17th Annual Residents Reception to focus on workforce development

This year the Hernando County Chamber of Commerce Residents Reception is trading in mermaids and springs for rolling hills and trees in a tranquil academic setting.
“Even with an event that’s 17 years old,” said Hernando County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Patricia Crowley, “when you move it, it’s a big thing.”

On Oct. 27, 2017, the Residents Reception will take place at Pasco Hernando State College’s Spring Hill Campus between 5 and 8 p.m. The event had previously been held at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park for several years. The park is currently undergoing some renovations which has spurred the relocation.

Taking advantage of the PHSC location, Crowley emphasized, “We can actually showcase education and workforce development at the event.”

She explained that workforce development is important for people of all ages in the community, including young adults transitioning from high school to college, those thinking of changing careers and retirees interested in going back to school.

In addition to PHSC programs, educational resources being showcased at the event include:

• Hernando County School District
• St. Leo University
• Suncoast Technical Institute
• ATA Career Education, which is a medical workforce development program
• Bene’s Career Academy (cosmetology)
• Career Source
• AmSkills
• Small Business Development Center (entrepreneurial consulting)

Since its inaugural year, the event’s mission is to “introduce local business to residents of our community,” stated Crowley.

Additionally, with the continuously changing local business landscape, it’s important to do this on an annual basis.

“Whether you’ve lived here a year or several, your business industry changes, hopefully growing,” said Crowley.

The event allows residents to meet new entrepreneurs and businesses she added. “You get the opportunity to start using their services.”

When the event was first created, it was called the New Residents’ Reception. The goal was “to develop shopping patterns locally as opposed to taking shopping habits out of the county,” explained Crowley.

The event grew in size and popularity and eventually they began holding it in both Fall and Spring. After the recession hit, the event was taken back to once a year. Crowley explained that in business, you must be able to adapt to the economic situation and adjust your services accordingly.

This year’s event has a diverse group of vendors on tap in the educational, retail, medical, real estate and dining sectors as well as county government representatives. This is the Chamber’s only event in which vendors must be members of the Hernando County Chamber of Commerce.

Family oriented vendors including I-9 Sports and YMCA will be offering activities for kids at the event. Restaurateurs will provide samplings of their signature dishes. WWJB will have a live broadcast along with Hits 106. Local entertainer Teri Lyons will also be performing.

New home buyers can even sign up for their tax exemption with the Property Appraiser’s Office at the event, but must bring the necessary paperwork. To find out what you need to bring with you, go to https://www.hernandopa-fl.us/PAwebsite/

The Hernando County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with The Arc Nature Coast, the Hernando County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Civil Air Patrol for this event.

“It’s an event that takes 3 to 4 months to plan,” said Crowley. “We’re very fortunate to have great volunteers.”

The event typically brings in over 1,000 attendees and this year should be no exception. “It’s a big community party… and people leave very grateful,” said Crowley.
“It’s always been a great impact for the business community and residents.”

The Spring Hill campus of Pasco Hernando State College is located between Applegate and County Line Rd on the east side of US 19. The address is 450 Beverly Court, Spring Hill.

For more information, go to hernandochamber.com