By Michaela Kron

The Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce has reached out to various organizations over the years and formed partnerships to enhance the business skills of the Perimeter-area work force.

The Chamber now is partnering with Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business to promote joint initiatives such as lunch-and-learn seminars, after-hours networking and discounted rates for continuing education courses at Georgia State’s Peachtree-Dunwoody Center in Sandy Springs at the Palisades office park, 5909 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road.

Starting this fall, the partnership will allow Chamber members to learn strategies such as how to effectively market their businesses and enhance their financial and communication skills.

Many of the seminars and speaking engagements will focus on current issues relevant to the business community. Among the speakers the Chamber hopes to host is Jason Aldrich, the director of Robinson’s Career Management Center, who will address effective strategies for job searching in the current economy.

Another aim of the partnership is to make the community aware of the university’s Peachtree-Dunwoody Center, which opened in January and will host various events for the Chamber in addition to offering them professional M.B.A. courses.

Lindsay Kling, the Chamber’s communications manager and a member of its 400 Club for professionals ages 24 to 39, said continuing education seems “out of reach” for many young professionals, but the partnership will present it as both attainable and affordable.

“I think in partnering with the Robinson School, it will open their eyes and their minds,” Kling said.

The 400 Club will work with Robinson to select faculty members as speakers at Chamber meetings and seminars. Additionally, 400 Club members will encourage Robinson alumni in the Perimeter area to become involved in the Chamber.

Chamber Chairwoman Debbie Goldman views the partnership as a “total community-involved initiative.” She said the Chamber creates a strong link between businesses and the community.

“We see ourselves as the liaison for bringing all of the different facets of the community together,” Goldman said. “We have a lot of momentum.”

Toby McChesney, the director of Robinson’s professional M.B.A. program, said the partnership will be ideal for networking and could increase job prospects for those involved.

“In this type of economy, it’s a great way to get your name out there and bring the community together,” he said. “Down the road, the partnership will prove useful for members of the Chamber.”

McChesney said that although the partnership is in its initial stages, he expects it to be “a strong partnership and a great location.”

Kling and other Chamber members also have high hopes for the initiative.

“We are extremely excited about it,” she said. “We really want it to be a mutually beneficial relationship.”