The Wichita Connect program is designed to boost the talent recruitment and retention efforts of businesses in the Wichita region by matching job candidates from outside the Wichita region with Wichita Ambassadors based on similarities in selected dimensions of diversity. It does this by providing organizations a way to connect their prospective employees to those in the Wichita region who will help them find a sense of belonging before they accept a job. This leads to more candidates who are the best fit for both their role and the Wichita community.
A program of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Wichita Connect is part of a comprehensive approach to increasing diversity and inclusion in the Wichita community and the business members of the Chamber. The program started as a project of a small group of local professionals who participated in Advance Kansas in 2015, as an adaptation of the Diversity Recruitment Consortium in South Carolina. At the conclusion of Advance Kansas, the Wichita Chamber agreed to house the program moving forward, and members of the original team served as the volunteer advisory committee to take it from concept to reality.
The initial planning phase was funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation. Start-up costs were covered by our Founding Partners, Spirit AeroSystems, Cox Communications, and Martin Pringle Attorneys at Law, who contributed to the Chamber’s Centennial Campaign specifically to fund the Chamber’s new focus on diversity & inclusion, an initiative that will shape the Chamber’s next 100 years of advancing the Wichita community.
The program has three primary audiences:
– Individuals in the recruitment process with a local company.
– Ambassadors who want to share their love of community and increase their knowledge of the many cultures present in the Wichita community.
– Businesses and organizations who want to better attract and retain talented professionals.
The technology – website and app – creates the initial connections between Ambassadors and candidates. The in-person opportunities for networking, learning, and experiencing Wichita create long-lasting ties to our community.
The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce: Managing partner; secured initial investments from founding partners; coordinated initial start-up efforts; provides management expertise for Wichita Connect (planning, organizing, management, leadership, steering committee facilitation)