Group for young professionals to launch

Many young adults leave the Kenai Peninsula, but the Kenai Chamber of Commerce plans to give them another reason to stay.

The organization intends to start a networking group for young professionals on the peninsula. Adults between 21 and 39 will be able to join the group for events and networking, according to Pamela Parker, the Kenai Chamber of Commerce coordinator for the group.

“The goal is to get savvy business professionals engaged in the community and staying in the Kenai area,” Parker said. “And to get people really enjoying staying here because they have that group of people their own age to network with and do things with.”

Young adults often migrate up to Anchorage or out of state — some for college, some for work and some for a different social scene. The average age in the Kenai Peninsula Borough is a little over 40, and many rural communities worldwide face the problem of young outmigration. Southcentral Alaska has the most residents older than 60 in the state, according to the Alaska Commission on Aging.

Parker said she noticed there was no established group in the area for young adults to socialize.

Johna Beech, the president and chief operating officer of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, said she had thought of the need for a group before and the idea arose again after she attended a conference in Anchorage. They plan to launch the group later this month, she said.

“People at these conferences talk about generations in the workforce — some people say we have five generations in the workforce, some people say we have four generations in the workforce, and the one generation that seems to be hanging out there is the millennial generation,” Beech said.

The group is under the umbrella of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce but will have its own advisory council to help determine a direction and what kind of events the members are most interested in, Parker said. There are no parameters on who can join other than age, she said.

The chamber is planning to do a kickoff event followed by networking luncheons and any other event the advisory council decides the group wants to pursue, Parker said.

Updates will be sent out via email and through a Facebook page, and some information will be available on the Kenai Chamber of Commerce’s website, Parker said.

Many young people want to be supported and able to network when they enter the workplace, and the new group will give them the opportunity to do that, she said.

“It’s sort of synonymous with the chamber’s message,” Beech said.


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