During the second year of our three-year strategic plan, we remained focused on our goals. We closed five business development projects that will result in nearly $363 million of private investment and the creation of 393 jobs. We welcomed 124 new Chamber members, up 73% from the year before. More than 1,400 students participated in YouthQuest, with 309 students attending three out of four days a week on average. Through Summer Youth Initiative and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Summer Youth Employment Program, 205 students were hired for summer jobs. And we saw Genesee County’s tourism industry rebound toward pre-pandemic benchmarks, with our team booking contracts for more than 7,500 room nights.
These metrics are full of promise and are tangible examples of the power of collaboration. Across each division and program—with partners both inside and outside of our organization—Group staff worked together every day toward a shared vision.
Our mission has long been to maximize economic and community growth through collaborative partnerships and promotion of the region. We know that realizing this mission is only possible with a clear vision for the future. So, we are focused on Forward Together, a shared plan to accelerate Genesee County into the state’s top-five counties for jobs, talent, livability, and equity. However, while Genesee County is the fifth most populated county in Michigan, we face real challenges that are reflected in the numbers.
The data in the Forward Together dashboard shows that to make Flint & Genesee a top-five community by 2040, it is imperative that we grow the region’s population and workforce. In 2022, this data was reinforced by employers, who reported that they are still struggling with an ongoing talent shortage. These trends inspired programs, partnerships, and presentations to stakeholders in 2022, supporting our assertion that this work is most effective when approached collectively.
The research and analysis our team conducted last year will be instrumental for future success. Discoveries in the data helped us evolve programming, refine implementation and service delivery, and improve internal processes to better serve our key audiences. For example, a closer look at broad community statistics allowed us to better understand the growing small business sector. New perspective into their unique needs and barriers helped us develop programs like the Business Bridge and put more resources behind our Small Business Help Desk. Along the way, feedback and insight from our partners allowed us to examine our effectiveness even further.
In our effort to achieve greater efficiency and be more inclusive, the Group’s four divisions established new advisory committees in 2022, comprised of industry professionals with expertise that can inform strategies. Representatives from each division’s committee were appointed to the Group’s Board of Directors to hold new, permanent seats. In addition, a new executive director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Community Relations position was created to help ensure that our decision-making reflects and respects the principles of DEI. These strategic changes have strengthened the Flint & Genesee Group’s governance structure and are important steps toward being a more inclusive organization.
I am proud of the progress we made in 2022 and encouraged by the opportunities on the horizon. In the pages that follow, you will learn more about what each division of the Flint & Genesee Group accomplished and how we are well-positioned for the future.
On behalf of our staff and Board of Directors, thank you to our members and clients for your ongoing support. With your continued partnership, I am confident that we are ready to meet what’s next.
CEO, Flint & Genesee Group