We are excited to announce that our 2017 Board of Directors has officially been instated. To help members learn more about our Board, we have added a new component to our monthly e-newsletter. Our “5 Questions with the Board” feature will profile a different Board member each month!
For our first edition, we welcome and introduce our new Board Chair, Mr. Peter B. Wilbur! Peter is the Chief of Staff and Vice President for Community Relations at Roger Williams University.
1. What was your primary motivation for becoming a member of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce?
As we know, relationships are what it is all about and this is a large part of what I do for the University. I saw the Newport County Chamber of Commerce as a player in the relationship/connection business and a pathway for the University to engage its students with the business community for the joint effort of economic development in the State of RI. Connecting Higher Education with the business community is critical, especially when it comes to workforce and pipeline development in Rhode Island. Newport County represents a robust and differentiated economy that is entirely different from the rest of the State.
2. What do you find most interesting about your business or industry?
I love being involved in an activity that provides others with the tools they need to lead better lives. Education is certainly one of those areas. Times have changed for higher education and the marketplace for prospective students and their parents is focused on gainful employment and the launching of careers. Roger Williams University is acutely aware of this market demand and has taken the initiative to distinguish itself through project-based experiential education. The development of our Community Partnerships Center has become the clearinghouse for harnessing the resources of the university (faculty & students) to assist businesses, non-profits, municipalities and government agencies with important projects throughout the State.
3. How has your membership with the Newport County Chamber of Commerce helped to advance your business or industry?
Roger Williams University has deep Rhode Island roots and while the major portion of our student body is from out of state, membership in the Chamber has enabled us to renew and enhance our Rhode Island focus, especially with the engagement of the business community in a joint effort to create value and economic development in the State of RI. The Roger Williams University Community Partnerships Center is just one aspect of that accomplishment. The Chamber is a perfect venue and partner for engaging Roger Williams University with the business community and the State of Rhode Island.
4. What is your favorite Newport County Chamber of Commerce event or program?
Truthfully, the events and programs offered by the Chamber are like family…. I love them all! The networking and relationship building opportunities offered by these events and programs is invaluable, particularly the Economic Development series, the Annual Meeting and the Chamber Connections. I must say that I also enjoy the government relations activities as well. I guess I do love them all!
5. What do you hope to bring to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce as Board Chair in 2017?
The southern portion of our great State represents an entirely different and unique opportunity for economic development and the resulting positive impact on its communities. The role of Chambers of Commerce has changed as well. We must now focus on distinguishing ourselves as a Chamber such that the value proposition for becoming and remaining a member is strongly self-evident. My hope, as both a board member and board chair, is to provide the needed leadership, support and focus that will result in an even more robust and nimble Chamber that is both relevant and supportive to the ever-changing needs of our business community within the region.
We appreciate Mr. Wilbur’s dedication to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce and look forward to working with him this year!
An Update from the State House
Governor Raimondo Holds RI Promise Conference Call
Governor Raimondo held a RI business community conference call with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam participating as her guest. The state of Tennessee has a tuition program that is a little different than the RI proposal in that it only covers 2 years of free tuition at a community college. Governor Raimondo began by talking about the necessity for individuals to earn a college education in order to be competitive in the economy. Governor Haslam told those on the call that his state, in 2012, conducted a study which showed that by 2025, 55% of the jobs would need a college degree At that time only 32% of TN individuals had degrees. To address the problem, they needed to “shock the system” and “giving something for nothing” - 2 years free tuition and fees – would deliver a shock. The program only requires a person to graduate from high school and maintain the academic standard for enrollment in the community college. TN did not include 4-year college tuition because it was more expensive, but it was discussed during the legislative debate. TN, being a bigger state, has a number of community colleges to choose from, whereas RI is limited. Early data from TN showed a 30% first-year increase in student enrollment in community colleges and technical schools meaning 33,000 students enrolled. In the second year, TN experienced a 63% re-enrollment rate; and 70% of high school seniors filled out FASA forms in the last two years. Student loan requests by TN students decreased by 17%. Additionally, TN 4-year colleges did see a minimal downturn in “less selective” four year schools when the TN program went into effect.
Responding to a question, Governor Haslam acknowledged that the TN program was probably going to pay for the education of kids that will not stay in the state, but he said he was not concerned about it. When asked about the cost of the program, the Governor stated that the costs were on target despite having more students than originally anticipated. He said the difficult part was projecting what the needs of the new students might be and matching those needs with the teaching program required. Governor Haslam wants to expand the TN program to all adults in the future, regardless of age.
