- ACCE Education Attainment Blog
- Asheville Business Blog - Asheville (NC) Area Chamber
- ChamberPost - The U.S. Chamber Blog
- Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy Blog
- Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) Blog
- Dallas Regional Chamber's Blog
- Florida Chamber of Commerce Blog
- Greater Boston (MA) Chamber Blog
- Greater Cleveland Partnership Blog
- Greater Kansas City C/C
- Greater Spokane Incorporated Blog
- HubSpot's Inbound Internet Marketing Blog
- IssuesPA, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Economy League
- Kentucky Chamber Blog
- Knoxville Chamber's Facebook Page
- Maryland Chamber Blog
- Nashville (TN) Chamber Blog
- Salt Lake (UT) Chamber Blog
- Selling in the 21st Century (Membership Sales Blog)
- Stateline.org - State Politics and Policy
- Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber "Live Wire"
- The Avenue - Rethinking Metropolitan America
- The Voice of Business - Greater Lehigh Valley (PA) Chamber Blog
- The Voice of the Lancaster Chamber
- Welcome Home - Adirondack (NY) Chamber Blog
Minimum Wage Debate Taking Center Stage
President Obama and Congress are talking about it. More than 12 states are considering it and several more have already done it. And workers around the country are rallying about it. What is ‘it’? Raising the minimum wage.
The White House got the ball rolling on the current discussion by including it in the State of the Union speech, with President Obama declaring that “no one who works full time should have to live in poverty.” On Black Friday, protests were held at several Walmart stores to draw attention to the issue, and in December, fast-food workers in hundreds of U.S. cities staged a day of rallies to demand higher wages.
The current rate of $7.25 per hour was last increased in 2009. While Washington remains gridlocked on the issue, several states, as well as some localities, saw increases approved last year go into effect on January 1. Some were modest increases, but New Jersey voters approved a minimum wage increase of $1.00 to $8.25 and California lawmakers raised that state’s to the highest in the nation at $10. Click here for an overview of the minimum wage changes taking place in 2014. This year, 12 states and the District of Columbia will be considering minimum wage hikes through legislation or ballot initiatives.
Proponents of the increase argue that hiking the minimum wage is not only necessary to improve the lives of millions of workers and their families, but that it also improves the economy by increasing purchasing power and creating more stability for the middle class. However, opponents believe that an increase disproportionately affects small businesses and that such a move would be counterproductive by decreasing opportunity for those young and lower-skilled looking to enter the workforce. Economists cannot agree on the effects of a minimum wage increase. Some studies report that higher minimum wages lead to higher unemployment because employers cut labor costs by offering fewer hours and fewer new jobs. However, other reports indicate little to no negative effects.
One thing for certain is that the debate is not going away any time soon. As Chambers of Commerce it’s an issue we can’t afford to ignore as it affects nearly every business sector in some way. At ACCE, we’d love to know what you think? Have you started talking about the issue internally or with your board and policy committees? Do you have an existing policy position on minimum/living wage? Email us with your chamber’s take on the issue at Chickerson@acce.org.
Oslo Business for Peace Award: Submit Nominees
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Oslo-based Business for Peace Foundation are seeking nominees for the 2014 Oslo Business for Peace Award, a global honor recognizing inspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs who combine ethical responsibility with business success. Submit a nomination for the award by Feb. 1.
The ICC, an official supporting partner of the award, together with local chambers of commerce, assists in the global nomination process for the Business for Peace Award by searching for outstanding business people who have been able to achieve business success while acting in an ethically responsible way. The 2013 Business for Peace Awards were given to six outstanding business people from Brazil, Denmark, Pakistan, Yemen, and the United States. View the complete list of last year’s winners.
The Business for Peace Awards were given for the first time in 2009 in Oslo, Norway, the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, with honorees chosen by a committee of past Nobel Prize winners.
Resources For Working With Boards
Chambers commonly have questions about working with board members. Common questions include "How do I orient my new board members?" and "How do I manage conflicts of interest on my board?" or "How can I effectively work with my new board chair?" ACCE's HERO portal contains resources to address these questions and more!
