In keynote remarks to the CHRO Leadership Summit, Chicagoland Chamber President and CEO Theresa E. Mintle shared her insight into the Chicagoland region’s unique opportunities for economic growth through the lens of the Chamber’s initiatives in human capital and workforce development.

Mintle discussed how the Chamber’s recent surveys of the region’s small business and mid-market communities support evidence of the growing talent gap and skills shortage facing many companies today. She also expanded on what the Chamber is doing to address these issues, including programs in workforce development, STEM internships, talent development and retention, and diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, and addressing these issues is going to entail a great deal of innovation and collaboration,” said Mintle. “Employers must become intentional about creating meaningful career pathways to train and engage and retain a younger workforce, for whom traditional values and beliefs don’t always apply. Work-based learning opportunities must be created and in a scalable fashion that incorporates small and mid-size businesses.”

The summit, which brings together the HR community’s top executives and thought leaders to address regionally relevant topics and industry-specific issues, was held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on June 2.