Chamber News

July 08, 2020 Likes Comments

LinkedIn offers free DEI training program

There’s a white board in the chamber office with the names of 20 or so amazing people we’ve either heard, read about, or someone has suggested would make a great speaker at a future chamber event.

Every time we have a big event (remember those?) we review our wish list; looking for just the right speaker. Every time, we land someone, we erase that name. When a new suggestion comes along, they’re added to the list.
Verna Myers has been on our wish list for years.
Myers is an inclusion strategist; currently a VP at Netflix and founder and president of the Verna Myers Company. She’s been bringing conversations about diversity, inclusion and belonging (a subject so many of us are especially focused on now) to business audiences across the globe for two decades
Unfortunately, we don’t have any big, in-person speaking events on our calendar right now. Other than our upcoming, sold-out golf tournament, everything’s been cancelled since March. It’s impossible to predict when we might.
Here’s the next best thing: LinkedIn has made its entire online Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging training series available for free through Aug. 31. Three of the courses are designed to help us understand and confront unconscious bias. The series also covers having inclusive conversations and creating diverse workplaces.
One of the first sections, Confronting Bias: Thriving Across Our Differences, is presented by, you guessed it, Verna Myers.
I’ve been working my way through the entire series and encourage you to make time to do so too. Share it with your colleagues and employees as well.
Programs like these are a great option for any business or nonprofit looking to introduce diversity training into the workplace at a time when bringing in an outside consultant isn’t feasible. (You’ll even earn a certificate of completion when you finish the full series.)
Check it out. Let me know what you think.
And I’m keeping Verna Myers name on our wish list for a future event.
Check this out too
Tomorrow’s Chamber Zoominar “What employers need to know now: HR considerations for returning employers” also feels timely.
Businesses and nonprofits have a lot of new things to think about as workplaces reopen.
In this session, Saleha Walsh (Insource Services, Inc) and Liz Adler (Beacon Law Group), will address return to work plan requirements and suggestions, COVID leave obligations, unemployment and other topics.
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho. It’s back to court houses we go.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an order Tuesday laying out what accessing court facilities will look like as court houses across the state reopen next week.
Anyone entering a courthouse will be screened and have their temperature checked. Face coverings must also be worn and social distancing adhered to.
The new requirements, effective July 13, apply to litigants, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, law enforcement personnel, contractors, vendors, media and other members of the public. MassLive has more here.
Child care struggles carry a heavy toll
Working from home during the pandemic has forced employers and employees with young children to be more flexible.
But being a full-time worker and a full-time parent is creating a new problem.
"The downside to that is people really never stop working now," JD Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, said at a state house hearing yesterday. "And flexibility on the employer side, to the employee might mean 'I'm up at 5 a.m. before my kids get up and I'm working after they go to sleep.
"So while it's working on a variety of metrics, it's not sustainable."
As the state continues to reopen, child care providers are struggling with how they can balance providing for families, following safety protocols and making enough money to keep their doors open.
A national survey working parents conducted by a Northeastern University found that 13 percent of working parents had to quit a job or reduce hours due to lack of childcare, the Globe reports.
PPP loan tracker
The Pioneer Institute has developed this cool Paycheck Protection Plan Loan Tracker. The web tool allows you to track PPP loans by recipient, lender, location, industry, loan range and “jobs retained.”
According to this data, from the Small Business Administration, 18,177 Massachusetts small businesses received PPP loans, which the companies claim retained 738,613 jobs.
Businesses demand a 'cover up'
The nation’s largest retail chains and national business groups want everyone to wear a mask.

“Retailers are alarmed with the instances of hostility and violence front-line employees are experiencing by a vocal minority of customers,” the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents Target, Home Depot and other major chains said in a letter to the National Governors Association .
Another letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (not affiliated with our chamber), the National Retail Federation, the Business Roundtable and others calls on the White House Coronavirus Task Force and governors to issue guidelines on face mask requirements.
“Issuing voluntary guidance on masks is insufficient to protect public health,” the group says.
They also asked for standards to “make clear that businesses and nonprofits will not be held liable for refusing entry or services to an individual who is not complying with face covering requirements.”
In Massachusetts a recent poll showed that 44 percent of state residents marked themselves as being “very strict” when it comes to social distancing, a 25 percent drop from a similar poll question in May.
Finally, an idea other communities should adopt
Business in most communities are on their own when it comes to finding and covering the costs of personal protection gear.
But in Wellesley, more than 250 merchants have received PPE support from the town’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Now a second grant from the same fund is paying for hand sanitizer refills for 40 stations that have seen popping up at storefronts across town, according to the Swellesley Report.
Newton, Needham and Watertown should do that too.
See you tomorrow.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.


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