A group forms to help build a community of young professionals. | SkyHiNews.com

A group forms to help build a community of young professionals.

A close-knit community of small businesses and workforce can be the key to success for the economy in mountain towns. Many employees in these towns are of the younger generation and it can be difficult to reach out to other workers who are serious about their job, especially when the term “ski bum” is thrown around so often in the workplace. The Winter Park & Fraser Chamber is working to get these people in touch with one another through their Young Professionals Networking meetings.

The group is a development program dedicated to building a community of young professionals by providing an outlet to build partnerships through professional development, community involvement, and social opportunities. A young professional can be a range of people, especially in a mountain town: from lift operators to restaurant managers and anything in between.

The idea was brought up during the Winter Park & Fraser Chamber retreat after the staff received requests from local professionals who wanted to start a group, stating that it was difficult for them to meet other like-minded people who took their job seriously and were pursuing careers in Grand County.

“It was easy to get it going,” said Winter Park & Fraser Chamber Executive Director Catherine Ross. “They approached us.”

She pointed out the importance of having groups like this in mountain towns so the workforce can find people with common interests. “It’s exciting to see a whole group of people getting involved and allowing them to have a say in what goes on,” said Ross. “This shows that Grand County is an inclusive community.”

Each meeting is designed to be a social outing for the workforce in Grand County. Experts on various subjects will lead a discussion on a different topic at each meeting.

The group uses surveys to decide what topics they will include each week. At the first meeting, they discussed what the Winter Park/Fraser Chamber does, and who to contact for information about becoming involved. Another topic was how to utilize a Business Model Canvas to develop entrepreneurial ideas presented by the Northwest Colorado Small Business Development Center. At the last meeting, the group was taught how to get involved with special events in the community such as music festivals, and Lions Club and Rotary Club events.

The Young Professionals meet the last Wednesday of every month from 5-7 p.m. in various locations (date, time and location subject to change.) To find out more information check the Winter Park Young Professionals page on Facebook or visit playwinterpark.com.

Travis Poulin can be reached at 970-557-6010

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