YOUR Membership at Work
The second quarter of 2023 was a busy one for YOUR Union County Chamber. The Public Policy Committee took action to help champion business growth and prosperity throughout Union County. The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee held a valuable series to help grow the revenue of minority-owned businesses, and our EHS committee celebrated workplaces with a strong safety record.
Read on to see your membership at work.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION UPDATE
Grow Your Revenue with Government Contracts Series
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee made progress on its mission to bring awareness of diversity and inclusion by empowering our members and community at large in the spring of 2023.
We partnered with the Small Business Center at South Piedmont Community College to offer a series on Growing Your Revenue with Government Contracts.
The series covered topics including:
» The basics of Government Contracting
» The type of certifications and how to get certified
» How to market your business to the Government
» How to understand RFPs, RFQs, and ITBs
» How to write a winning proposal
The series was geared toward increasing the number of Union County businesses who have secured minority business certifications.
Keesha Carter with Serenity, Courage & Wisdom, Inc. was one of the attendees. “It’s a great idea for small businesses to expand their efforts to generate revenue that’s already made available to them. So, why not tap in? This is why I value all of the information shared at these events. It’s a smart decision to connect at these events because of the valuable information shared and the people, companies, and leaders in the industry that you can build relationships with to help you make the right decisions and go further than you could ever do on your own.”
Melisa Wright with Lion Logistics also saw the benefit of the series, “This was an awesome contracting series, I learned a lot of new information to implement to grow my business. I also made great connections with other business owners.”
PUBLIC POLICY COMMITTEE WORK
Childcare Challenges and Workforce Impact Panel
We had a thorough and important discussion of early childhood education, childcare challenges, and the effect of both on the workforce during May’s Public Policy Luncheon.
Public Policy Consultant Brian Francis with Lumin Strategies moderated the panel with Linda Smith with Alliance for Children, and Erica Palmer-Smith with NC Child sharing vital information about the state of early childhood education and childcare in North Carolina and our area.
The panelists discussed the challenges finding childcare workers. Part of the reason for that is that former childcare workers have switched to higher-paying sectors. Affordability is another issue affecting childcare centers and the workforce. Parents in North Carolina pay an average of over $9,000 a year for center-based infant care. That’s more than the cost of a year’s tuition at a public four-year university.
There are a number of bills making their way through the General Assembly to help ease some of the stress around childcare. SB 291 QRIS/Star Rating System Reform instructs the Child Care Commission to come up with recommendations to change the current rating system for child care centers. One option could be an alternative pathway for licensed programs to earn equivalent stars through national accreditation organizations.
Resolution Calling for Immediate Action to Address Wastewater Capacity
The Union County Chamber’s mission is to champion business growth and prosperity throughout Union County. To achieve this mission, access to cost-effective infrastructure, including wastewater treatment, is essential.
At their regular meeting on May 19th, the Union County Chamber Board of Directors adopted a “Resolution Calling for Immediate Action to Address the Wastewater Capacity Crisis in Union County”.
The resolutions contained within are:
» The lack of wastewater capacity has become a crisis for business development in Union County
» The Chamber prioritizes the immediate implementation of planning and funding mechanisms for increasing wastewater treatment capacity
» The Chamber urges elected officials at all levels of government to take immediate action to begin resolving this crisis and the Chamber pledges to work with entities focused on solving the current wastewater capacity crisis
» The Chamber recommends a study committee be created to evaluate and make recommendations for a solution
This resolution was distributed to all members of the Union County delegation to Raleigh, all members of the Union County Board of County Commissioners, and all council members and mayors of the county’s 14 municipalities.
You can read the full resolution here.
This Chamber reiterates the importance of business and industry to the continued success of our community and stands ready to work with leaders to solve this critical need.
CHAMBER CONNECTIONS FOR GOOD
South Piedmont Community College Apprentices Create Customized Wheelchair Attachment
A connection made through YOUR Union County Chamber exemplifies the community-minded, innovative spirit of our members. This spring, Liza Stahnke with Charlotte Speech and Hearing reached out to the Chamber. She was looking for someone who could create a specialized wheelchair attachment for a client.
Sarah Thompson communicates using a tablet. She needed an attachment to hold the tablet on her wheelchair.
Chamber President and CEO Pat Kahle put Liza in touch with South Piedmont Community College. Faculty member William Spencer was training an apprentice group from Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Plastics Division (also a Chamber member). He had the apprentices design, build, and install the attachment. You can read the full story here.
We are beyond proud of the connections made through YOUR Union County Chamber and how they help build a wonderful community.
EHS PROGRAM CELEBRATES SAFETY
The Chamber Environmental Health and Safety Program had a busy quarter.
We celebrated safety in partnership with the NC Department of Labor at the annual Safety Awards Banquet. Dozens of Chamber member businesses received awards for maintaining above-average worker safety and health programs.
Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson shared comments with the group and handed out the awards.
June is also the time we host the annual Environmental Health and Safety Update Breakfast. As in year’s past, Travis Vance, partner at Fisher Phillips gave attendees valuable information on updates to OSHA law.
The session gave attendees insight on how to prepare for an OSHA inspection, knowledge of their rights if and when OSHA arrives, as well as ramifications of issues like employee testimony and litigation.