(COLORADO SPRINGS) — In 2022, the Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation (EDC) launched the ‘Hello Colorado Springs’ program, which brings in talent from all over the country to see the beauty of Pikes Peak and continue working in the region.

“Our region has everything from the arts to sports to entertainment to nightlife and we want our young professionals to know that we’re a place that you not only want to work, but you also want to live and build a life with the switchbacks and the hockey stadium and with our amphitheater coming online,” President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer, said. “It is booming and we want to make sure that our young people, people get that exposure while they’re here in town for a short time..

This year, more than 70 young professionals participated in the program and were all celebrated on Thursday evening at Cave of the Winds.

“This summer we had over 70 young professionals in our region that came from 16 states and three countries to explore and fall in love with Colorado Springs in El Paso County,” Kleymer said. “We were honored to offer the social and professional programming that was the wraparound services while they worked here in the Colorado Springs area.”

The program connects young professionals with companies in Southern Colorado and helps them find affordable housing in downtown Colorado Springs. There were more than 70 participants from across 13 states and three countries.

One young professional, Etienne Malard’hie, traveled from France to take part in the talent program.

“I’m making apprenticeship in France, so I’m working with the company in France and they have a contact with a company here,” Malard’hie said. “So that’s why I’m here now.”

This is the first time Malard’hie has ever visited the United States with Colorado Springs being his home for the summer.

“I love downtown,” Malard’hie said. “I like all the restaurants and people are so nice here, so that’s really cool.”

This year the program attracted 15 companies from different industries including Kratos, UC Health, Entegris, and Boeing.

The Director for Strategic Business Development at Kratos Defense, Roland Rainey, said the company was able to host 26 young professionals and show them all the city of Colorado Springs has to offer.

“Young talent is critical, is critical to our future, as critical to the growth of the industry,” Rainey said. “So, the more we can keep reaching out and not just bring them in just into the program, but also have them connected to the community.”

Rainey emphasized the need to attract young talent to the Pikes Peak region specifically in the aerospace and tech industry.

“I think it’s very important that our aerospace and tech industry get heavily involved in this program, because the more we recruit young professional talent in this booming industry, the better off we’re going to be attracting that talent for the future of Colorado Springs and hopes that this young talent will stay and actually grow a future here with their families,” said Rainey.

A goal of the talent program is to show the growth of the city of Colorado Springs and the types of jobs available for young professionals.

“We’re a community that’s welcoming to all, but we particularly have lots of job openings in aerospace and defense, in cyber security, in software development, and in advanced manufacturing,” Kleyemer said. “Those are areas that young people are interested in, we’ve got a job for them.”

Cave of the Winds was filled with smiling young professionals and hopefully, what will be the newest employees in Colorado Springs.

“The one thing I would tell you is that Colorado Springs is not just a thriving city here in Colorado, but we are a thriving city in this nation,” said Rainey.