Call with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Jessie Azrilian on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
This coming Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be addressing leaders from the foundation and corporate sector. The conference call on Monday, March 10 at 3:15pm EST will focus on the President’s FY15 Budget proposal, released earlier this week at a preschool in Washington, DC. Secretary Duncan will provide an overview of the Department of Education's budget request and all of the DOE's priorities for the coming year. He will also briefly discuss the President’s recent announcement regarding My Brother’s Keeper, an important new initiative focused on improving outcomes for boys and young men of color.
There will be an opportunity to submit questions at the end of the call.
Monday, March 10, 3:15-3:45pm EST
(Note: you do not need to RSVP)
Tags: education, education attainment division, federal budget, government relations
7 Things Your Small Biz Customers Need to Know About End of Support for Windows XP
Cindy Bates, Vice President of US SMB&D at Microsoft on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
The world looked a lot different when Windows XP was first introduced in 2001 than it does today. Since then, major technology advancements, such as cloud computing and virtualization, have given rise to better collaboration tools, greater mobility and flexibility to work from any location, and improved PC security and management. Now small businesses can leverage the same powerful technologies as large enterprises, at an affordable cost.
With only five months until end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003, you have a timely opportunity to drive meaningful conversations with your small business customers about the benefits of modernizing their OS and productivity solutions, and the risks of not doing so. To help drive urgency around the need to modernize, here are the 7 things your customers need to know now:
- Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 will end on April 8, 2014, meaning there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.
- Without critical security updates, PCs could become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage business data and information.
- Anti-virus software will not be able to fully protect PCs running Windows XP once the OS is no longer supported.
- Businesses that continue to run Windows XP after support ends may be exposed to potential security threats, and may even risk breaching compliance standards depending on the industry in which they operate.
- Getting current with the latest versions of Windows and Office ensures continued support and offers businesses improved productivity and flexibility.
- Updating to Windows 8 Pro and Office 365 are the first steps to getting modern and staying modern. As a subscription service, Office 365 offers continual updates to customers who are subscribed so they are consistently working from the most up-to-date experience available.
- There are many options for SMBs considering moving to a modern PC with the latest productivity and collaboration tools. If their existing PCs meet the system requirements for Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can help them deploy Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Pro. Customers whose PCs do not meet system requirements for Windows 8 will be amazed at the capabilities of Windows 8 Pro on the latest business devices.
My team has developed a host of resources designed to help you have the right conversations and make the transition from XP to the modern OS as seamless as possible for you and your customers. Find marketing and sales support, including special offers for customers still running Windows XP, Office 2003 or Exchange 2003 in the Get Modern campaign on the Microsoft Ready-to-Go Marketing portal. The opportunity is huge, and I wish you much success!
Reposted with permission from Microsoft.
Key Economic Indicators Delivered to Your Inbox
Tania Kohut on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Insperity, a provider of an array of human resources and business solutions to help improve business performance, offers economic infographics titled, The Economy at a Glance, that you can have delivered to your inbox.
Key economic indicators, including unemployment, GDP growth, consumer spending and existing home sales provide a comprehensive snapshot of the U.S. economy at large. The monthly infographic outlines the numbers that matter most to you, your business and your employees. Download the January 2014 Economy at a Glance [infographic]; click here to receive these stats via email each month.
Insperity is an ACCE official corporate sponsor.
Go Ahead, Tell Your Story
Jackie Krawczak, Executive Director, Alpena Area (MI) Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Guest blog entry by Jackie Krawczak, Executive Director, Alpena Area (MI) Chamber of Commerce
When the Alpena Chamber of Commerce was awarded the 2009 Outstanding Chamber of the Year Award in the State of Michigan and was a runner up for the 2010 and 2012 awards, we didn’t just congratulate ourselves at a staff meeting and then hope that others happened to hear about it. Heck no. We promoted it until we were blue in the face. We sent a press release, put it on our letterhead, our Facebook page, and our website. We talked about it. We tweeted about it. We wanted anyone and everyone to know about it.
A business owner said to me the other day that one of their competitors had posted a picture of their staff giving money to a community cause. He told me they had also given money to the same cause but hadn’t thought about taking a photo and sharing the story.
I was at an organization’s board meeting last week and the directors were discussing their frustration that many people didn’t know that they had played a key role in something big that had happened recently.
So what’s this all about? I’ve noticed a trend recently. I’m not sure how to best describe the trend, other than saying that the bottom line appears to be that we seem to be much too modest. And too much modesty can be damaging.
