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Billings Chamber looks to diversity training to fill job openings

Chamber DEI.jpg
Posted at 7:47 AM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 09:52:35-05

BILLINGS - The Billings Chamber of Commerce held its graduation for its Diversity Equity Inclusion Implementation program.

The ceremony included 51 graduates from 18 Different companies at the Northern Hotel on Wednesday.

Kris Carpenter, owner of Sanctuary Spa, talked about attracting and recruting a diverse workforce.

"What are the growing populations?" Carpenter asked. "They are minorities and if we don't reach out and start understanding and draw them in to be in our business world. We're missing out on a lot of great employees."

"Right now, we're very concerned about attracting employees," said Mike Nelson, Northern Hotel owner. "I think everybody knows that. There's a workforce shortage and Billings needs to be welcoming to all folks."

Nelson is one of the 51 business leaders who completed the eight month long program.

"Billings is not as diverse as other places and so there are some issues that come along with that," Nelson said. "Namely, a lot of us don't know what we don't know."

The chamber honored 51 people from 18 organizations that employ more than 13,000 in Billings .

William Henry led the program designed to help companies grow and develop.

"William does this around the country," said John Brewer, Billings Chamber president and C.E.O. "So we were lucky he's here because without him, we would be struggling to find that talent that can help do the training."

Brewer also said these diversity equity inclusion ideas, help businesses retain employees.

"Our board of directors right now feels that this is probably the most meaningful work we've ever done in our 125 years as a chamber," Brewer said. "Because it really is inviting everybody to the table. It's listening to voices and it's taking us to that next step."