Indiana Workforce Recovery Making Progress

The opioid epidemic impacting many parts of Indiana and our country did not happen overnight. The solutions won’t be immediate, either, but the Indiana Workforce Recovery effort of the Indiana Chamber and the Wellness Council of Indiana is moving forward.

The initiative, announced earlier this year in partnership with the state, is in place to help address the effects of drug use in the workplace. Among the recent and ongoing steps for Indiana Workforce Recovery:

  • Allyson Blandford

    Allyson Blandford

    Project manager Allyson Blandford is on board to guide the day-to-day activities

  • More than 30 key stakeholder meetings have taken place to identify potential partners and align Indiana Workforce Recovery programs with other initiatives
  • Funding discussions continue with a variety of local, state and national organizations
  • Initial actions that employers can take today have been released

Indiana Workforce Recovery is focused on the workplace, disseminating best practices that support prevention, early identification, treatment and recovery. The goals include helping to educate employers and reduce the stigma around substance abuse disorder.

Among the upcoming actions:

  • Convening sessions for employers in conjunction with the state’s Family and Social Services Administration. Bloomington, Greenwood, Fort Wayne, Terre Haute and Lafayette will be the initial locations. Look for details soon
  • Establishment of a peer review panel to evaluate effectiveness of toolkits and other support initiatives
  • Addition of a Mental Health First Aid training pre-conference to the 2018 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit, which will also have a session on substance use disorder in the workplace

The Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine will feature an Indiana Workforce Recovery update in its September-October issue.

Learn more from Blandford at (317) 264-2166 or ablandford@indianachamber.com.

Gain Power Through Knowledge at the Indiana Energy Management Conference

Concerned about rising energy demands and costs? Join experts and colleagues at the Indiana Conference on Energy Management for the latest updates, forecasts and trends regarding energy issues.

Learn how to cut costs while remaining compliant and see what’s coming down the pipeline during the day-and-a-half conference (July 31-August 1) at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.

Choose from among 12 sessions and attend two keynote presentations, a roundtable lunch and reception. Browse and network at the concurrent Expo.

The program is ideal for facility and energy managers, plant operations managers, maintenance supervisors, energy aggregators, energy engineers, utility company managers, governmental affairs managers and others.

Session topics include:

  • Real-time energy management
  • Corporate renewable energy in Indiana
  • Demand reduction versus peak shaving
  • Economic benefits of distributed generation
  • What’s next with the Volkswagen Environmental Trust
  • How the dynamic electric utility industry impacts industrial and manufacturing customers
  • Saving energy in compressor systems

Registration is $399 for Chamber members with a special $199 rate for government employees. Register two or more and receive a 20% discount.

The conference is sponsored by Indiana Michigan Power along with Ice Miller, Apex Clean Energy, MacAllister Power Systems, EDF Energy Services, Vectren, Cummins, Inc., Citizens Energy Group, Geronimo Energy, Country Mark and NIPSCO. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Jim Wagner at (317) 264-6876 for details.

Preview the complete agendaregister or call (800) 824-6885 for more information.

Tech Talk: Scoring the Votes, Tallying Your Benefits

It seems so long ago that an up-and-down software-as-a-service legislative journey ended successfully with passage of now Senate Enrolled Act 257. The bottom line: Indiana put a definitive stake in the ground, becoming just the fourth state to clearly establish that it will not tax such SaaS transactions. (Summary on Page 2 here).

But with the 2018 Indiana General Assembly not wrapping up its work until a one-day special session in mid-May, an evaluation of the legislators’ work and a review of how members benefitted from Indiana Chamber advocacy have just recently been released.

The 2018 Legislative Vote Analysis, as the name suggests, grades lawmakers on their support for pro-economy, pro-jobs initiatives. Scores for 2018 range from 47% to 100%. Two Chamber priorities, however, are not included in the analysis as they did not advance to the floor for full votes due to leadership decisions. Those were efforts to raise the smoking age to 21 and reform the state’s smallest townships.

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar notes, “For this exercise, it means that two critical pieces of legislation never came into play, so ‘tough votes’ weren’t taken and overall vote scores are higher as a result.”

View the full report or one-page summary of legislator scores.

Overall, the Chamber’s advocacy work resulted in savings for Indiana employers of $615 million – or $228 per employee. Major efforts included the following:

  • Tax savings, most significantly avoiding direct tax increases due to conformity with federal tax reform, and the SaaS sales tax exemption
  • Defeat of a variety of labor and insurance mandates

What do the Chamber efforts mean for your organization? If you have 10 employees, it’s $2,280; for 25 employees, $5,700; or 100 employees, $22,800.

View the 2018 Legislative Return on Investment.

Achieve Your Degree (and Save Money) With Indiana Chamber Discount

Many of the adults in Indiana with some or no postsecondary education are already working at companies or organizations that are desperate for a pipeline of talent to grow their businesses.