Saying that is a bit risky, I know. Some degree of modesty is a good thing. No one likes to spend time with “that person” who seems to brag about himself every chance he gets. But never telling your story won’t do you much good either. Because if you don’t tell your own story, who else is going to? Unless it’s a completely amazing or unusual story, chances are quite slim that someone will stumble upon it and tell everyone for you.
I know telling your own story might make some of you uncomfortable. But consider the following. The person who isn’t afraid to tell his story tends to get the job over someone who isn’t comfortable or good at telling his story. The business leaders who tell their philanthropic or customer service stories tend to create a better perception of their business and attract more new customers than the ones who don’t.
The community that tells their story and talks about how great they are tends to attract visitors, businesses, and development at a greater rate than the community that sits back and hopes someone else discovers their great opportunities.
I’m not sure why this seems to be a hot topic lately. Maybe it is because we are feeling the competitiveness that comes with a tight economy. You have to find a way to stand out and telling your story is one way to do that. You can choose whether or not you want to tell your personal story. If you are a business owner you can choose whether or not you want to tell your business story. But if you want the community to have a better chance of growth, please make it a point to tell the community’s story.
I’ll let you in on a little-known piece of information. It’s not a secret. It’s just not widely known. When we were awarded the Outstanding Chamber Award, we had to nominate ourselves for the award. Any chamber that wants to be considered must self-nominate. The nominations are what the judges use to make their decision. Nominating yourself is the only way to get that recognition. And there’s nothing wrong with it. Of course nominating yourself doesn’t guarantee recognition, but guess what we get if we don’t tell our story? Absolutely nothing. No one is going to find us and tell our story. If we want others, outside the scope of those immediately involved, to know the great things we do, we must take it into our own hands. Just like if we want people to know what a great community this is, we have to do it ourselves. So let’s talk about it. Throw some of that modesty aside and start telling your story.
Greater Spokane Inc's Business AfterSchool Program Brings Companies & Students Together
Jessie Azrilian on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Last week Greater Spokane Inc. hosted Engineering Week as part of its Business AfterSchool Program. Business AfterSchool brings area students and parents to Spokane's high-demand industry sectors and companies to teach them about different careers and the skills needed to land available jobs. The program will devote one week each to focus on these industries: health care, engineering, manufacturing and computer science.
Continue reading for the whole story and program details from Greater Spokane Incorporated's blog.
Tags: education, education attainment, K-12, workforce development
Regional Cooperation in Waco
Ian Scott on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 4:00:00 pm Comments (0)
An historic announcement from central Texas this week…10 local and ethnic chambers of commerce across McLennan County announced the signing of an MOU to form an alliance. The McLennan County Chamber Alliance forges a closer working relationship (and cements board level cross-pollination) between the organizations on public policy, economic and community development, infrastructure and other key issues.
“We can do special things if we work together,” said Matt Meadors, Greater Waco Chamber CEO. Anyone who’s tried to build a regional coalition knows how many barriers and interests are overcome to get to this stage of cooperation. We’ll be watching as this group evolves.
Read more about the formation of the McLennan County Chamber Alliance.
Tags: regional cooperation, regionalism
Recent Poll from Achieve Tracks Voter Perceptions of New Education Standards
Carmen Hickerson on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 3:10:00 pm Comments (0)
Achieve, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit education reform organization, recently conducted a national poll to determine voter perceptions of public education and the Common Core State Standards. Here are some highlights from the survey:
- In the landscape of issues facing the country, public education was ranked on par with the economy and government spending, with 82% ranking improving the quality of public education extremely/very important compared to 88% for job creation and economic growth, and 78% for reducing the federal deficit and government spending.
- About two-thirds (67%) of voters agree that it is better for states to have the same standards in math and English rather than having different standards.
- The majority of those polled (63%) reported hearing little or nothing about Common Core State Standards. Those who were aware were split in their opinion of the standards – 37% favorable; 40% unfavorable.
- However, once the respondents were provided with an explanation of Common Core State Standards and then asked if they would favor or oppose their implementation, a solid majority 69% (36% very strongly) were in favor vs. 23% in opposition.
The poll also tested who voters trusted the most when it came to information about education reform. The most powerful messengers were – in order – teachers, principals/superintendents, educational leaders and college presidents. Local employers also carry a lot of weight, particularly among business leaders.
ACCE’s Education team is working closely with Achieve and other national education foundations to spread word about the critical importance of improving college and career readiness. There are several resources available to help your chamber communicate effectively about education reform and the Common Core State Standards. Achieve has compiled a comprehensive set of tools and resources available at www.businessandeducation.org. You can also check out a previous ACCE blog post on Business-Friendly Tools for Chambers to Support a College & Career-Ready Agenda.
