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As the city of Hamilton transitions from a manufacturing based sector to a service based sector, the chamber will undoubtedly play a critical role in helping businesses adapt to the changing landscape.
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He can bring immediate value to the table. Control systems specialist Mahmood AL-Imam (pictured above), a recent arrival from Malaysia, was one of seven internationally trained engineers who presented their credentials and accomplishments at the Hamilton Chamber’s Passport to Engineering Showcase on August 29.
His professional background in the fields of surgical robotics and light rail transit match areas of growth in our local and regional economies. The challenge is securing quality career opportunities in Canada, ideally Hamilton based.
The showcase event, in combination with other practical aids offered by the Chamber’s Diversity Works program led by Maher Hamade, is helping bridge the gap between newcomer engineers and prospective employers — a gap that continues to keep certain world class talent on the sidelines of our economy.
Other showcase presenters were equally remarkable, including internationally trained engineers with specializations in aerospace, digital image systems, water resource management and transportation infrastructure.
Tarif Korabi, a retired vice president with Hatch Ltd. and a former Hamilton Chamber board member, moderated the showcase event. He also worked with the presenters in advance to craft outcomes based messages that appeal to high tech employers, such as revenue generation, innovation and results.
Korabi was clearly impressed by the quality of Hamilton’s internationally trained engineering community. And he’s confident all of the presenters will find a place in the domestic labour market. The keys are focus and persistence, along with support from the helping hands at Diversity Works.
At the front of the charge is OCC president and CEO Allan O’Dette (pictured at left). He was in Hamilton yesterday to kick off a local event focused on identifying Hamilton’s economic priorities in the context of creating a more productive and prosperous Ontario.
For O’Dette, it all begins by helping companies grow their top line revenues — a breath of fresh air in these austerity-minded times. And to make this happen, the OCC is rolling out a provincial strategy based on five pillars: productivity | workforce development | fiscal balance | global opportunities | competitive advantage.
“The Emerging Stronger strategy is designed to harness our collective ambition as a province,” said O’Dette, noting the need to build a more competitive economy, community by community.
The strategy — developed through multi-stakeholder consultations and delivered by the OCC’s Ontario Economic Summit — requires grassroots buy in and implementation to be successful. Hence the OCC’s outreach to its network of 160 chambers and boards of trade across Ontario. Within this network, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is a key partner routinely at the forefront of pan-provincial opportunities and challenges.
Yesterday’s local event was hosted by the Hamilton Chamber and attracted more than 60 community leaders from all sectors of our economy.
Hamilton has a leg up on many other communities participating in the OCC’s regional engagement campaign. We have outputs from the annual Hamilton Economic Summit dating from 2009. So a decision was made to build on priorities arising from this year’s local summit.
Attendees worked in teams to define provincially significant economic actions in five predefined areas that mirror Hamilton’s strengths: education, creative industries, health sciences, advanced manufacturing, and transportation.
As the teams reported out on their proposed actions, one heard several recurrent themes, including the importance of leveraging the work of existing organizations, the need to build a local ecosystem conducive to knowledge intensive businesses, and the imperative to connect Hamilton more fully to a growing regional and global economy. Details to follow in a subsequent blog post.
It also became clear that the Hamilton Chamber is well positioned to ‘quarterback’ several initiatives, including work on a Nov. 1 forum to help commercialize innovations arising from our local health sciences sector.
Looking forward, the OCC will provide attendees with a report from yesterday’s session as it works toward presenting Hamilton’s economic priorities during an Ontario town hall forum at this year’s Ontario Economic Summit, Nov. 6-8, 2012.
Contact David Adames at
| 905-522-1151 x 229
The Hamilton Chamber is proud to be working with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in hosting a Regional Economic Series Roundtable. Over 60 business executives will attend the session to provide input to the Ontario Chamber's Emerging Stronger document - an economic blueprint for Ontario. We will also be reflecting on the Hamilton Chamber's five priorities from this year's Hamilton Economic Summit.
On Thursday August 23, from 5:30-7:30pm, the August Business after Business will be held at the new Staybridge Suites hotel on Caroline Street. Come out to meet with your Chamber colleagues and view this beautiful new downtown hotel property.