Governor Raimondo said, “…the RI Promise Program is my number one priority.” The issue will continue to be debated as the budget process moves forward.
Bill Requires Language Translation of Contracts
H.6139, An Act Relating to Businesses and Professions – Translation of Legal and Financing Documents, was filed on April 26th and has been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday May 2nd. The bill requires the translation of contracts into Spanish or Japanese if the client speaks that language as their primary language, and if the contracts are related to the following business transactions: (1) automobile purchases and leases; (2) loans or other extensions of credit for use primarily for personal, family or household purposes, (except loans secured by real property); (3) consumer loans secured by real property, if arranged by a real estate loan broker, or made by a personal finance company; (4) contracts for the rental, lease or sublease of apartment, dwellings, motor vehicles and mobile homes for a period longer than one month; (5) reverse mortgages; and (6) mortgage foreclosure consulting contracts. The translation requirement does not apply if the customer negotiated the contract with the assistance of his/her own interpreter. To view further details of the bill go to http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText17/HouseText17/H6139.pdf
Senate Committee Passes Carbon Study
Last week, the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture passed S.108 which calls upon the Climate Change Coordinating Council to study the “effectiveness of the state and/or multi-state carbon pricing program to incentivize institutions and industry to reduce carbon emissions. The study must include the effectiveness of allocating revenues generated from such carbon pricing program to fund enhanced incentives to institutions and industry for targeted efficiency measures; projected emissions reductions; economic impact to businesses; any economic benefits to Rhode Island and impacts to the state's economic competitiveness if the program were implemented.”
Senate Labor Hears Testimony on Employee Liability Bill
H.773, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Unfair Employment Practices, would make employees of a defendant employer individually liable for unfair employment practices. The bill seeks to respond to a RI Supreme Court decision that denied the ability to sue an employee who sexually harassed another employee on the job. Unfortunately, the way the bill is written, it could allow an employee to sue another employee who is acting in the employer’s normal course of business, thus increasing litigation and giving plaintiffs more pockets to choose from for claims. The Chamber offered to work with the sponsor to amend the bill. http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText17/SenateText17/S0773.pdf
The following new bills were filed:
House Bill No. 6139, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS -- TRANSLATION OF LEGAL AND FINANCING DOCUMENTS (Requires many consumer contracts to be translated from English to Spanish or Japanese under some circumstances.)
House Bill No. 6141, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS (Gives the department of labor and training the jurisdiction to review claims alleging that employers had improperly inquired about an applicant’s criminal history on an employment application.)
House Bill No. 6143, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PARENTAL AND FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE (Grants unpaid pregnancy leave to part-time workers, clarifies their access to unpaid sick leave during their pregnancy, and provides additional protections for pregnant workers who work in the medical field.)
Senate Bill No. 815, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - RETAIL LICENSES (Creates additional restrictions on the times for which caterers with a Class P license may serve alcohol and provides for the additional penalty of possible suspension or revocation of license for violations of this section.)
Our community thrives when business succeeds
Over the years, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with many, successful local businesses right here in our community. By listening to the needs of our members, and responding with top notch, quality programming, we aim to support and enhance the economic climate throughout Newport County and statewide to help businesses succeed.
At our Annual Meeting on April 26th, we were able to announce some of last year’s accomplishments and some goals for 2017. Chamber leaders have worked diligently to establish the Chamber’s 2017 Strategic Plan, complete with smart goals and measurable outcomes. This has been a tremendous asset to the Chamber to ensure we keep to our mission of serving members by focusing on four key areas:
In an effort to gain a concise perspective on the needs of members, we implemented an annual member satisfaction survey. It has proved beneficial to gauge how we are serving our members and we will continue to engage membership throughout the year. Going forward, you will see an increased effort in outreach to our members and the establishment of a Business Retention and Expansion program, which will be tracked for measurable results.
We are also pleased to announce that in 2016, the Chamber hosted 74 educational seminars, economic updates, annual events and networking opportunities with over 3000 members and community leaders participating. Our Annual Expos in 2016 and 2017 attracted over a thousand attendees, featuring 130 businesses. Additionally, we also hosted our Job Fair as a component of the event, with nearly 30 participating businesses who were actively seeking employees.
