The Union County Young Professionals organization is taking another step forward by launching regular meetings where members can network and learn from one another.
Jason Stanford, business development manager at the Union County Chamber of Commerce, said the nascent group has held occasional social events over the last several years, but nothing on a recurring basis.
"UCYP began organizing in 2009 and officially launched in 2010," he said.
"Final Mondays" will take place on the last Monday of every month. The first meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at Bagel Island, 117 E. Fifth St. in Marysville.
"Our goal is to use Final Mondays as a venue for YPs to start the final week of the month on a positive note," Stanford said. "With all of the meetings scheduled for 8 a.m. on the last Monday of each month, it's a good opportunity to enter the next month refreshed and energized with new ideas and encouragement."
He said the goal of the chamber-affiliated group is to empower young residents and workers.
"Employers of all types are seeking talented, loyal and engaged employees, and UCYP will ultimately help foster those qualities in its members," he said. "Our younger residents are great assets to our community, but they have to have the right opportunities to become engaged, build relationships and share ideas and information with like-minded peers."
Stanford said he hopes the effort will help local businesses and the community in general.
"We need to keep the young people we already have, attract more to the community and keep them engaged," he said.
"There are many goals of UCYP, but among them is the desire to build a community where YPs get to know each other and build lasting relationships."
Stanford said it's also about fighting "brain drain."
"As the future leaders of our community, they must be given the opportunity to grow their networks, establish themselves in the business community and be involved in the community in general," he said. "We have a lot of bright and talented people in our community, and we must keep them here -- and help them to become successful."
Final Mondays will look a lot like meetings of existing business associations, but the focus is strictly on young professionals.
"No matter their profession, UCYP is for 21- to 40-year-olds who feel they can benefit from gathering with their peers," Stanford said.
The meetings will include breakfast and occasional speakers to discuss topics important to YPs, millennials and Generation Y, he said. There will be a mix of personal and professional development topics, sharing of best practices, and personal/professional success stories and failures.
"We are also planning some after-hours social events, too," he added.
"UCYP is an organization for YPs by YPs, so those who become involved with UCYP will really shape the overall direction of the organization," Stanford said.
"We really want to give Union County's young professionals a chance to get together and be themselves," said Casey Converse, co-chair of UCYP. "We have a lot of younger people living and working in Union County, and this is a great opportunity for them to get to know each other and build long-lasting relationships."
Stanford said numerous chambers and communities operate young professional programs, each with a unique focus.
"We established UCYP because we heard from our younger members that they had to leave Union County to find professional and social opportunities," he said. "So the first goal of UCYP was to address that issue.
"It didn't take long to realize that UCYP could be much more and could really help shape the future direction of Union County," he said.
There is no cost to attend Final Mondays, but attendees are asked to RSVP by calling the Union County Chamber of Commerce at 937-642-6279 or by emailing Converse at firstname.lastname@example.org.