Albany Area Chamber Foundation hosts THRIVE!

Albany – The Albany Area Chamber Foundation Thursday hosted its inaugural and highly

successful THRIVE program, a dynamic talent development initiative aimed at preparing

students for the professional world. THRIVE empowers students with a range of employability

skills crucial for success in the workplace. Through engaging sessions and interactive activities,

students gain insights into effective communication, networking and professional growth.

For the Thursday event, held at Albany Technical College, the Albany Area Chamber

Foundation partnered with the Dougherty County School System and local employers to present

skills training, business connections and local opportunities to students with disabilities who will

seek employment after graduation.

“The No. 1 growth inhibitor for our employers is talent – work force – and it’s a challenge faced

by employers across the country. In Albany, the business community is working closely with our

educational partners to design a modern, adaptive talent pipeline that is sustainable and relevant

to our marketplace,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area

Chamber and the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “Through programs such as THRIVE,

we’re in the schools working one-on-one with students on the key employability skills that the

workplace demands and connecting students to local employers. We want all members of our

community to have opportunities to thrive.”

The Chamber Foundation, the 501©3 affiliate of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, leads

the community’s comprehensive work force efforts via the Albany-Dougherty Talent Strategy

2.0, a public-private effort in which strategic partners, employers and educators participate.

Other Chamber Foundation talent development programs include PROPEL+, targeted at female

high school students, and implementation of the U.S. Chamber’s Talent Pipeline Management

framework. The Chamber Foundation’s efforts amplify the primary business organization’s

programs in the areas of talent and innovation and are a direct response to employer and

community needs.

“There’s significant demand for this programming – we hear it from the students, from the

educators and from the employers,” Holmes said. “We’re encouraged by feedback from the

students and our partners about the impact of our work force programs and look forward to

scaling this work to continue building our community’s talent infrastructure.”

Representatives from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, the Albany Area YMCA and Albany

Technical College participated in Thursday’s program, sharing with students the diversity of

available jobs at their organizations, the skills required for those jobs and training pathways to

obtain those skills.

During THRIVE students practiced their public speaking skills through mock interviews with

volunteers from businesses who offered valuable feedback and guidance to the students. While

students were taking turns participating in the one-on-interviews, other students were practicing

networking with peers and adults as they answered ice-breaker prompts facilitated by community


The program also featured a unique segment highlighting appropriate professional attire where

business community members served as models, showcasing the “DOs” and “DON’Ts” of

dressing for success in the workplace.

“This event will help these students have more confidence, flexibility and adaptability with

individuals that they don’t know in speaking with them and sharing information about

themselves,” said Gordina Porter, director of the Exceptional Students Program (ESP) at the

Dougherty County School System. “It was a great event.”