Workforce Development Team: Grow Your Own Workforce


Program Goals and Objectives

1. Generate Awareness of Regional Programs and Initiatives
2. Challenge Preconceived Perceptions and Inspire Empathy and Engagement
3. Encourage Participants to Explore Personal and Professional Growth

Calls to Action

1. Tell a job seeker or a business seeking employees about a resource that would help them
2. “Grow” someone else: Offer to be a mentor, encourage apprenticeship and internship programs, or volunteer
3. “Grow” yourself: Find your own mentor and regularly complete a self-assessment


The day’s theme “Grow Your Own Workforce” recognized that the Roanoke Valley already has significant potential with many resources available that serve diverse populations. These resources provide assistance to young people, people who have recently lost a job, those looking to switch careers, and some with barriers to employment. Because of low unemployment, many sectors are becoming creative in how they can “grow” their own workforce.

The Registered Apprenticeship Programs being offered in the region give high school students a jump start on their careers, as participants learned in four break-out sessions. In one session, participants drove the Western Virginia Water Authority’s excavator in an impressive 3D simulator. Rob Leonard with F&S Building Innovations Inc. spoke of the crushing student loan debt that apprenticeship programs can bypass, if we can overcome the stigma associated with not attending college. Representatives from Roanoke County Schools and Roanoke County Economic Development explained the importance of  “growing” our own students to be ready for the workforce upon graduation.

But often the Roanoke region is competing to keep local graduates and also graduates from nearby colleges and universities. Erin Burcham, Director of Talent Solutions with the Roanoke Regional Partnership, described her role over the past year to market the area to new graduates as a great place to live, work, and play. Erin encouraged participants to connect their businesses with her newly created internship program targeted at creating a social environment for interns based in Roanoke over the summer.

Lunch from Second Helpings “fed” into our “Grow Your Own” theme as Second Helpings, a program of the Rescue Mission, employs and supports job training programs for people without housing.

The afternoon kicked off with tours of the Virginia Career Works Roanoke Center, which showcased programs in the region that nurture both job seekers and businesses seeking employees. A leg of the tour included a short self-assessment, one that job seekers utilizing the VCW would be given upon arrival. Virginia Career Works executive director, Morgan Romeo, explained the variety of those that utilize the center including job seekers with with barriers to employment, those recently laid off, but also people who are employed and looking for new opportunities.

An impromptu call to action arose when participants learned that Valley Metro was currently accepting public comment on extending bus service to Virginia Career Works, a move that could double the number of people served. The next week, Valley Metro reported that the most common positive comment they received (several within an hour of the action alert email sent to participants) supported bus service to Virginia Career Works. Participants really did make a difference!

Throughout the day participants learned about resources and programs happening in the area to “grow our own workforce.” As the program began to wrap up, participants were reminded that their own growth was vital to the success of our region.
As participants finished up an afternoon sweet treat provide by Homestead Creamery, Karen Cardozo from Hollins University shared the importance of continued self-assessment and inspired participants to pursue their our own professional development by understanding their our personality types and those around us.

The day wrapped up with Ruth Cassell hosting a “Between Two Ferns” discussion with Patience O’Brien about the LRV Alumni Association and how we can “grow” in our professional development through the Alumni Association.


  • Western Virginia Water Authority
  • Virginia Career Works
  • Valley Star Credit Union
  • American Financial Planning
  • F&S Building Innovations Inc.
  • Nest Realty
  • First Citizens Bank
  • Roanoke Disc Golf
  • Roanoke Valley Orthodontics – Dr. David L. Jones
  • Johnson Orthodontics – Dr. Evan Johnson


  • Mike Altizer, Western Virginia Water Authority
  • Jay Brenchick, Roanoke County Economic Development
  • Jason Suhr, Roanoke County Public Schools Burton Center
  • Rob Leonard, F&S Building Innovations Inc.
  • Erin Burcham, Roanoke Regional Partnership
  • Morgan Romeo, Virginia Career Works Blue Ridge Region
  • Karen Cardozo, Hollins University
  • Ruth Cassell, Leadership Roanoke Valley Alumni Association
  • Patience O’Brien, Leadership Roanoke Valley Alumni Association

Team Members

  • Catherine Boush
  • Daniel Colston
  • John J. Hanna
  • James Hosch
  • Sara Lovern
  • Rachel Ruhlen
  • Smriti Sinha
  • Melissa Stankov
  • Meredith Thompson

Team Advisors

  • Chasity Barbour
  • Brian Hughes
  • Shamaill Ross

Thank you for your support

Happy Chamberversary

Happy Chamber anniversary to these members! Thank you for your membership renewal this month.


  • Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
  • Anderson, Desimone, and Green, PC
  • Apple Ridge Farm
  • Aquarius Pools, Inc.
  • Associated Asphalt
  • B2C Enterprises
  • Ballast Point Brewing Co.
  • Balzer & Associates, Inc.
  • Brooks Financial Group, A Private Wealth Advisory Practice
  • City Space
  • County of Roanoke
  • Covenant Real Estate Services
  • Eaton Crouse – Hinds
  • Fralin Real Estate Corporation
  • G.J. Hopkins, Inc.
  • Green Up Lawns and Landscapes
  • J and J Fashions, Inc.
  • Johnson Ayers & Matthews, PLC
  • Labor Finders
  • LeClairRyan
  • Luna Innovations Incorporated
  • M&T Bank
  • National Financial Services, Inc.
  • Omnisource SE
  • Ostrom Electrical Plumbing Heating & Air
  • Papa Johns Pizza
  • Peaks of Otter Lodge
  • Perform For Profit
  • R.L. Price Construction, Inc.
  • Richmond Machinery & Equipment Co, Inc.
  • Roanoke Higher Education Center
  • Roanoke Resource LLC
  • Roanoke Valley Community Credit Union
  • Roanoke Valley Speech & Hearing
  • Southeast R.C.A.P.
  • Sunscape Apartments
  • TBS Construction, LLC
  • The Glebe, Inc.
  • The Retreat Apartments
  • ThyssenKrupp Elevator
  • Total Action For Progress
  • Towers Shopping Center
  • Varsity Landscaping
  • Wells Fargo


Chamber News May 2019

HAWK Advisers is hosting a seminar on June 11 that will cover the key technical components of self-funding. You can learn more about this seminar, meet our new members and register for upcoming Chamber events in our latest newsletter.

Are you interested in promoting your business in this newsletter in 2019? Please contact Starr Anderson at SAnderson@RoanokeChamber.org for more details


Thank you for your support

Happy Chamberversary

Happy Chamber anniversary to these members. Thank you for your membership renewal this month.

  • Action Personnel, Inc
  • Alam Design Group/ Family Builders, LLC
  • Alexander’s
  • All Star Impressions
  • Arkay Packaging Corp.
  • B & D Lock Co., Inc.
  • Bank of Botetourt
  • Big Lick Screen Printing LLC
  • Blue Apron Restaurant & Red Rooster Bar
  • Blue Ridge Surgery Center
  • Bower Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.
  • Cardinal Rubber & Seal, Inc.
  • City of Salem
  • Classic City Mechanical, Inc.
  • Collinsville Printing Co., Inc.
  • Commonwealth Tool Specialty, Inc.
  • Coordinated Services Management
  • CowanPerry
  • Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative
  • Creideas – Corporate Profit Strategies
  • DePaul Community Resources
  • Eades & Lower, Inc.
  • Electronic Systems, Inc.
  • Evergreen Memorial Trust
  • Executive Town Car & Limousine Service, Inc.
  • FAVE: Facilitating Awareness & Valuable Experiences
  • Feeding America Southwest Virginia
  • Ferris & Eakin, PC
  • Foot & Ankle Associates of SW VA
  • Franklin County Office of Economic Development
  • Freedom First Credit Union
  • HAWK Advisers, Inc.
  • Integrity Windows and Doors, Inc.
  • James Buck Plumbing & Htg. Co., Inc.
  • Keltech, Inc.
  • Kevin Kays Insurance
  • Kirby – Cundiff Insulation
  • Lawrence Companies
  • Luna Innovations Incorporated
  • Moss & Rocovich, Attorneys-at-Law, P.C.
  • North Cross School
  • Pathfinders for Greenways, Inc.
  • Pitman Construction Company
  • Rescue Mission of Roanoke, The
  • Rhodes, Butler & Dellinger, PC
  • Roanoke Disc Golf Club
  • Roanoke Symphony Orchestra
  • Roanoke Valley Society Human Resource Mgmt.
  • Safeguard Business Systems
  • Salem Printing Co.
  • Saunders Dental Lab
  • Security Transport & Delivery Service, Inc.
  • Springhill Suites by Marriott
  • Turner Long Construction, Inc.
  • Union Bank & Trust
  • ValleyStar Credit Union
  • Virginia Amateur Sports, nc.
  • Virginia Capital Strategies
  • Virginia Prosthetics, Inc.
  • Waldvogel Commercial Properties, Inc.
  • WVTF Public Radio & RADIO IQ