Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce efforts include employee retention

The chamber offers programs in response to business needs.

Young Professionals 2023.jpg
Members of the Young Professionals of Jamestown hear more about opportunities for Jamestown. The Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce works to provide programming requested that may also help with efforts to retain workers in the community.
Contributed / Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce

Editor's note: This story is advertorial content as part of the 2023 Jamestown Sun Progress Edition on "Business, Workforce, Retention."

JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce works to help businesses retain employees, says Mike Delfs, president of the board of directors.

Delfs, who is also president and CEO of Jamestown Regional Medical Center, says all businesses in Jamestown are struggling to some degree with workforce, whether it’s recruiting or retaining employees. He said most have focused on recruiting.

“So we’ve thrown money at the problem, we’ve given wages that three years ago none of us would have ever dreamt of giving, we’ve given sign-on bonuses in some cases, etc.,” he said. “The problem, though, is that we all kind of do the same things to get people in the doors. It’s what do you do to keep them inside.”

I would say that the chamber has responded to the hardest part about employment right now which is retention.
Mike Delfs, president, Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Engagement and fulfillment are key to retention, he said, and the chamber helps by offering
what he calls “developmental programs,” such as learning a practical skill related to a job or expanded duties or other information. Those have ranged from a Microsoft Excel course to a presentation on visa programs to get workers here.


“The strength of the chamber program to me is really about that,” Delfs said. “It’s about offering development opportunities so that people stay as opposed to go find a new job.”

He said people who have options tend to be “much happier people in terms of being employees and good team members and providing really great customer service.”

While the chamber has offered educational programs for years, Delf said programs have become “far more focused” in the last several years based upon business needs and feedback from employees and employers.

The chamber board has played a role, he said.

“The board is a great resource because everyone on the board either works in a business, manages a business or owns a business so that’s a great to group to start with, to say ‘what are your struggles with recruiting and retaining,’ and then we also do that through committees as well,” he said, such as Young Professionals of Jamestown.

“We ask those questions,” Delfs said. “‘What do you need to continue to be successful? What do you need to stay here in Jamestown.’”

They also work with programs at the high school and college level, he said.

Delfs said everyone gets caught up in trying to fill openings and he believes that’s the wrong approach.


“Your focus needs to be on once you have an employee, how do you retain them, how do you make sure that they’re happy in their job, that they’re a good team member, that they’re finding fulfillment,” he said. “These programs really are a bridge to be able to do that. I would say that the chamber has responded to the hardest part about employment right now which is retention.”

Kathy Steiner has been the editor of The Jamestown Sun since 1995. She graduated from Valley City State College with a bachelor's degree in English and studied mass communications at North Dakota State University, Fargo. She reports on business, government and community topics in the Jamestown area. Reach her at 701-952-8449 or
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