In order for businesses to flourish, they must be aware of important issues affecting the business community and overall economy. Our Quarterly Economic Update forums covered many critical issues facing small business – last year’s topics included Trends of an Aging Workforce; Regional Economic Development Initiatives and Trends; the Impact of the Higher Education Bonds; and The Economic Impact of the Arts. This year, we’ve already begun the first quarter with an event on the Impact of our Changing Coastline on Business, hosted by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
Our Women in Business program which celebrates the important contributions of women in the workplace, continues to grow in popularity, with a record number in attendance at both our annual luncheon and After Hours events.
Our Emerging Leaders group hosted two Business After Hours events in 2016 and we had a tremendous kick-off event in January. This group continues to be increasingly active and innovative in developing participation and a variety of events that will help to engage the future leaders of the local workforce and of the Chamber.
Our Chamber Connections program continues to be one of our most successful programs, resulting in over $8 million in business in the last two years.
The Chamber participated in the Rhode Island Business Coalition, the RI Chamber of Commerce Coalition and worked with our Government Affairs Committee to monitor and share information about legislation at the state and local level. We’ve also begun implementing our policy platform for 2017.
This is just a sampling of the tremendous accomplishments we have made to impact the business climate in our community. We look forward to continuing to provide quality and impactful events and programs for our members, while also growing participation.
Let’s all continue to work together to make our region a great place to live, work and play.
May 1st AICURI, RISLA and other great partners will organize the FREE bi-annual Internship Summit in the State House where they will honor RI employers for their great internship programs.
Many employers use intern programs as an effective talent pool for new hires!
There are still some seats left for yourself or interested members to attend.
Learn more by clicking this link: https://info.risla.com/internship-summit-2017
There also be a mini-fair and break-out sessions for students and employers to learn more about internships!
An Update from the State House
Last week ended “phase two” of the legislative session. Most bills are filed, a majority of the legislation has received a first hearing, and the General Assembly is now out for the week on April vacation break. Session will resume April 25th; and “phase three” will begin. The May Revenue Estimating Conference is usually held the first week of May. This is when all three branches of government will meet, debate and reach a conclusion as to how much money the state has in revenue, as well as how much the program caseloads are costing the state. Once those numbers are determined, the budget negotiations begin and the fight for passage of individual bills heightens. Because the legislature is on legislative break this week, “Under the Dome” will not be published next week.
Paid Sick Leave Bill Gets Senate Hearing – Your Action Needed
Last Wednesday, the Senate Labor Committee heard testimony from proponents and opponents of the paid sick leave bill - S.290 which requires every employer to provide paid sick and family leave to employees. While members of the business community, including the Chamber, pointed out the broad-reaching aspects of the bill’s language, there were only a couple senators that expressed concerns over potential harm to the business community. Please contact your state senator to let them know you oppose the passage of S.290. The leave accrues at 1 hour for every 30 hours worked up to a yearly maximum of 56 hours. The leave can be taken after the employee completes 90 days on the job. The leave can be used for the employee’s illness, illness of a parent, child, sibling, or anyone the employee has “an affinity” to which could mean friend. Leave can also be used for preventative care or domestic abuse issues – including stalking. An employee should notify the employer if it is reasonably possible, but employers cannot ask for proof of illness or domestic violence issues until the employee has been absent for 72 consecutive hours. The employer must hold the employee’s job for those three days. This is sometimes referred to as “No call, no show, no problem.”
Marijuana Discussion Continues
The House Judiciary Committee endured another very long night listening to advocates and opponents of the legalization of marijuana. H.5555 legalizes recreational marijuana and establishes a system of marijuana growing, processing, and distribution. H.5551 creates a 15 member commission to review and make recommendations on the effects of legalizing marijuana to the General Assembly by March 1, 2018. Both bills were held for further study which keeps them alive through the remainder of the session. According to testimony, about 17,000 Rhode Islanders already have medical marijuana cards. The police chiefs association submitted a document over 30 pages long that detailed specific cases where marijuana use has resulted in direct harm, sometimes death. Advocates pointed to medical benefits from the use of the drug, the higher arrest rate of minorities for marijuana use and the similarities between marijuana and alcohol. The Chamber testified against H.5555 citing a lack of protections for employers concerning workers’ compensation protection, lack of language ensuring employees cannot collect unemployment if terminated for use of the drug, dram shop issues, and liability for employees driving while high.