Books in the ACCE Store:
- How To Manage Your Board While Your Board Manages You: A Practical Guide To Working Effectively With a Board For Both New and Experienced CEOs by Martin M. Coyne II
- Managing Conflicts of Interest, A Primer for Nonprofit Boards by Daniel L. Kurtz and Sarah E. Paul
- Taming the Troublesome Board Member by Katha Kissman
- The Imperfect Board Member: Discovering the Seven Disciplines of Governance Excellence by Jim Brown
- The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives by BoardSource
- Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals by Darian Rodriguez Heyman
- Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards by Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan, and Barbara E. Taylor
- Presenting: Board Orientation, An Introductory Presentation for Nonprofit Board Members by BoardSource
ACCE University eCourse:
- Chamber 101: Introducing the Work of Chambers of Commerce: In this foundational 8-part eCourse twelve chamber practitioners offer a broad stroke presentation that highlights the work of chambers. This online course is designed to both work in tandem with chamber staff and board orientation programming, while offering a flexibile training tool that can be incorporated into any chamber retreat, lunch-n-learn or training activity.
- Board Composition and Responsibilities
- Board Management and Conflict
- Board Meetings and Retreats
- Board Member and CEO Relationships
Chamber Executive Magazine articles:
- How Well Does Your Board Govern?
- Whose Responsibility Is It?
- Board Effectiveness
- Board Orientation
- The Chamber Board
- Board Policy is Good Policy
- To Steer the Ship, a Board Needs DirectionFrom the Chair: An Effective Board Begins With Clarity
- Educating Rita, Mark, Thomas and Eduardo…
- Planning a Productive and Efficient Board Retreat
Samples – Board Management:
- Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Ethics Policies
- Characteristics and Attributes of an Ideal Board Member
- Governance: Board Appraisal (VA)
- Governance: Conflict of Interest Statement (ACCE)
- Governance Policy (Lubbock, TX)
- See all Board Management Samples
Outside of ACCE, other valuable resources for working with boards are avaialble through BoardSource.org. They offer publications through their Learning Center. Some of their resources are free and some have a cost.
Please note - for ACCE's online resources, members will need to Log in with your username and password. (Forgot your password? Click here.) Have questions, need research assistance, or want to suggest a new link or contribute to our Samples? Please email us at HERO@acce.org.
A Chamber's Great Idea to File for Christmas 2014
Laura E. Weis, IOM, ACE, president and CEO of the Champaign County (IL) Chamber of Commerce, recently shared with ACCE an idea that has proven to be an easy, fun way to reach out to members and get them engaged during the holidays.
In her email to ACCE, Laura wrote: "Sometimes it’s the 'quick, really didn’t give it much thought' idea that gets everyone talking. What started as an innocent conversation among our staff about 'Elf on the Shelf' phenomenon turned into 'Charlie Chamber Shops Local.'”
For the 12 days of Christmas, Charlie Chamber visited local companies and the chamber posted his adventures on Facebook. On Day 1, staff spent the good part of the day stopping in at various chamber member locations and posed Charlie in their place at work. The chamber posted clues through Facebook and gave away gift cards between Dec. 12 until Christmas. According to Laura, "People loved it."
Catch Charlie's adventures by visiting the Champaign County Chamber's Facebook page.
Nashville Chamber Releases 21st Annual Education Report Card
Today, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Education Report Card Committee released the 2013 Education Report Card for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). The Chamber has convened a diverse group of business and community leaders to evaluate the progress of Nashville’s public school system for 21 years. Each year, the committee chooses a further area of study that is critical for student success. This year’s focus is Common Core State Standards, the state’s new academic standards that align with college and career-readiness benchmarks.
This year Tennessee was named the fastest-improving state in the country on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). While, the committee's report found declines and plateaus in areas such as English language arts scores and middle school achievement, they applauded the district on many initiatives including its Academic Performance Framework and the ambitious goals of the 2018 strategic plan. Marc Hill, Chief Policy Officer for the Nashville Chamber provides an overview of the committee's presentation and recommendations here: http://bit.ly/J1SYGX
Beginning its work in August, the 24-member committee conducted more than 30 interviews, collected data and visited schools, before issuing five recommendations in the areas of school system performance and Common Core State Standards.
This year’s committee recommendations are:
•Metro Schools should take decisive action toward discontinuing their persistently lowest-performing, under-enrolled school programs under the new district Academic Performance Framework.
