25 Women for 2022: At Chamber, Corrie Melton works to connect students with careers

From the Tallahassee Democrat

Corrie Melton may be best known for her work as the Vice President of Membership and Talent Development at the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, but her roots are in education. As a lifelong Tallahasseean descended from educators, she was a fifth grade teacher when DeSoto Trail Elementary School opened its doors.

As you get to know her, it’s clear how her commitment to education feeds into her work at the Chamber and for our community as a whole, and why she has been selected as one of Tallahassee’s 25 Women You Need to Know.

As a co-founder of ASPIRE Capital Region, a collective impact that leverages the assets of partner organizations and community stakeholders to bridge the education and workforce gaps, Melton works to connect students with career opportunities in the region.

“ASPIRE is a local college access network, and we are one of 17 in Florida,” she says. “Our goal is to make graduating from high school a starting line, not the finish. We want to help students see themselves in career pathways that can grow, and actually help them get there.”

And, stay here. “At the Chamber we decided to start making talent and workforce development one of our major priorities,” Melton says. “Most of our businesses in Tallahassee are small, and people are wearing many hats. We need to be part of the process to bring and keep a workforce here.”

She is a champion of Tallahassee both at work and at home. She has launched talent and workforce development initiatives, securing a coveted spot for the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management Academy Cohort XII, and launched Tech Talent Collaborative and Healthcare Talent Collaborative — pipeline initiatives that engage students with the business community.

She is chair of the CareerSource Capital Region Business and Professional Advisory Committee and one of the founding members of Tallahassee’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

Melton’s focus is on collaboration, earning grants towards community initiatives to make Tallahassee a better place to live and work. “The most exciting part of my work is to see so many people who would normally be in silos come together,” she said.

She believes in Tallahassee, and knows that the community can be a place where everyone is successful. “We are a resource-rich community, and we can create new systems that benefit everyone.”

She sees disparities in underserved populations who need help navigating the path to higher education and works to put the processes in place to support them. “We’re two years in and have a ways to go, but are starting to make some headway.”

Melton looks at the big picture. “We can see that many of our systems are working fine, but they’re outdated.” She has co-facilitated a collaborative cross-sector group of community, business, nonprofit, education, state legislators, and industry stakeholders to develop a plan to fill the community’s workforce needs.

“When we put our heads together and our cards on the table, we are going to be the talent capital of Florida, and we really mean it,” she says.

“Tallahassee has always been a great place, but I’m excited about what’s ahead. We’re creating a cool factor!” She and her family love the outdoors, and you might see her happily mowing her lawn or visiting nearby beaches and hiking trails. “When people say there isn’t anything to do here, I want to take them,” she says.

They’d be smart to go, because Melton’s perspective on Tallahassee is worth seeing. From the classroom to the workplace, we are in good hands with Melton teaching us how to think big.