The Sussex & District Chamber of Commerce and Crosswinds Employment Services said a job fair Thursday featured 16 employers and about 80 job seekers.Andrew Bates, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After a spring community roundtable brought together service groups in Sussex to talk about issues facing non-profits, groups will meet again this week to check on their progress

The Sussex & District Chamber of Commerce, United Way for Saint John, Kings & Charlotte and Horizon Health Network will host the community roundtable event Sept. 21 at 11 a.m. at the former Sussex Corner town hall.

According to the chamber’s executive director, Vanessa Coggan, a first event in the spring identified issues including “lack of capacity among many non-profits and community organizations either due to time or resources.”

“From that challenge also stems the biggest opportunity which is the progress that we can make when we work together by combining our resources,” she said in an email. “The collaboration that starts at these roundtables is so beneficial.”

In the spring, service groups identified community awareness of programs, sharing of funding opportunities, volunteer recruitment and retention and youth programming support as issues. 

“We have done a couple of things to address some of these issues and look forward to hearing if there were any positive impacts,” Coggan said. She noted a volunteer expo in July, hosted with the United Way and the Multicultural Association of Sussex, as well as funding from Horizon’s Community Innovation Grant for no-cost addition for non-profits to the chamber directory.

The chamber also hosted a job fair last Thursday with Crosswinds Employment Services that featured 16 employers and about 80 job seekers, with volunteers from the Multicultural Association of Sussex to help newcomers.

“Things went very well. Employers were especially pleased and have said that it gets better and better every year,” Julia Mitton, job counsellor with Crosswinds, said in an email. She said there are a lot of job opportunities, making it encouraging for those entering or re-entering the market.

“We have heard as recently as last week that some businesses struggling to fill their staffing needs,” Coggan said.

The event addresses the chamber’s purpose of “community prosperity,” which Coggan described as a “circular” concept where success for the business community feeds community well-being, and so on.

“When the business committee is doing well, their economic contributions positively affect things like our hospital and schools, and they can support and sponsor things like children’s activities,” she said. “In turn, when the community is doing well, they are more able to shop and support our local businesses.”

Lunch is provided at no cost for the first two representatives at the roundtable. Information for registration is available at

By Andrew Bates, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 20, 2023 at 15:13

This item reprinted with permission from   Telegraph-Journal   Saint John, New Brunswick
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