Each year, the Chamber delivers more than 25 events and programs linking our members to people, resources and information to grow business opportunities and create a better Upstate New York.
Business After Hours
Business After Hours is the North Country’s premier monthly networking event. We offer different members the opportunity to host, sponsor, and co-sponsor this event. We draw between two and three hundred business people to this event most months. It’s a great opportunity for our members to feature their facilities and highlight their businesses. The valuable networking is enhanced with hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and prizes creating a social atmosphere.
Workforce 2020 is held annually in partnership with Jefferson Lewis BOCES, The WorkPlace, JCJDC, North Country Human Resources Association and Jefferson Community College. This program gives area high school students some interviewing experience, and at the same time, addresses one of our most important workforce issues - the loss of our college educated young adults to larger metropolitan areas. By showing students that there are many interesting and good paying careers available in the North Country, we hope that our young people will recognize that they can make a good living here in our community. This event program brings high school seniors from throughout the region together with businesses to talk about a variety of career opportunities in the North Country. The students will also have an opportunity to present themselves in an interview setting and to receive constructive feedback from the businesses they meet with.
Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award
The award was established by Arnold I. Shapiro to honor the memory of his father, a long time business leader in this community. A director of the Chamber at the time of his father’s death in 1952, Mr. Shapiro sensed a need in Watertown for a symbolic annual recognition of exceptional leadership on behalf of our city. Over the years, the award has been presented to many deserving individuals for their contributions and service to our community. The award is made on the basis of outstanding citizenship or for outstanding contribution in civic or social welfare activity. Entries are judged in five key areas – outstanding citizenship, achievement, leadership, dedication, and motivation. The award is presented to the recipient at the Chamber’s annual dinner in February.
Job and Career Expo
The Job and Career Expo, held in early March every year, is a partnership between our Chamber and The WorkPlace. This is a premier hiring event bringing nearly 100 employers together with well over 1000 job seekers. Both members and non-members are welcome to purchase booth space at this event.
Armed Forces Day Luncheon
Held in conjunction with Rotary Club of Watertown, this is an excellent means for our local businesses to pay tribute to and thank our men and women of the armed forces. Tickets are purchased by businesses and donated to personnel from all branches of our military. Our members and other business people purchase tickets to attend as well. We have a formal program including volunteers from Fort Drum. It is a very patriotic day, and a wonderful way to connect our local organizations with members of our armed forces.
Greater Watertown-North Country Farm & Craft Market
Every Wednesday from late May to early October our Chamber has conducted a weekly market from the State Office Building Plaza down Washington Street to the Morgan Stanley Building. We offer a wide variety of farm and craft products including the best in local fruits and vegetables, flowers and garden plants, baked goods, handmade crafts and jewelry, local works of art, and much more. Come for the fun and unique shopping experience and stay for the many great food vendors serving up their delicious local flavor.
The Athena Award® is presented to an individual who is recognized for professional excellence, for providing valuable service to their community and for actively assisting women in realizing their full leadership potential. The award was first presented in 1982 in Lansing, Michigan. To date there have been over 5,000 recipients in over 500 communities in the United States as well as Canada, China, Russia, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The award is presented annually at the Chamber’s fall dinner, held in September.
Jefferson Leadership Institute
The Jefferson Leadership Institute is a leadership development program that immerses participants in community issues through eleven full-day sessions. The curriculum enables participants to develop their leadership capabilities build strong relationships and encourage involvement in affecting positive change in the community. Established in 1991, an average class size of 20 each year has led to over 400 people who are now part of our growing alumni.
Business Networking Expo
The Chamber’s annual Business Expo is the North Country’s largest Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer trade show. Businesses set up booths and exhibit and promote their products and services. Both members and non-members are welcome. We offer discounted rates to our members and also for early bird registration. This is a great opportunity to showcase products and services to people of our area.
Business of the Year Award
The Business of the Year Award is presented to a business able to demonstrate outstanding leadership and vision, successful performance and substantial growth, and able to serve as an inspiration to other businesses. The award is designed to recognize and reward a Jefferson County business that has invested in the region by creating economic success in the Greater Watertown area. Businesses are encouraged to apply directly for the award. In addition, other companies, chambers, and associations may nominate a business that meets the criteria.
Our Chamber’s quarterly Speaker Series brings in guest speakers on current issues important to our membership and other businesses in our region. Topics include political information, health insurance reform and related issues, strategic planning, and an economic forecast. The event is typically held over a breakfast gathering.
Jefferson Leadership Institute
The Jefferson Leadership Institute is a leadership development program that immerses participants in community issues through twelve full day sessions that run from September through June. The curriculum enables participants to develop their leadership capabilities, build strong relationships and encourages involvement in effecting positive change in the community.
The program was formulated in 1991 when a number of community leaders recognized that the same few people were serving on many Boards, and that major community decisions were being made by a very small group of people. They recognized that the future of the Jefferson County area is directly linked to the quality of its leadership, and that dedicated, trained and motivated community leaders shape and determine the future of the region. The “founders” decided that a leadership program was needed to teach and cultivate new community leaders, and to help move those participants into important positions within the community.
The JLI program was modeled after several existing leadership programs, and over the years has been modified to best suit the specific needs of our county. It is organized and coordinated by the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, a well-respected, countywide business association, with staff specifically dedicated to its implementation. The curriculum includes an overnight retreat where the new class has the opportunity to get to know each other and to learn about the concepts of group dynamics and individual leadership skills within a group setting. Over the next few months, the class participates in discussions with recognized authorities, site visits, and analysis of issues of community concern in education, healthcare, media and telecommunications, government, tourism, non-profit organizations, agriculture, history, economic development, and the significance of Fort Drum to the region. One class focuses on the skills needed to be an effective leader, and includes a mock board meeting. Throughout the year, the class learns critical skills, such as collaboration, visioning, consensus building, and creative problem solving in addressing the needs of the community.
One of the important strategies of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber is to be a provider of education and workforce development services and programs through partnerships with appropriate agencies, organizations and individuals. We and other organizations have are committed in improving the state of our labor pool. The Chamber has focused on these threats and opportunities to develop these ever-growing events:
Job & Career Expo
The Job Fair is the largest in the North Country. An average of 90 businesses participate, many finding qualified workers to fill job openings. For the past three years we have also partnered with the Fort Drum Employment and Training office to make sure that spouses and separating soldiers take advantage of this chance to meet a number of employers. Check the Calendar of Events to see when the next Job Fair is.
In response to the need for more college educated workers, the Chamber created this new program. High school seniors from 18 different school districts meet one-on-one with local business representatives for a mock interview and dialogue on the many great career opportunities that can be found here in Jefferson County. Businesses from over 20 different economic sectors participate, including architecture, engineering, finance, communications and IT, construction, agriculture, education, environmental and animal sciences, the food industry, healthcare, human services, media, energy, manufacturing, mortuary science, retail, tourism, vehicle and aircraft maintenance, transportation, law enforcement and security.
North Country Procurement Technical Assistance Center: Selling to the Government
Technical Assistance Program: A grant program that has been designed to assist businesses sell goods and services to the military and other federal, state, and local government agencies --- understand the basics of government contracting and market fundamentals---learn about bid solicitations, proposals and a wide variety of contracting topics---grow their business by generating sales and creating jobs in Northern New York.