Chamber President Paul Nolan flew the flag for Waterford in Washington as he joined a delegation led by HE Ambassador Claire Cronin, US Ambassador to Ireland. Chamber representatives from Cork, Galway, Kildare and Dublin Chambers were also among the group who attended the Select USA gathering.
As well as seminars, talks, lectures and speed networking, the delegation were invited to social evening events at a downtown legal firm and the Irish Ambassador’s residence.
According to Mr Nolan, “It was a great opportunity to see US states promoting their interest in FDI and explaining what they can offer. Hearing from top politicians and business leaders it is clear that they are facing similar issues as ourselves.
“Attracting talent and skills shortage remains high on the agenda. There is a focus on supporting women in the workplace and encouraging women back to work by addressing issues like childcare, housing and education.
“Many US companies are working on the potential for collaboration with their local third level education providers. In order to scope modules, specific to their requirements for both current and future employees – something that Waterford firms have long been doing with SETU and its predecessor WIT.”
Paul Nolan believes that there is a unique opportunity for firms with bases in both Waterford and the US, with the assistance of Chamber, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to build on these initiatives to provide employees with semesters in both locations.
He affirms that this cross cultural experience would further strengthen the quality of the workforce, as well as aiding retention and enhanced career paths.
“Business potential for Irish firms continues and whilst being Irish opens doors with ease, Irish firms looking to the US market need to know the finer details of the business ‘’system’’ and there is plenty of state and private advice available in that regard.
“This was Waterford’s first time taking part in Select USA and I believe there is great opportunity there for Waterford companies and Chamber will look at leading a delegation of our own members, which would include the Select USA event.
“The door is now open and we will use this opportunity to promote Waterford as a great place to study, work and invest.”