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CHAMBER MARKS 65TH YEAR AS COUNTY'S BUSINESS LEADER

CHAMBER MARKS 65TH YEAR AS COUNTY'S BUSINESS LEADER

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The Asheboro / Randolph Chamber of Commerce has just entered its 65th year of service to the county.

``With 600 business and 1,000 individual memberships we are recognized as the leading business organization in Randolph County,' said Walter C. Sprouse Jr., the chamber's executive vice president.``Members work hard and they have a right to be proud of our accomplishments,' Sprouse continued. ``During the past year, we created the Citizens for Excellence in Education Committee which worked for the successful bond vote on the $32 million school bond referendum for the Asheboro City and Randolph County school systems. It was one of our major efforts.

``We conducted the highly successful Jobs Convention in Randolph County for area manufacturers and business organizations. In the early part of the calendar year we identify those high school seniors who will be entering the work force in June. We help them fill out resumes giving their major area of study in high school, their work history and their personal goals.

``We bind these into a book; usually there are some 400 to 500 of them. Companies participating in the program get a copy months before the Jobs Convention which is held in late April, early May. Last year at the convention many graduates-to-be were hired on the spot.'

Sprouse said that the program accomplishes two things: it keeps Randolph County people working in Randolph County, and it assists chamber members looking for good qualified people. ``That project alone is reason enough to join the chamber,' he said.

``We're proud of having sponsored the 'Capitol for a Day' which brought Gov. Jim Martin and various cabinet officers to our area for a day,' Sprouse said. ``They set up shop here and brought state government closer to the people of Randolph County.

``We've taken active stands on national and state issues: we opposed the location of a low-level radioactive waste dump in Randolph County, we supported the $8.6 billion Highway Improvement Plan for our state, and lobbied successfully in favor of the repeal of Section 89 of the Internal Revenue Code which had called for the taxation of benefits such as hospitalization insurance. We felt it would be disastrous for workers and bad for business. In November, Bush abolished it.

``At the chamber we look at upcoming legislation that we feel directly impacts on business in Randolph County and either support or oppose it.

``Last year, too, we printed new four-color brochures on Randolph County and the Seagrove area potters, conducted an annual trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with our state's senators and with Congressman David Price about issues important to Randolph County. And these are only a few of the 100 or so projects undertaken by the chamber,' Sprouse said.

One of the prerequisites of every calendar year at the Chamber of Commerce is the development of a blueprint for each year's work.

Incoming Chamber of Commerce President Jerry M. Bowman said that during 1990 the chamber will concentrate on ``the major issues facing us.'

``My personal goal for 1990,' Bowman said, ``is to work toward the accomplishments of projects that will be the benchmark for the next 10 years.'

The chamber's 1990 Program of Work lists the major projects to be undertaken by the various standing committees. Highlights are:

The development of a long-range, five-year plan for the chamber and for Randolph County;

Promoting the development of ``Tech Prep' courses of study in the Asheboro City and Randolph County schools, with assistance from Randolph Community College;

Administering the Leadership Randolph County program;

Conducting the Job Opportunities Convention in conjunction with the Randolph County Economic Development Corp.;

The development of a Waste Management Task Force for the public and private sector;

Working to emphasize the importance of water ``service corridors' for Randolph County;

Sponsoring the annual trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with the state's senators, Rep. Price and other top elected officials;

Working on issues such as the Governor's veto and freedom of choice for schools;

Conducting a day care study and the presentation of a feasibility report in conjunction with Asheboro City and Randolph County school systems;

Reinstituting the ``Shop Randolph County' campaign with new promotions and new logos.

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