New Bill Takes on Temp Agency/Customer Relationship…And Others
Senator Calkin (D-Warwick) filed a new bill – S.771, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Wages (see link below). This bill appears to pierce the relationship between temporary employment agencies and their customers, but also affects subcontractors and general contractors. S.771 creates a definition for “Labor contractor” to include any person or entity that provides another company with “employees, independent contractors, subcontractors or workers of any kind to perform labor or services.” No written contract is required to establish this relationship to the Labor contractor. S.771 then defines “Lead entity” as a person or entity that accepts labor or services from someone through a “Lead contractor.” The real crux of the bill is the following: “A lead entity shall share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for all workers supplied by that labor contractor for any violation of title 28.” Title 28 covers most RI labor laws i.e. wages, hours, holidays, etc. In addition “the president and treasurer of a corporation and any officers or agents having the management of such corporation shall also be deemed civilly liable for a violation of title 28.”
The following new bills were filed:
House Bill No. 6106, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS - FROZEN DESSERTS (Eliminates multiple fees for frozen dessert processors licensed as food service establishments.)
House Bill No. 6111, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (Prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee wage and salary history before an offer of employment with compensation has been negotiated.)
House Bill No. 6125, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- RHODE ISLAND RETIREMENT SECURITY PROGRAM (Establishes a private employer IRA program allowing employees to contribute at least five percent (5%) of their payroll period wages into the IRA program, with oversight by the Rhode Island retirement security board.)
House Bill No. 6128, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - COMMERCE CORPORATION (Prohibits the commerce corporation, without general assembly approval or resolution, from providing leases, loan guarantees, grants or any other financial assistance, for any baseball park, recreational facility or any ancillary facility development.)
House Bill No. 6129, AN ACT RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES (Amends provisions of the tax increment financing act in order to encourage municipalities to use tax increment financing to facilitate economic development.)
Senate Bill No. 746, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS - LABELING OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED RAW AND PACKAGED FOOD PRODUCTS (Requires that all genetically engineered food offered for retail sale in this state have a label disclosing that the food is genetically engineered food upon the occurrence of 4 other states adopting similar labeling laws as specified in this act.)
Senate Bill No. 747, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS - LABELING OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED RAW AND PACKAGED FOOD PRODUCTS (Requires that all genetically engineered food offered for retail sale in this state contain a label with the disclosure that the food is genetically engineered food.)
Senate Bill No. 756, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - ENERGY FACILITY SITING ACT (Prevents the energy facility siting board from proceeding to final hearing or issuing a final decision if one or more of the designated agencies inform the siting board that they are unable to form an advisory opinion due the conduct of the applicant.)
Senate Bill No. 758, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS -- LABOR AND PAYMENT OF DEBTS BY CONTRACTORS (Adds to the protection afforded to subcontractors on public work contracts, and provides for the award of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.)
Senate Bill No. 771, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - WAGES (Defines and recognizes the existence and potential liability of lead entities concerning the payment of wages.)
Senate Bill No. 773, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (Amends the fair employment practices act by clearly establishing that employees of a defendant employer may be individually liable for unfair employment practices.)
Senate Resolution No. 774, SENATE RESOLUTION RESPECTFULLY REQUESTING THAT THE RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND TRAINING CREATES A “RETURN TO WORK” PLANNING GROUP TO STUDY THE POSSIBILITY OF DEVELOPING A HYBRID TEMPORARY DISABILITY INSURANCE PROGRAM SIMILAR TO THE STATE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROGRAM THAT FACILITATES TREATING AND REHABILITATING WORKERS WITH MEDICAL CONDITIONS THAT WERE NOT CAUSED BY WORK
The Wavemaker Fellowship program provides up to 4 years of student debt relief to professionals who work in RI in a STEM or commercial design field. Click here to learn more & apply today!
The State of Rhode Island announces its first “Diversity Business Enterprise Forum” to connect diverse business owners with resources and opportunities to grow their business through Government Procurement. The event is being held on Thursday, April 27, from 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. at The Vets, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI, with registration from noon – 12:30 p.m.
The forum is hosted by the ODEO’s Minority Business Enterprise Compliance Office (MBECO) and Supplier Diversity Office (SDO), in partnership with Oasis International, Progreso Latino, Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, Center for Southeast Asians, Center for Women & Enterprise, African Alliance of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Black Contractors Associations, Urban Ventures, Rhode Island Black Business Association, Rhode Island Indian Council, RI Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and NAACP/Providence Branch.
