MISSOULA – The Missoula Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed in their new board chair Jason Rice who took over for the previous chair Will Johnson.
Each year brings a new chair of the board to the Chamber and while you would think that would mean a new direction for each new leader, it’s actually quite the opposite.
“My stance is to not make a lot of changes a lot of what we do is longer-term and having a new chair every year is difficult for an organization like this,” Rice said.
“So my goal is to stay consistent and a lot of the goals we have been working on over the last few years aren’t things that are one and done,” he added.
The Chamber’s goal is to promote business growth in Missoula and one aspect of that is helping to provide and maintain a labor force.
“When it comes to available workforce, it’s just all the little bits and pieces taking folks that have not been able to be in the workforce and trying to get them back and then also trying to get people steered into careers that will be good for Missoula moving forward,” Rice said.
There are many obstacles to grow a workforce in the Garden City such as living expenses, wage growth, childcare and one of the bigger issues facing Missoula affordable housing.
“Housing is. There are little bits and pieces…it’s very, very complicated, so that’s an area that’s actually requiring quite a bit of collaboration that’s not an area that’s typically a Chambers concern,” Rice told MTN News.
“But because its affecting workforce we are just participating with other organizations in Missoula to help find ways to make it better,” he added.
Rice will work closely with current CEO and President of the Chamber Kim Latrielle, who says he’s a great fit for the position.
“So Jason has a great mind great with. He’s fair to his employees and he’s a community leader, so for me — what a great gift that I’ve been given to be able to work with another great leader for a year to learn from him and hopefully give him some great memories of what it felt like to lead a community for one year,” Latrielle said.
Rice led his first Chamber meeting on Wednesday and Latrielle tells us that they have some big announcements coming up for this year.