Improving the overall business climate in our state is one of the primary goals of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. Working on behalf of our members, the chamber is committed to a number of specific priorities, including advocating for specific small business issues that will affect our members, supporting industry sector projects that will enhance the vitality of the entire county, and supporting education and workforce development initiatives underway to ensure we have the skilled workforce we need into the future.
For many small businesses, the cost of health insurance continues to grow and is the second-largest cost to employers after payroll. The chamber is working on behalf of the small business community by participating in the Small Business Administration Committee on Health Care and by coordinating regular meetings with state leaders to discuss potential solutions.
We are engaged in strategies to reduce overall costs to the system, as well as realistic approaches around innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities to enable direct and immediate impact. We hope to share more information on progress in this area in the near future.
Additionally, the chamber supports state matching funds of the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center and Center for Women and Enterprise federal resources. These valuable federal agencies provide tremendous business development tools and resources that have provided excellent programs for the small business community. Many of those programs can be found on the chamber’s website and their workshops take place right in our boardroom throughout the year.
The chamber recognizes the importance of the defense, marine trades, health care and hospitality and tourism industries to our local economy. We are continuously monitoring legislation that will impact those industries and advocating for continued statewide support for these sectors in the areas of cluster growth, infrastructure investment, and workforce development.
As we grow the local economy, education and workforce development are essential resources. The chamber will continue to promote education and workforce development opportunities through marketing and outreach on behalf of our trade associations and education partners. This will include continued participation in the Newport Working Cities Grant, whose mission is to address systems change in an effort to assist unemployed and underemployed residents to find upward mobility.
We will continue to offer job bank and job fair opportunities for employers and individuals seeking work, and will support regional efforts regarding the enhancement of our industry clusters.
We see regional economic development coordination as one of our key responsibilities, and we will continue to bring together key stakeholders and facilitate regular meetings with our leaders, government officials, and town and city representatives.
In addition to these efforts and legislative priorities, the chamber also will be implementing the Politics and Pancakes series to bring statewide conversations to Newport County for the entire community. Our first event will take place on Thursday from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Hotel Viking with Gov. Gina Raimondo.