Become a Season Ticket Holder for 2018-2019

Season Tickets for one of our most popular programs, Good Morning North Central, are now on sale! New this year, we have expanded the season tickets to also include three of our other popular breakfast events. We have added the Economic Forecast Breakfast, Tourism Update Breakfast and the Real Estate Summit to the season tickets.

Season Ticket holders enjoy a 20% discount as well as the convenience of being automatically registered for each of these popular events. Season Tickets can be transferred to another colleague within a business as well. Season tickets are on sale at www.northcentralmass.com/news/calendar-of-events  at $160 for members and $260 for non members.

New Chamber Tourism Website Fall Launch

Stay tuned! The Chamber’s tourism affiliate, Visit North Central Massachusetts will be launching a dynamic new tourism website this fall. The new website will have a fresh new look and feature a number of enhancements to help better promote members and North Central Massachusetts. This is part of our efforts around continuous improvements to strengthen our communications, member services and operations.

Legislative Report

The last few months have been some of the most active any on Beacon or Capitol Hill can remember, and the Chamber’s staff has worked hard to keep pace. Well before the supposed “Grand Bargain” made headlines, the Chamber had reviewed the list of initiatives likely to move forward at that time and developed a concise voter’s guide explaining how passage of each would impact the business community.  As events took shape in the days and weeks that followed, the staff ensured that this community remained informed. The Chamber hosted Senate President Chandler at a breakfast forum the morning after the Bargain was announced and issued a statement urging both parties to withdraw their petitions shortly after. Now, with only one of the original five key issues remaining, the Chamber continues to advocate on behalf of local healthcare providers and against arbitrary, government imposed staffing requirements in our hospitals.

As important as voicing our members’ concerns in Boston may be, the Chamber has kept a close watch on events in Washington as well. Recognizing the region’s dire need for skilled labor, the Chamber’s President and CEO, Roy Nascimento, joined business leaders from across the nation in signing a letter urging the US Senate to pass the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. This Act represents the largest block of funding for high school education in the federal budget and would reinstate a Reagan era program that supported skills related training until it lapsed in 2016.

Like many industry groups, the Chamber is also deeply concerned by the current rhetoric surrounding trade and tariffs. With the Trump Administration levying taxes on imports from the Commonwealth’s three largest trading partners- Canada, Mexico, and China- and those nations responding in kind, the need to identify a coherent policy with which to move ahead is clear. The Staff has begun conducting research into this topic and plans to bring a platform forward with the new Public Affairs Agenda in September. In the meantime, the Chamber will continue to monitor developments at the local, state, and federal levels, ensuring that the needs and concerns of North Central Massachusetts’ businesses are accounted for in the discourse.

2018 North Central Massachusetts Congressional Luncheon scheduled for October 5, 2018

 The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Annual North Central Massachusetts Congressional Luncheon on Friday, October 5, 2018 featuring the Honorable Jim McGovern, United States Representative for the Second Congressional District and the Honorable Niki Tsongas, United States Representative for the Third Congressional District of Massachusetts.  The program, sponsored by Fitchburg State University, runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Great Wolf Lodge, 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg, MA.

This event will provide Chamber members the opportunity to hear directly from members of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding business issues and critical matters facing the nation.  Attendees will also be afforded the unique opportunity for networking and questions with members of North Central’s federal delegation.

Currently serving his eleventh term in Congress, Congressman Jim McGovern serves as the second ranking Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation; and a member of the House Agriculture Committee.  In 2014, McGovern was named Democratic Ranking Member on the House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Nutrition.  The Subcommittee’s jurisdiction includes policies and statutes relating to nutrition, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and domestic commodity distribution and consumer initiatives.

Before his election to Congress, McGovern spent 14 years working as a senior aide for the late U.S. Representative John Joseph Moakley (D-South Boston), former dean of the Massachusetts delegation and Chairman of the House Rules Committee.  He was born in Worcester, the son of two successful small business owners.  His two sisters are elementary school teachers in Worcester’s public school system.

McGovern earned his Bachelor of Arts (‘81) and Masters of Public Administration (‘84) degrees from The American University, working his way through college by serving as an aide in the office of U.S. Senator George McGovern (D-SD).

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas was elected to the United State House of Representatives in a 2007 special election, becoming the first woman in 25 years to serve in Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  She represents the Massachusetts Third District (which had previously been known as the Fifth District until 2012).  Tsongas holds the same seat that was held three decades earlier by her late husband, former Congressman, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Paul Tsongas.  Her Congressional district spans across portions of Essex, Middlesex and Worcester counties.

Tsongas serves as a senior member on the prestigious House Armed Services Committee, and having previously served in a leadership position as the top Democrat on the subcommittee for Oversight and Investigations.  Tsongas also serves on the Natural Resources Committee, which formulates federal policy related to domestic energy production, National Parks, and the environment.  In 2015, she was named to a leadership role as the top Democrat on the Federal Lands Subcommittee.  She also serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee.  Recently Tsongas was elected by her peers to serve as the highest ranking Democrat on the largest HASC subcommittee, the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.

Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Tsongas served as a Dean at Middlesex Community College, practiced law, and raised her three daughters all in the region she now represents.

Tsongas is not seeking re-election this year.

Make sure that you reserve your spot early to hear from our congressional delegation on the many critical issues facing the business community in Washington D.C.

Pre-registration is required and easy. Simply call the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 235, email mmccaffrey@northcentralmass.com or register online at www.northcentralmass.com.  The cost is $35 for members and $55 for non-members.

Sample Letter to Legislator: Minimum Wage

Dear [LEGISLATOR],

As a small business owner and job creator in your district, I urge you to provide cost relief for struggling small businesses.

My business already faces double-digit health care premium increases, highest-in-the-nation energy expenses, and a newly increased EMAC tax. Should this year’s ballot initiatives pass, I would also have to contend with the impact of a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation, a one-size-fits-all paid family and medical leave mandate, and an income tax surcharge on pass-through businesses.

Massachusetts is one of only eleven states without a teen or training wage. Small businesses have historically served as the first job for young workers, providing an introduction to the workforce. As the cost of hiring workers increase, it grows more difficult to justify employing teenagers and students who lack entry level skills and require extensive training. Without a teen or training wage, these individuals will be continuously crowded out of the workforce.

Increasing the tipped wage to $9/hour will mean Massachusetts servers will experience the same loss of income that Maine restaurant workers experienced. The Maine legislature was forced to override the actions of a misguided state ballot question at the request of restaurant servers due to reduced take-home pay following a minimum wage increase. Massachusetts legislators may be faced with an equally uncomfortable predicament, should this initiative pass.

Massachusetts will be only one of two states with a paid family and medical leave benefit requiring an employer contribution. The other state mandated leave programs are all employee paid and often include a small business carve-out and opt-outs for businesses with an existing program. The current proposal for paid family and medical leave is estimated to be a $1 billion tax on both employers and their workers. This would be the most expensive paid family and medical leave benefit in the nation!

These new mandates will surely factor into future hiring decisions for my business and will limit my ability to increase the number of workers I employ. Therefore, as a small business owner, I ask that you recognize the extreme financial pressures being faced by job creators and understand the sacrifices we are already making to keep residents of the Commonwealth employed. Main Street businesses seek balanced relief, so we can do what small businesses do best: Create jobs and grow local economies.

Sincerely,

Local seniors celebrated at Chamber’s Annual Scholarship Breakfast

The next edition of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber’s popular Good Morning North Central breakfast series is scheduled for Friday, May 11, 2018 from 6:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA.  The May edition is sponsored by UMass Memorial Healthcare HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, Inc.

The Good Morning North Central series is a high-profile, fast-paced and educational breakfast program geared towards executives, senior managers, professionals and business owners.  Each of the programs has a business-oriented focus and features popular speakers to present on topics of interest to local businesses.

The May breakfast features the presentation of the Chamber Foundation’s annual scholarships and will highlight top scholars from throughout North Central Massachusetts.  The Chamber Foundation distributes approximately twenty five (25) $2,000 scholarships to local high-achieving high school students each year. Since the establishment of its scholarship program, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships.

Many of these awards are made possible through contributions from members of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and proceeds from the Chamber’s Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament. Scholarships endowed through the Foundation are often named in honor of prominent members of the North Central Massachusetts business community.

The Chamber’s Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization focused on assisting in the betterment of the region through charitable activities.  Funds raised by the Foundation are utilized primarily for education/workforce development initiatives and charitable activities in North Central Massachusetts, including scholarships to eligible applicants pursuing education and grants to support economic and community development projects.

The cost is just $25 for Chamber members/$40 non-members and includes a breakfast buffet. Season Tickets are also available for purchase.  Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or visit www.northcentralmass.com.

North Central Development Corporation Publishes Manufacturers Directory

Expansive guide highlights the region’s vast manufacturing firms and industrial space

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) announce the publication of the 2018 edition of the Manufacturers Directory and Industrial Parks Guide for North Central Massachusetts. The publication is designed to promote and connect manufacturers with suppliers as well as serve as a resource for companies looking to relocate or expand throughout the region.

Working with multiple sources, the NCMDC confirmed the operating status and primary product line of each company listed in the directory. In addition to the listing of local manufacturers, the publication also includes a section on life science companies, a listing of suppliers and a guide to business and industrial parks in North Central Massachusetts.

“We published this directory to help support our local manufacturers who are so critical to the long term vitality of the North Central economy”, said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “We hope that this publication will be a resource in connecting manufacturers with their peers and helping them find local suppliers.”

