we brought up the potential of young foreign-born people to make a contribution if companies were properly mentored through the potentially cumbersome H1B process. Mr. Roman readily agreed that this would be a good idea and that a process of guidance was indeed worth consideration. He noted that, unfortunately, nothing major would was likely to happen until comprehensive immigration reform took place at the federal level.
This prompted another question regarding if we should put our resources towards helping immigrants or if we should concentrate on job preparedness for Cleveland/Northeast Ohio citizens. Happily, Mr. Roman replied that the need to fill jobs in this region is so great that there is plenty of room for all parties involved. Contrary to popular belief, immigrants do not take jobs from those already here so Mr. Roman is correct in saying that working towards both goals would be beneficial and certainly possible.
Indeed, the need to expand our qualified work force was a major element of the morning program and it is part of the newly devised Forward CLE plan put together by officials of the GCP along with 250 business leaders of our community to address the major challenges facing economic development including availability of talent, increased innovation, access to resources enabling growth, air services and taxation policies.
It was said that "our plan is intended to help marshal the business community's focus and resources so it can have the greatest impact on the creation of a more robust future for our region."