MASSACHUSETTS NEWS

MACCE – The Annual Summer Conference features a model Workforce 2020 Academy held in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber’s Center for Workforce Preparation. The Workforce 2020 Initiative is a collaboration of the U.S. Chamber, The U.S. Department of Labor, the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board Association, the Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board, the Metro South Chamber of Commerce, and Verizon. It is a national model implemented by local Chambers of Commerce and designed to advocate for employers, to explore their employment needs and concerns, to inform them about current employment programs and to facilitate the process of finding solutions to the workforce challenges they face. Registration forms for the Friday, July 16th event are available online at http://www.macce.org

 

Hyannis Area - The Chamber is working with the Barnstable Early Learning Center to get computers donated. The computers will assist them in teaching children between the ages of three and five from low income working families. About half the school's population is Brazilian. Most of the children enter the program speaking only Portuguese. Through a variety of teaching techniques, the children become dual linguistic. One of the teaching tools are the computers. Since businesses frequently update their technology, the Early Learning Center is looking for the donations.

 

Milford Area – New Chamber Executive is in place. He is Barry Feingold. He joined the Chamber at the end of April. He directed the American Chamber of Commerce in Peru for the last seven years. Feingold is currently developing new and exciting products and services to give member companies a more competitive edge.

 

Peabody - Eastern Bank hosted recent Business After Hours. Eastern Bank Senior Vice President John Bittner shared his views on the economy. He noted, "The U.S. economy expanded at an inflation-adjusted annual rate of 6.1% during the last half of 2003. This was the strongest 6 months of growth since the first half of 1984. The first half of 2004 will experience stronger growth in GDP than the final 2 quarters. By the second half of the year the economy is expected to expand at a real rate of 4% unaided by either fiscal or monetary stimulus. The economy is doing well and the economic expansion appears to be strong and sustainable. Job creation has been slow to develop during the economic recovery, however, acceleration consistent with prior periods of economic expansion may have begun. The long term advantages to the U.S. economy of global job outsourcing outweigh the temporary dislocation of a small percentage of our workforce." Bittner was also asked what could cause the economy to falter. He said, "A sharp and sudden upward surge in interest rates, A collapse in consumer confidence, An energy crisis, A major terrorist attack in the U.S." The story notes that the world is filled with risks, many of which have financial risks.

 

South Shore – Chamber has formed a working partnership with Curry College. The Chamber will be doing a series of surveys of its members. The results will be tabulated, analyzed and reported in press releases and in the Chamber newsletter WAVES. The first survey dealt with three critical issues: The needs of members in getting accurate up-to-date information, the economy, and issue of health care. The three critical areas members look to the Chamber for assistance included: Lobbying, promoting and local issues. The survey also documented issues members are currently facing in the area of providing health care to their employees. The critical issues that came out from the survey indicated: Many had selected new health plans, increased their deductibles, and increased their co-payments. On the issue of the economy: most companies expected modest growth in the next year.