If you have any education-related questions contact Jessie Azrillian at email@example.com, 703.998.3571.
Created in 1996 by a bipartisan group of governors and business leaders, Achieve is dedicated to working with states to raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability. The national poll was conducted in November of 2013.
Quickpoll Results: Common Core Standards
HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Friday, February 14, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
ACCE's Education Attainment Division developed a QuickPoll on Common Core Standards and the results have been tallied and published. There were 140 responses in this poll.
In reviewing the poll results, we learned that:
- My chamber has a policy platform that includes or emphasizes higher/ more rigorous K-12 academic standards and assessments as a strategic priority. 44% said "Yes" and 22% indicated "No, but would like to develop one." 31% said "No".
- 88% of responders said they are "working with the state education agency / local school districts / local teachers. 79% said they are "communicating to chamber members about the CCSS/higher standards." And 63% are "holding events focusing on CCSS/higher standards and/or inviting education leaders to speak at chamber events about CCSS/higher standards.
- Find these statistics and more in our QuickPoll on Common Core Standards.
For assistance with education programs at your chamber, please engage with ACCE's Education Attainment Division or contact Alysia Bell or Jessie Azrilian or call (213) 580-7535. You can also update your profile status online to receive Division communications.
Business Outlook Reports Offer Some Optimism, but Employers Still Fearful of Uncertainty
Carmen Hickerson on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 2:38:00 pm Comments (0)
The recent release of several economic outlook reports offers a mixed bag of attitudes from employers. While many are optimistic the economy will pick-up in 2014, most are still expressing concerns about the ‘unknowns’ including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the regulatory environment, immigration reform and the new call for an increase in the minimum wage. Here’s a round-up of some of the results.
- McDonald Hopkins, a business advisory and advocacy law firm, recently released its 2014 Business Outlook Survey. The headline is that ‘2014 is the great unknown.’ There is considerable caution and uncertainty as respondents expressed numerous concerns about the rising cost and complexity of healthcare and fear of additional burdensome regulations. Some highlights include:
- 67% believe the Affordable Care Act will have a negative impact on their company’s bottom line; and 46% said increasing health care costs are the greatest challenge facing their company
- They have no confidence in Congress to help improve business conditions, with just 33% saying they are cautiously optimistic
- 41% say they are likely to ‘slightly’ increase their number of employees and the same percentage – 41% say their number of employees will stay about the same
- 51% expect to make a ‘moderate’ investment in capital; 55% will dedicate more resources to domestic growth
- The National Federation of Independent Business’ latest survey indicates that only 12% of small business owners plan to add jobs in the next three months. However, NFIB’s Chief Economist Bill Dunkelburg calls the number ‘solid’ and says it is the highest job creation since September 2007. “Small businesses are telling us they would hire more workers if they could find qualified applicants,” added Dunkelburg. “Nearly half of NFIB members surveyed said they tried to hire workers, but reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions.”
- The recent Federal Reserve report indicates banks are easing lending restrictions making it easier for businesses to access new capital. According to the survey, ‘Banks eased their lending policies for commercial and industrial loans to firms of all sizes and experienced stronger demand for such loans over the past three months.” The banks cited increased competition, a more favorable economic outlook and a greater tolerance for risk for the new standards.
- Finally, economists polled in USA TODAY’s quarterly survey predict that the U.S. economy is headed for stronger growth in 2014. They also believe we will see steady improvement in the unemployment rate. Many of the 40 economists surveyed Feb 5-6 cut their first-quarter forecasts due to the January weather and an expected pull-back in business stockpiling after firms aggressively replenished shelves in the second half of 2013.
- “While growth late last year was driven largely by the stockpiling, this year's expansion will be fueled by higher consumer and business spending,” says Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist of Barclays Capital.
- "I think we will regain momentum and not fall on our face," says Diane Swonk, chief economist of Mesirow Financial, drawing a contrast with previous ups and downs in the five-year-old recovery.
In the Know: Operations Survey Tutorial
HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
It's time to participate in ACCE's Annual Operations Survey. The Operations Survey provides chambers with information they can use to establish comparisons and benchmarks with similar chambers of commerce.
Participate in the 2013-2014 Operations Survey NOW through March 3rd.
To get started, please view our NEW TUTORIAL on completing the Operations Survey.
Ready to jump right in? Visit our Operations Survey web page complete with access links and instructions.
Here are the direct steps to complete the Survey:
For any questions or assistance, please email HERO@acce.org.
Tags: Annual Operations Survey, Operations Survey, Operations Survey Tutorial