The event will feature a business networking opportunity, entitled: “The Procurement Exchange” from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., where vendors will be able to have a face-to-face conversation with several State agencies, quasi-state agencies, and prime vendor project managers and procurement officials about current and future projects, and opportunities to contract with these entities. The event will also feature three workshops:
“How To Do Business with the State of Rhode Island” 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
“How to Apply for MBE, WBE, DBE, ACDBE, 8(A),
VOSB, and SDVOSB Designation” 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
“Financing Your Business” 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
To register, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/state-of-rhode-island-diversity-business-enterprise-forum-tickets-33583161139
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED
An Update from the State House
Employer Property Liens, Employment at Will , Chickens and Veal
Last week was a busy week as a packed room discussed the ability of an employee to place a lien on an employer’s property if the proper wages are not paid. The Chamber testified against the bill pointing out that the burden of proof would shift heavily to the employer. An employee could send a letter stating the amount owed to the employee and the address of the property to be attached. If the employer fails to file a complaint in Superior court within 30 of the date of the letter, the lien is perfected. This system would encourage employers to pay even if they feel the wages are not owed – it would be cheaper to pay the employee than to pay an attorney to fight the dispute. The committee members asked great questions of the witnesses and seemed to understand the legal challenge of the lien proposal. The proponents are preparing substitute language in the hopes of passing some form of the bill.
The proposal to eliminate of the employment at will doctrine, gave the Chamber an opportunity to point out that only Montana has altered the doctrine, meaning Rhode Island would be the second state in the country to change employment at will. Again, the committee member asked probing questions to better understand the potential hazards of adopting a change.
An overflowing room of animal advocates and farmers led to a long debate on the treatment of chickens, pigs, calves and cows. The bill to eliminate the ability to restrict movement of these farm animals also includes language that disallows companies from purchasing animals raised in this manner. This issue is expected to be alive and debated throughout the remainder of the legislative session. If passed, as is, restaurants and other food companies would be responsible for ensuring the meat/eggs purchased comply with the law. Additionally, veal, as the public knows it, could no longer be served in Rhode Island.
Paid Sick Leave Bill To Be Heard Wednesday
On Wednesday at approximately 4:30 p.m. the Senate Labor Committee will meet in the Senate Lounge to hear testimony on paid sick leave. S.290, like the House bill, requires every employer to provide paid sick and family leave to employees. The leave accrues at 1 hour for every 30 hours worked up to a yearly maximum of 56 hours. The leave can be taken after the employee completes 90 days on the job. The leave can be used for the employee’s illness, illness of a parent, child, sibling, or anyone the employee has “an affinity” to which could mean friend. Leave can also be used for preventative care or domestic abuse issues – including stalking. An employee should notify the employer if it is reasonably possible, but employers cannot ask for proof of illness or domestic violence issues until the employee has been absent for 72 consecutive hours. The employer must hold the employee’s job for those three days. This is sometimes referred to as “No call, no show, no problem.” Please contact your state senator to let them know you oppose the passage of S.290.
TDI/TCI Expansion Bill Hearing Wednesday
The Senate Labor Committee will also debate the expansion of the State’s Temporary Disability Program and the Temporary Caregiver Insurance. S.678 would allow state and municipal employees to participate in the TDI program – they are currently exempt from the program. The bill increases the benefit rate from 4.62% of wages paid to the individual in a calendar year to 7.69%; and expands the TCI program to allow an employee to take time off to care for siblings and grandchildren.
Marijuana Hearing Tuesday
Marijuana will be the topic of discussion Tuesday at approximately 4:30 p.m. in the House Judiciary Committee – in the House Lounge. H.5555 legalizes recreational marijuana and establishes a system of marijuana growing, processing, and distribution. H.5551 will also be discussed at this hearing. H.5551 creates a 15 member commission to review and make recommendations on the effects of legalizing marijuana to the General Assembly by March 1, 2018.
MERS System Under Attack – Again
For those in the mortgage lending system or in the real estate market, S.659, An Act Relating to Property – Forms and Effect of Conveyances will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday at approximately 4:30 p.m. in room 313 at the State House. This bill would require every transfer or assignment of a mortgage to be filed in the municipality wherein the property lies. Failure to record the transfer would make the transfer essentially void. The bill seeks to eliminate the ability to use the MERS system for tracking mortgage assignments. Rhode Island would be the only state in the country to eliminate MERS, thus making the sale of mortgages on the secondary market nearly impossible.
The following new bills were filed:
House Bill No. 6077, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS-THE ENERGY AND CONSUMER SAVINGS ACT OF 2005 (Establishes minimum energy efficiency standards for certain products sold or installed in the state.)