Those companies need to look no further than their own employee base with assistance from Ivy Tech Community College and its Achieve Your Degree program (plus a tuition discount courtesy of your Indiana Chamber of Commerce membership).

Employers interested in upskilling their existing workforce, attracting new employees with a tuition reimbursement benefit and are members of the Indiana Chamber can enroll in Achieve Your Degree and offer full-time employees a 5% discount on tuition costs, or take advantage of that savings if the company already pays employee tuition.

With Achieve Your Degree, employers can offer tuition reimbursement with minimal up-front costs as tuition can be deferred to the end of the semester. An Ivy Tech representative will also offer on-site academic advising and work with students on the financial aid application process.

Flexibility and customization are hallmarks of Achieve Your Degree. For example, to ensure students maintain their working schedules, they may take a combination of in-class and distance education. As the largest public postsecondary institution in Indiana, Ivy Tech has more than 40 locations throughout the state.

The Indiana Chamber expects the partnership with Ivy Tech to pay off for its member companies in several ways: skill upgrades, cost savings and building employee loyalty by offering the benefit.

Ivy Tech started the Achieve Your Degree program in 2016.

Member companies interested in learning more or signing up can find more information at www.indianachamber.com/achieve. Verify your Indiana Chamber membership is current and that your company is eligible for the 5% discount by calling Nick at (317) 264-6898.

Taking Employee Skills to the ‘Next Level’

Over the next decade, more than one million jobs must be filled in Indiana. Governor Holcomb recently announced enhancements to the Employer Training Grant component of the Next Level Jobs initiative, which prepares Hoosiers for positions in high-demand industry sectors.

What’s different? As of May 1, the reimbursement amount per new employee jumped from $2,500 to $5,000. The cap per employer also doubled – from $25,000 to $50,000.

Where does training take place? In-house or from an external provider.

What types of businesses are covered by the Employer Training Grant? Six industries are featured:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Building and Construction
  • Health Sciences
  • Information Technology and Business Services
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Agriculture

Since its inception to 2017, nearly 600 applications have been received. More than $5.2 million in training funds have been obligated.

Tech Talk: Who Deserves ‘Dynamic’ Award for 2018?

A good sign of Indiana’s growing innovation and entrepreneurship stature is that it continues to get more difficult to select the winner of the Indiana Chamber’s annual Dynamic Leader of the Year award.

For 29 years, the Chamber has recognized business, government and community excellence. In 2015, the Dynamic Leader honor was added to the mix. The official definition:

This award honors a leader who is working toward achieving goals outlined in the Indiana Vision 2025 economic development plan, particularly the Dynamic and Creative Culture driver that focuses on entrepreneurship and new business creation/expansion.

In other words, it’s business success and helping grow the local/regional/state tech and innovation ecosystem.

Here are the first three honorees and their BizVoice magazine stories:

Nominations for the 2018 honor are due no later than June 15. It’s a straightforward process. Details and the online form are available at www.indianachamber.com/annual-awards-dinner/.

The awards dinner, taking place November 13 at the Indiana Convention Center, will feature keynote speaker J.D. Vance. Look for more soon on the author, venture capitalist and Midwest evangelist for business and economic growth. It’s not too early to secure your table or tickets.

Social Media to Keep You In the Loop

Did you see our live-stream Facebook video during the recent Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration in early May?

It was the first time we’ve broadcast live from that event – meaning you could be part of the action, even if you were watching from home!

If you follow us on Twitter, you’re the first to see our posts and news regarding legislative priorities and policy matters important to the Indiana business community.

Earlier this year, for example, you might have been following along as Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar tweeted from one of Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma’s “Tweet Seats” during the Governor’s annual State of the State address.

On Instagram, you’ll get a glimpse of life behind the scenes here at the Indiana Chamber, from learning more about our new employees to how we celebrate the holidays, give back to the community and relax together as a company.

LinkedIn is a great way to learn about our many conferences and seminars, awards and updates and so much more.

You can also find us on YouTube with a variety of videos. Overall, social media is a great way to keep in touch with the Indiana Chamber and to receive breaking updates about the state’s business landscape.

Member news: If you’re looking for broader visibility for your company news and updates, submit your press releases through our Member Press Release submission form. Not only are those archived on our web site, but we regularly highlight this news and information to our 18,400+ Twitter followers and over 2,400 Facebook fans.Our presence on social media is also one of the benefits of membership with the Indiana Chamber. Here are some of the various member-related features you can find across our feeds:

  • Member Spotlight: We also shine the light on Indiana Chamber member companies through their own narrative with the Member Spotlight feature.
  • And we’re regularly interacting with Indiana Chamber member company accounts on social media, with this blog and the EchoChamber podcast, sharing conversations, posts and updates about what’s new in a number of companies and industries around the state.

But the best way for you to find out what we have to offer via social media is for you to follow, like or subscribe (if you don’t already) to our accounts.

You can also contact Communications and PR Manager Charlee Beasor at (317) 264-7543 if you have any questions or need more information about our social media presence and how your company can follow along or join in the conversation.