This publication is part of the Chamber and Development Corporation’s continuing efforts to help promote the region and advance the economy of North Central Massachusetts.  In addition to this manufacturing directory, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation has expanded its efforts to raise awareness of career paths in the advanced manufacturing field and was recently approved as a Community Advantage Lender through the U.S. Small Business Administration.  It has also grown its technical assistance offerings for new and established small businesses in the region and expanded its reach to small and growing businesses in neighboring communities through partnerships with local chambers. Partnerships have been created with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce and the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce. Last year, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation also launched the new website ChooseNorthCentral.com and the hashtag #ChooseNorthCentral to promote North Central Massachusetts as a great place to grow or relocate a business

The 2018 edition of the publication was supported by advertising and is being circulated to manufacturers throughout the region. For more information, please contact the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at 978.353.7607.

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy of North Central Massachusetts.  The NCMDC acts as a connector, facilitator and partner and works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects with loans and business assistance.  The NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) program and is a micro-loan intermediary for the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $6 million in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy.

For more information about the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation please call 978.353.7607 or visit www.choosenorthcentral.com or www.northcentralmass.com.

Chamber Endorses Coalition to Protect Patient Safety

In November, Massachusetts voters may be asked to consider whether our state should have government-mandated nurse staffing levels. This proposed law would require every hospital to adopt the same rigid, one-size-fits-all ratios of nurses on duty to patients at all times, in every unit, regardless of a hospital’s size, location or the needs of individual patients.

Sound like a good idea?  Not so fast.

This misguided and dangerous proposal would take vital decision-making away from nurses at the bedside, where experience and education save lives and put them in the hands of an unworkable and unfunded government mandate.  That’s why the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce has joined with dozens of other organizations across the state, including the Organization of Nurse Leaders, the American Nurses Association Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing in strong opposition to these ratios.

Click HERE to hear directly from nurses themselves about why they oppose rigid staffing ratios.

Massachusetts is home to some of the best hospitals in the country. People come from all over the world to receive high quality care from our healthcare professionals. It makes no sense to override the professional judgment of nurses and doctors charged with managing caregiver teams.

And it’s no secret that Massachusetts families and businesses are already facing soaring healthcare bills.  Studies conservatively estimate the cost of implementing the ballot question would be well over $800 million annually, without any valid scientific evidence of improved care as a result of these ratios.

Aside from threatening hospitals’ financial stability, this proposal would drive up costs for patients and businesses, cause emergency room wait times to skyrocket and lead to closures of community hospitals. Even those that can stay open would have to make painful cuts in critical treatment areas and vital community health programs, including resources to battle the opioid crisis.

This proposal is bad for hospitals, bad for our community and bad for families. If you want to help out, please take two minutes and click HERE to send your elected officials a quick email sharing your opposition to this bad idea. Signing on as an individual supporter is easy, too!

For more information on the devastating impacts of rigid ratios, please click here.

Your voice will be crucial in opposing this dangerous, unnecessary ballot question. Thank you for your support.

Member Spotlight:Complete Physical Therapy & Wellness.

In each newsletter we highlight a Chamber member doing interesting work in our community.  This month we highlight Complete Physical Therapy & Wellness.

With their new location on 960 South Street in Fitchburg, MA, we are certainly proud to not only support Complete Physical Therapy & Wellness as a chamber member, but also as a fellow neighbor.

Complete Physical Therapy & Wellness is a privately owned physical therapy and wellness clinic. They are unique in that they combine the diverse experience and specialties of five longtime colleagues to service communities throughout Central Massachusetts.

Physical therapists Theresa Brassard, Joanne D’Onfro, Jennifer LeBlanc, Tamara Moses and Alice Thompson have unified their skills and passion to provide superior patient care in a customized, fully equipped facility. Their clinical excellence and expertise, combined with an unwavering commitment to prompt, personalized care, will make Complete Physical Therapy & Wellness a premier choice for all your physical therapy needs.

Complete Physical Therapy & Wellness specializes in the following areas: orthopedics, post joint replacements, sports injuries and prevention,

women’s health (pregnancy & incontinence), spine disorders, pediatrics, scoliosis, balance training & Pilates rehabilitation.

We are excited to celebrate the grand opening of Complete Physical Therapy & Wellness in the coming month. To contact them, visit www.completept.org.

Last Chance to Advertise in the Manufacturers Directory

Don’t get left out! The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation is getting ready to publish the 2018 edition of the Manufacturers Directory and Industrial Parks Guide for North Central Massachusetts. A limited number of advertising spots are still available.

This publication is the region’s most comprehensive collection of this specialized information, outlining available industrial sites and local manufacturing related businesses, describing products, contact information and more. The directory is designed to promote and connect manufacturers with suppliers as well as serve as a resource for companies looking to relocate or expand throughout the region. Ad rates start at just $350. Please contact David Ginisi at 978.353.7600 ext. 240 for more information or to reserve your advertisement.