The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is on the move. As we gear up for the Home and Leisure Show the organization has now passed the 190-member mark and continues to climb.

We would like to welcome this month’s new Chamber members: E.L. Vining, General Storage, AAA Travel & Insurance, American Forestry Management, Morning Sentinel and Western Play Maine Museum. More and more businesses are seeing the benefit of being a part of something larger. The more we join forces and work together, the stronger we will become.

The Chamber continues to work on two major goals this year: to improve on collaboration between organizations with similar values and goals as well as to create stronger ties between how we educate our future workforce and the businesses that will employ them. Here’s the progress we are making in these two areas:


We have established a reciprocating membership for neighboring Chambers. I mentioned last month about our work with the Jay and Livermore Falls Chamber as well as the Farmington Downtown Association. In the next month we plan to meet with the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce as well as the Flagstaff Area Business Association to continue in this direction.

Earlier this year, the Chamber board voted to grant reciprocating membership for these organizations. This will allow us to cooperate on promoting events on each other’s social media sites, provide open invitations to attend events and share the vision of improving the economic stability of both Franklin County and surrounding areas in this great state we live in.


Educational connections

The other goal was to provide a stronger tie between education and business. Our recent Business After Hours was held at the University of Maine at Farmington. College President Kathryn Foster highlighted some of the innovative ways that UMF is connecting their students with the community.

We heard a presentation from some UMF students about a three-class project called “Farmington Soup” Co-lab. More information about this project can be found in a separate article.

Another Business After Hours will be held at the Mt. Blue Campus in collaboration with the Franklin County Community College Network, WMCA Career Center and Greater Franklin Development Corporation. They will be providing information about a Maine Development Foundation program called “SMART Assets” (don’t try to say that 10 times fast). Both these BAH events are helping to bring together students in our educational institutions with our local businesses.

Business and organizational tours of MBC

With the assistance of Patty Ladd (WMCA Career Center), Alison Hagerstrom (Greater Franklin Dev. Corp.), Betty Gensel (Franklin County Community College Network) and Penny Meservier (Chamber executive director), I have been giving tours of the Mt. Blue Campus on the first Thursday of every month starting at 9:30 a.m. These folks have organized many businesses and organizations to come tour the facilities.


I provide these tours as not only the director of Foster CTE Center, but also as the president of the Chamber. Once folks make the tour, they realize that it’s about much more than the facilities we showcase — it’s about the programs being offered and what the students are learning. This has resulted in some students being interviewed for jobs, material donations and program involvement with area business and civic endeavors.

The tours last from 9:30 a.m. until 11:15 a.m. Lunch is provided by our Culinary Arts program, student-run café. If you are interested in joining us, please call Foster CTE Center office at 207-778-3562. We would be glad to have you come along.

Glenn Kapiloff, President

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce

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