All About the Innovation Districts

Larry Gigerich, executive managing director at Ginovus and an Indiana Chamber board member, recently wrote about innovation districts and their importance – accessing talent, collaborating with higher educational institutions and partnering with other private sector companies.

Below are three of the lists he shared as part of that writing:

Innovation District Characteristics

  • Proximity to higher educational research assets (university, college, hospital, etc.)
  • Presence of research based organizations (non-profit and/or for profit)
  • Location of technology enabled company facilities
  • Magnets (quality of place assets) for talent
  • Available real estate for development
  • Access to the different forms of transportation
  • Co-working space for researchers
  • Retail services to support people working in the area

 Well-Established U.S. Innovation Districts

  • The Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor
  • Kendall Square in Cambridge
  • University City in Philadelphia
  • Research Triangle Park in Raleigh-Durham
  • Medical Alley in Rochester
  • University Research Park in Madison
  • Research Park in Salt Lake City
  • South Lake Union in Seattle

 Developing Innovation Districts

  •  Cortex in St. Louis
  • 16 Tech in Indianapolis
  • Future City in Detroit
  • Akron Innovation District
  • Syracuse Innovation Zone
  • The Innovation District of Chattanooga
  • University Research Park in Ames
  • Yanke Research Park in Boise

Chamber Staff Comings and Goings

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is just a few years away from celebrating 100 years (the organization was founded in 1922). Over nearly a century, there have been countless staff changes and evolutions to help move the organization forward.

Janet Boston

Today, we say “thank you and farewell” to Janet Boston, who is retiring as executive director of the Indiana INTERNnet program, which is managed by the Indiana Chamber. Boston has been in the role for seven years and caps off an outstanding career in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Read more about Boston’s impact with the organization here. The Indiana Chamber and Indiana INTERNnet Board sent Boston out in style – with a luncheon and office celebration, and presented her with a custom necklace in appreciation of her taking the program to new heights.

Mark Lawrance, who has most recently been advocating in the economic development and technology areas, will replace Boston as interim executive director of Indiana INTERNnet, starting June 1. Lawrance will be retiring later this year and is expected to stay in the interim role until the fall.

Additionally, as previously announced, the Indiana Chamber has partnered with the Wellness Council of Indiana and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration to help combat the state’s opioid epidemic. The new Indiana Workforce Recovery initiative is a joint effort among the groups and is led by Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of the Wellness Council. The initiative provides employers with resources and guidance on how to help their employees who are impacted by the opioid epidemic. Allyson Blandford has come on board at the Wellness Council to support the initiative as project manager.

Also at the Wellness Council, Madie Newman has joined as program coordinator for the Indiana Healthy Communities initiative. The role has been created to support the organization in helping communities coordinate wellness efforts, ensuring healthier citizens and acting as a draw for economic development opportunities.

Abbi Espe rounds out our membership team. She was hired this spring as the manager of member services for northeastern Indiana and will focus on bringing new companies into the fold.

On the education front, the grant-funded college and career readiness position, held by Shelley Huffman, ends today. Lobbyist Caryl Auslander, who handled education and workforce matters, has left for new endeavors.

Greg Ellis, vice president of energy and environmental policy, is now responsible for federal lobbying. Members of the Indiana Chamber’s advocacy team are assuming Auslander and Lawrance’s other policy committee duties on a temporary basis until new staff is hired later this summer.

We wish everyone well and good luck in their future activities and look forward to the contributions of our new team members to continue the important work and mission of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity for the people of Indiana and their enterprises.”

For our complete staff listing, visit the web site at: https://www.indianachamber.com/about/staff-listing/

Revamped Indiana HR Resources Web Site Available

Raise your hand if you like saving money and raise your other hand if you like helping your company save money.

(We know you have both your hands in the air right now – go ahead and put them down if you’re getting stares from your co-workers.)

We’ve got great news for those of you who are in the process of putting your hands back down: You can be the star of the company budget by accessing valuable human resources materials at a large discount through the Indiana Chamber’s newly-updated Indiana HR Resources web site.

What are some of those resources? For starters, you can access 15 Indiana HR online guides. That includes the Employment Law Handbook, Model Employee Policies Handbook, Indiana Employment Forms and more, which is a $1,000 value over purchasing the 15 ePublications individually.

In addition, you’ll receive the latest HR news, employment law legislative alerts, the HR Monthly Messenger and have access to employment law/labor attorneys and advisors and HR/employment forms and checklists.

You can also take advantage of a 10% discount on Indiana Chamber publications and regulatory compliance training seminars and conferences throughout the year.

We’ve redesigned the web site and added much more for your money. Those interested in a subscription to the site can access Indiana HR Resources for 12 months for $599. Indiana Chamber member companies can subscribe for $449 for 12 months.

To top it all off, there’s a 10-day free trial to test the waters.

Subscribe online at www.hrindiana.com or call (800) 824-6885 to sign up or for more information.