Recap: Hidden Gems in the Columbus Workforce

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Recap by Lindsey Beauch, 2018 Marketing Intern 

The latest entry in the Columbus Chamber’s Leadership for Small Business series, titled Hidden Gems in the Columbus Workforce, brought together thought leaders in the community to explore untapped or underserved areas of the regional talent pool.

The enlightening discussion was kicked off by moderator Kelly Fuller, the Chamber’s workforce director, and highlighted the great potential involved when considering individuals who have faced barriers to employment – homelessness, previous incarceration, those in recovery –  in their hiring processes.

Panelists included:

Linda Coleman, Hot Chicken Takeover
Tearicka Cradle, City of Columbus
John Rush, CleanTurn Enterprises

There is a large sector of employment opportunities that need to be discussed among businesses. Organizations such as Hot Chicken Takeover, CleanTurn Enterprises and Restoration Academy are paving the way for community businesses to tap into talent pools they may not normally engage with.

“It isn’t an us-them dynamic, we are on a journey together,” said Rush when discussing employment of those who have been previously incarcerated.

Giving a second chance to someone can also be a huge asset to your business. It allows you to connect with the community and individuals who are ready to work. Restoration Academy helps its participants with interview preparation, resume writing, first-hand advice and more.

“They are some of the hardest working individuals,” said Cradle.

Opening the door for those who have faced challenges with employment can create a work environment that is full of drive and appreciation. Coleman shared her inspiring story of how she worked her way up from the dish tank to human resources at Hot Chicken Takeover.

“Most of our employees have worked from the bottom up, so they have an understanding of each other,” said Coleman.

The panel agreed that in order for a business to continue to thrive, it must be more open-minded to the employees it takes in. This includes those who face barriers because, in order to overcome them, they must be given the opportunity to work in an environment that wants them to succeed.

Click herefor information on the Columbus Chamber’s year-round schedule of events.

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The Columbus Chamber has hosted #CEOInsights since 2013. The successful event series features interviews with local presidents, CEOs and other leaders in an intimate, studio-type setting. The goal is to share timely insights on critical topics including leadership, innovation, culture and more.