•Metro Schools should implement an aggressive strategy to recruit and retain high-performing bilingual teachers.
•Metro Government should allow enrolled K-12 students to ride Metropolitan Transit Authority buses at no cost to the student, making school choice a real possibility for Nashville’s students and families.
•The Tennessee General Assembly should stay the course in implementing Common Core State Standards and the corresponding PARCC assessment.
•Metro Schools should implement a strategy to communicate with parents, teachers, students and the broader public about the increased rigor and higher expectations that correspond with Common Core Standards.
To view this year’s complete report, visit: http://bit.ly/educationreportcard.
Education Attainment Resources You Can Use 24/7
Be sure to read ACCE's Education Attainment Division's latest blog post on "Business-Friendly Tools Chambers Can Use to Support a College & Career-Ready Agenda" (12/13/2013). This post highlights updated resources and tools you can use for education attainment, workforce readiness, and Common Core Standards for chambers and your members. If your chamber is doing any work in Education & Workforce Development, be sure to get connected to ACCE's Education Attainment Division in our Divisions & Groups. HERO content relies on your contributions. Have a Sample document, link, or resource to share with us? Email HERO@acce.org to contribute resources or ask us a question.
Business-Friendly Tools Chambers Can Use to Support a College & Career-Ready Agenda
As 48 states begin to implement new K-12 standards and assessments chambers are poised to bridge the education community with the needs of employers to prepare the future workforce to be competitive in a global economy. In order to assist chambers at all levels of engagement the K-12 section of ACCE's online HERO information library features business-friendly resources related to next generation assessments and Common Core State Standards.
College and Career Readiness
The Education and Workforce Development section of the HERO portal contains resources chambers can use to engage their communities across the whole cradle to career spectrum. The K-12 section of ACCE's online Chamberpedia features business-friendly tools, samples and FAQs catered to all levels of interest and engagement whether you are interested in simply learning more about Common Core State Standards or are actively working with business leaders, schools, higher education institutions, etc. to prepare your communities to successfully implement more rigorous standards and assessments.
Common Core 101 & the Role of Business
Introductory resources to new standards and assessments include: a presentation for chambers and employers on Understanding Common Core Standards by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; a presentation by Tim Sheehy, President, Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce on Transitioning to the Common Core State Standards; and a Myth vs. Facts sheet prepared by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Next Generation Standards and Assessments - Tools & Resources for Chambers
Additional materials found in the College and Career Readiness section serve to showcase what is being done to raise the bar for the future workforce and offers tools from experts and chamber leaders on how to get involved. The section includes: blog posts from chamber executives; a communications toolkit to reach policymakers, the media and the general public (including your employees) with a consistent business message about the need for improvements to our nation’s education system; sample common core pledge and letter from business leaders; and customizable one-page PARCC and SBAC flyers that organizations can add their logo and website to on how business leaders can work in partnership with schools and districts to shape new policies and practices.
Our Chamberpedia pages and Samples Library are populated by your contributions, so we invite you to help us continue to grow and expand on these valuable resources. Have a case study for how your chamber is supporting next generation standards and assessments in your community? Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the EAD page to learn more information about the Education Attainment Division. Check out the Mentor Program to connect with chamber leaders with education and workforce development expertise or sign up to become a Mentor yourself!
*Note: you will need your ACCE login (jsmith) and password (EAD123) to access the links on this post and HERO resources.
Google Assists in Honoring Veterans
At this time of year, since 1992, the nonprofit organization Wreaths Across America lays holiday wreaths on more than 100,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, which is about six miles from ACCE’s offices. It is a touching tradition and a visually stunning tribute to our fallen heroes. But this year, according to The Washington Post, Wreaths Across America, which places wreaths on graves in 900 cemeteries nationwide, faced a financial shortfall that threatened its work at Arlington Cemetery. Wreaths Across America “had about 12 percent more donations this year than last,” the Post reported, but “many corporate sponsors who previously had supported the Arlington effort decided this year to split their contributions between Arlington and other military cemeteries around the nation.”
Now, thanks to a $250,000 donation from Google (an official corporate sponsor of ACE), plus other individual donations, nearly 120,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery will be decorated with holiday wreaths the morning of Dec. 14.
