Developing a talent pipeline requires a migration from filling immediate recruiting needs to forming a long-term plan for the future of recruiting. Investment of time and patience is required, but the payoff can be a more diverse and ready workforce, prepared for the demands of the modern economy. Community engagements—partnerships between companies and local/regional organizations—play a significant role in any talent pipeline strategy, with a bevy of spillover benefits for business and community partners alike.

Increasingly we are recognizing that today’s students benefit from additional exposure to, and experience with, career options, thereby preparing for a life in a global economy. That awareness has resulted in a more strategic involvement, both in the education system and working with community partners. As partners, businesses and community organizations can work toward goals for workforce readiness while meeting internal short-term and long-term business goals.

Benefits of a Robust Community Engagement Strategy:

Research and Development
In Brevard County, less than four percent of existing workers in manufacturing are under the age of 25. There is a need to emphasize a targeted effort toward a younger demographic. Through a community engagement volunteer program with youth, a business’ employees learn firsthand what drives today’s kids, including what career choices they’ve been presented in schools, how students view a particular industry, and how they view post- education options.

Visibility and Credibility
Philanthropy is prevalent and respected on the Space Coast, and as a result, businesses can utilize the positive presence of their community partnerships to increase visibility and outreach.Good community partners also serve as a gateway into new geographic and demographic markets. As a result, customers who respect and support your work in the community will not only become more loyal clients, but also can have a direct impact on sourcing your future workforce.

Community Connections
Community organizations are often supported by boards of directors from a wide variety of regional entities. Access to those boards can provide businesses with key opinion, policy, business and community leaders. A common cause makes for strong connections beyond a simple introduction, leading to possible business relationships and collaborative brainstorming on business issues such as workforce readiness.

Employee Satisfaction
It’s well known now that a top job satisfaction criteria for millennials is directly tied to community impact. In fact, volunteer opportunities have been shown to increase creativity, motivation and retention for all generations. Organizations such as Points of Light ( posit that “Every company has the power to leverage their employees’ time and talents to successfully strengthen communities and impact social issues facing all of us. An effective volunteer program can transform the way customers, partners, investors and employees think about your company.” A company’s employees volunteering with youth in te community can also transform the way potential future employees think about employment with that company.

Internal Cohesion
Larger businesses can sometimes be challenged by cross-silo integration of purpose. Community partnerships provide opportunities for multiple business divisions to engage in a common cause. For example, senior executives champion the initiative, human resources organizes volunteer and team building opportunities, philanthropy supports via program funding, marketing and communications promote the partnership and progress, finance creates a matching giving fund, and engineering works directly with youth, influencing future career aspirations. One common cause across multiple divisions provides a means of promoting company unity and cohesion, ensuring maximum community impact.

Benefits to community partners are multifold as well. Financial support for missions, in-ki
nd donations, executive mentorship, board opportunities, broader access to the business community, and enhanced volunteer resources are just a few benefits that support a community organization’s commitment to workforce development.

Properly positioned, a coordinated and strategic partnership between a corporation and community organization can help support the regional talent pipeline that will power the Space Coast of the future.

Anne Conroy-Baiter is president of Junior Achievement of the Space Coast. She can be reached at 321.777.0982 or