House Bill No. 6082, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- RHODE ISLAND HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE (Authorizes the RI health benefit exchange to seek a waiver under the Affordable Care Act, allow qualified small business owners/sole proprietors to purchase qualified health benefit plans offered by the exchange & not be forced into the individual market.)
Senate Bill No. 716, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT SECURITY - BENEFITS (Increases the maximum weekly unemployment benefit rate to the higher of fifty-seven and one-half percent (57.5%) of the average weekly wages paid to workers in the prior calendar year or six hundred sixteen dollars ($616) per week.)
Draft Recommendations Published; Now Collecting Feedback Based on input from stakeholders and the Committee of Practitioners, RIDE has published the first drafts of recommendations for components of Rhode Island's ESSA State Plan.
Click here to view the ESSA State Plan Draft Recommendations Guide.
RIDE is now collecting your feedback on these recommendations so that your perspective can continue to inform our decision-making and our state plan can be responsive to your experience.
The following surveys will be open from March 31 – May 15, 2017. We thank you in advance for sharing!
1. Accountability Feedback Survey – English / Español
2. Supporting Educators & Leaders Feedback Survey – English / Español
3. Supporting All Students Feedback Survey – English / Español
4. School Improvement Feedback Survey – English / Español
Community Feedback Forums
Our community outreach continues in late April and early May. RIDE will host six regional community forums to share updates and gather feedback on the draft recommendations for the state's ESSA plan.
We will hold six forums at locations across Rhode Island:
· Greater Providence Area: Monday, April 24, at Cranston High School East, 899 Park Avenue, Cranston (Spanish language interpretation services are available)
· Southern Rhode Island: Wednesday, April 26, at Narragansett High School, 245 S Pier Road, Narragansett
· East Bay: Thursday, April 27, at Pell Elementary School, 35 Dexter Street, Newport
· Northern RI: Monday, May 1, at Cumberland High School, 2600 Mendon Road, Cumberland
· West Bay: Wednesday, May 3 at West Warwick High School, 1 Webster Knight Drive, West Warwick
· Providence: DATE TBA, at Providence Career and Technical Academy, 41 Fricker Street, Providence (Spanish language interpretation services are available)
All forums will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. These forums are open to everyone, but to reserve a spot at any of the forums, click here: http://www.ride.ri.gov/essa-forums
“The work of today is the history of tomorrow and we are its makers.”
— Juliette Low, founder of Girl Scouts of the USA
That poignant quote by Juliette Low is as applicable now as it was decades ago. In commemoration of National Women’s History Month, March has been dedicated to recognizing female trailblazers in both labor and the workforce. As we honor and reflect on the great strides that have been made, we must also acknowledge that more work has yet to be done.
According to a report in Fortune magazine, women’s share of the workforce in the United States grew from 33.4 percent in 1960 to 46.5 percent in 2000. While that number is expected to peak in 2025 at 47.1 percent, it keeps women at slightly less than half the labor force.
This increase is due in large part to the fact that women today are less likely to take breaks from work during their 20s and 30s, when they’d often stay home with their children.
Additionally, women have become significantly more likely to work into their 60s and 70s. Research shows that nearly 30 percent of women ages 65 to 69 are working (up from 15 percent in the late 1980s), and 18 percent of women ages 70 to 74 are employed (up from 8 percent).
Despite this positive surge of women entering and remaining in the workforce for greater lengths of time, women must continue to enhance their marketability to attain equal pay. As shown in a study conducted by Accenture, increasing digital fluency is a positive step toward achieving equal pay. Digital fluency denotes the way in which individuals embrace digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective.
The Accenture survey highlights that about 76 percent of men utilize their digital skills more frequently than women (72 percent). Also, 52 percent of men say they’re consistently learning new digital skills, compared to just 45 percent of women.
To promote, encourage and support all business professionals, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce hosts several technology, leadership and networking seminars throughout the year. In celebration of National Women’s History Month, I encourage you to join with us for our upcoming Women in Business After Hours event on Thursday from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at The Elms, 367 Bellevue Ave. in Newport.
The event, sponsored by the Preservation Society of Newport County, will feature a presentation by Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England CEO Pam Hyland. She will speak about the trailblazing history of the founders of Girl Scouts of the USA and today’s growing trends for women in the workplace.
By working together, we can ensure all professionals reach and exceed their career goals.
Erin Donovan-Boyle is executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. Commerce Spotlight appears the last weekend of the month in The Daily News and online at NewportRI.com.