Skip to content

Voice of Business Blog

Investing in our Future: Celebrating Young Professionals in Greater Rochester

June 17, 2024

The Greater Rochester region has long been a hub for innovation and technology. Our community has reinvented itself over the years to stay relevant, and forward-thinking young professionals have always been at the forefront of these changes.

Throughout history, Greater Rochester’s most iconic claims to fame have been spearheaded by young professionals. Frederick Douglass was only 29 years old when he started publishing The North Star in 1847, helping to secure Rochester’s place in history as a hub for social and political movements. In the birthplace of the women’s rights movement, Susan B. Anthony was just 32 when she helped to organize a National Women’s Rights Convention in 1852. And, George Eastman was only 27 in 1881 when he partnered with Henry Strong to found what would go on to become Kodak, ensuring that our region would be on the cutting edge for optics technology to this day. These trailblazers have come to be some of our region’s most iconic names in history, and their legacies began early on.

Today, organizations throughout the Greater Rochester region are working to support the development of young professionals to help kickstart careers and ensure our community stays iconic for generations to come. Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is proud to be one of those organizations, offering a multitude of training opportunities, recognition celebrations, and workforce development opportunities for young professionals. Of course, our IGNITE Award celebrates young professionals who are making a difference, as does our ATHENA Young Professional Award, specifically for women. These programs are designed to help recognize those early in their career who are moving the needle, open new doors to expand their reach, and inspire other young professionals throughout Greater Rochester.

On the professional development side, our CLIMB program is a comprehensive nine-month program for young professionals in Greater Rochester that fosters inclusive leadership skills, enhances business acumen, and cultivates personal and professional growth. Further, our CampusROC program helps to kickstart the careers of students from our region’s eighteen colleges and universities and keep the great talent these universities produce in our community.

Jump Starting America, led by researchers from MIT, has named Greater Rochester the number-one metro for future technology growth in the United States. This is in no small part thanks to the young professionals in our region contributing to key metrics for success and propelling our region forward. Forbes found that Generation Z’s “unique blend of attributes and values is upending existing paradigms and paving the way for a more adaptable, inclusive and innovative corporate world,” and I am eager to see the ways that this generation of young professionals continues to push our region as a hub for technology and progress.

Greater Rochester Chamber would also like to take a moment to thank our sponsors of the 2024 IGNITE Award for their steadfast support of young professionals. We would not be able to deliver awards and content like this to our community without their support, and the support of all of our attendees. Congratulations to each of our twelve finalists, your journeys are inspiring and we can’t wait to see what’s next for each of you.

From groundbreaking startups to impactful community initiatives, the young professionals of Greater Rochester are not just participants in the local economy—they are, and always have been, the driving force propelling it forward. Let’s continue to recognize, invest in, and celebrate this.

This column originally appeared in the 2024 Greater Rochester Chamber IGNITE Award Publication on 6.6.24.


Scroll To Top