If you would like to help Wreaths Across America meet its goal of placing a wreath at every one of Arlington’s 240,000 headstones next year, visit http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/
San Francisco Chamber Unveils New Look
This fall, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce unveiled a bold new look and brand identity. Thanks to the talent of San Francisco’s world-renowned designer Primo Angeli and brand agency Stapley-Hildebrand, the chamber’s new look reflects the city’s unique and innovative business community.
“Over the past 160 years, this organization has evolved to serve San Francisco’s business community, which is the leading force of entrepreneurialism, invention and collaboration across the globe,” said San Francisco Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Bob Linscheid. “Our vision is to foster and bolster these ideals, driving business and economic success. Our new look and feel celebrates the attributes that make us unique and pays tribute to the many industries that support our city’s economic prosperity.”
Developing the logo and identity involved a study of the chamber, its work, and its service to the community. In fact, the chamber’s new tagline—“Our City. Your Business.”—conveys the chamber’s two-pronged mission to serve the interests of business and San Francisco. Commenting on the logo, Angeli said “the ‘C’ is for City, Chamber and Community.” Angeli, who has led the branding for major companies such as DHL Worldwide, Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola and Nestle, said: “Captured within the illustrative 'C,' we see a tapestry of people, business and landmarks, emphasizing the productive personality of the city and the rich visual landscape in which it thrives. The smaller 'C' connects individual people to a larger discourse of networking opportunities, culture and experiences.”
Impacting Education: Where are the Resources?
Chambers can influence a broad spectrum of issues by harnessing the collective voice of their business communities. Trends in corporate social responsibility and the burgeoning number of chambers directly involved in increasing regional education outcomes signify growing business involvement in education and workforce development.
A concerted, collaborative effort by local institutions can help identify areas where partners can work together to address pressing educational issues, better leverage resources and have a measurable impact. One way to begin this process is to use external asset mapping to stimulate thinking about potential resources to support your education and workforce development goals.
Consider these steps
- Determine where along the cradle to career spectrum you would like to engage: Early childhood education, K-12, post-secondary, workforce development?
- Choose a focus for your activity: Programs, policy, systems reform, messaging?
- Consider potential funding sources: Corporate sponsors, foundations, government funding, government funding through competitive grants (e.g., Race to the Top), community-based organizations?
An ACCE Quickpoll of 236 chamber executives found that two out of three cited a lack of staff or funding as the main obstacle to becoming involved in education and workforce development. However, chambers have overcome this hurdle through leveraging the impact of their business leaders to attract strategic partners and funders.
- The Talbot (MD) Chamber was part of a community team that raised money to purchase a laptop computer for every student from 8th grade until graduation. This program grew into the One to One Laptop Initiative and is now funded through the local school district as a budget item.
- The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s education and talent development initiatives include K-12 education improvement, talent recruitment and retention, and workforce systems development. Most of the funding for these initiatives comes from their Partnership 2020 economic development strategy, a five-year, 10-county strategic plan. In addition, the chamber has received funds for specific projects and initiatives from area corporations and philanthropists, local and national foundations and the region’s three Workforce Investment Boards.
- UNITE-LA, the education and workforce development arm of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, works with member companies, corporate foundations, local community based-organizations and philanthropic foundations to foster education and workforce development systems that support Los Angeles’ youth and the development of a thriving regional economy. UNITE-LA seeks public grants to support and promote these collaborative partnerships.
- Through their multi-partner regional business, community, and economic development collaborative, Sarasota Tomorrow Next, the Greater Sarasota (FL) Chamber of Commerce allocates funds from membership pledges for education and workforce development initiatives.
- The Arlington (TX) Chamber of Commerce partnered with their local university, workforce investment boards and city government to establish a co-owned and operated Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided funding to the Kentucky Chamber Foundation to develop their communications and business outreach campaign to build a coalition of business leaders advocating for college-and-career-ready standards in Kentucky.
- In Texas, funding for the Austin Chamber’s wide array of workforce and talent development initiatives was derived from a line item within Opportunity Austin, a five-county initiative for job creation in Central Texas fueled by $14.4 million in business investments.
The business voice is the strongest force to address the need for a highly skilled workforce to meet the demands of our global economy, and this work is something that every chamber can lead. For more information about ACCE's Education Attainment Division email or call 703-998-3571.