Skip to content

President's Message

November 2022

From the Business Perspective Newsletter

The Time is NOW!

Last month the Chamber celebrated an historic first.

We announced that 39 local businesses have pledged $2.34 million toward a $3 million goal to invest in a five-year workforce, community and economic development strategic initiative. Why?

Our plan addresses critical pain points. These include:
• Talent. Employers are facing serious workforce shortages.
• Jobs. Overland Park has aging office stock, slowing growth rates and lower household income compared to benchmark communities.
• Business climate. Anti-business actions, regulations and rhetoric can stifle investment and growth.

Overland Park’s business community has never before comprehensively leveraged its resources to tackle challenges threatening our community’s long-term economic prosperity and quality of life.

The plan is Opportunity NOW. When fully funded, the Chamber will dedicate new staff and more resources to execute specific strategies, tactics and programs around three equally important and interconnected goals. These are:

Goal 1: Attract, Retain and Align Talent – A dedicated staff team will tackle what many of you have told us is your top priority – finding and retaining the best talent. We’ll do this by determining who’s participating (and not) in the workforce and why. Then we can address existing barriers such as lack of childcare, housing or transportation. We’ll connect businesses to programs to help increase their pipeline and enhance DEI goals. We’ll also provide customized concierge services to assist with attracting and retaining your team. These services work in conjunction, not competition, with our critical partners such as our educators, Workforce Partnership, KCADC and Kansas Department of Commerce. We’re also creating a Trailing Partners program because T-Mobile and others have told us that making job connections for these partners can be the deal-maker when recruiting top talent from outside our market.

Goal 2: Boost Job Growth & Business Investment – Leveraging the new KCI will enhance our ability to market Overland Park to our target industries. Attracting new business is important, but listening and responding to existing businesses is critical. We’ll amplify retention and expansion efforts by engaging their non-local headquarters. Additionally, we’ll ramp up our support for small businesses and entrepreneurs, especially resources for minority-owned businesses. While Overland Park is a relatively young city, it’s important to remember we have commercial areas and office stock approaching middle age, with a talent pool demanding more amenities. Therefore, we must advocate and drive reinvestment and development that ensures Overland Park’s stature as the best place to live, work and visit.

Goal 3: Enhance Business Environment – Businesses have many choices to locate, so we must offer an environment that fosters economic prosperity. We’ve been your “Voice of Business” for more than 50 years, so we’re going to super-charge those efforts - particularly at the local level - to ensure you know what is happening that impacts your business and neighborhood. We’ll ensure policymakers understand our business climate’s impact on location, expansion and investment decisions. We’ll identify and support pro-business candidates and educate voters about the link between Overland Park’s high quality of life and our economic climate.

To learn more about how we’re moving the needle on talent, jobs and business climate, contact me at

The time is NOW for this opportunity.

Tracey Osborne Oltjen

written by

Tracey Osborne Oltjen, CCE, IOM

President & CEO