Special thanks to Roundtable member Bill Kennedy, who hosted a terrific discussion at this month’s Board meeting with Administration & Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore on the state’s fiscal condition, budget and regulatory reform. We appreciate Secretary Lepore’s insights about the important work underway to reform state regulations, develop a fiscally prudent budget that continues to invest in education and builds a solid financial foundation for the long-term.
I also want to thank all of the members of the Roundtable’s Energy Task Force and special Ad Hoc Committee on Early Education and Care. MBR’s energy principles and recommendations for early childhood education were adopted unanimously by the Board. These tools will guide our advocacy and engagement on important policy priorities.
Highlighting the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to resolve more than $3 billion in budget deficits from FY15-FY17, reduce reliance on one-time revenue sources and align spending with recurring revenues, A&F Secretary Kristen Lepore engaged Roundtable Board members in a far-reaching conversation about the state’s fiscal condition. Secretary Lepore noted that the state has made progress by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and curbing the MassHealth growth rate, while maintaining
the Commonwealth’s bond rating and providing a strong commitment to local aid, education and health care.
Secretary Lepore also announced progress on regulatory reform, a perennial priority for the Roundtable, as the state will complete this summer a major review of more than 1,600 regulations that will reduce duplication and red tape while improving services. For example, the state is pushing to eliminate duplicative reporting requirements for health care providers and carriers through a coordinated review of those requirements across a variety of regulatory agencies. Beyond health care reporting, Secretary Lepore noted several themes identified in the regulatory review such as the state’s building code, energy and the environment, licensing and certification as well as educator assessments. She strongly urged business leaders to share ideas for continued improvements in the regulatory environment online through the “A Clearer Code: Regulatory Review” website.
Roundtable members engaged Secretary Lepore in discussion on topics that included the Administration’s commitment to increasing opportunities in vocational technical education, maintaining access to high quality health care, the federal Medicaid waiver process, strengthening the stabilization fund, allocation of state capital funding, implementation of information technology systems and the Governor’s economic development legislation. Members thanked Secretary Lepore for her partnership, commitment to sound fiscal management and enhancing the state’s competitiveness.
With an unwavering commitment to energy efficiency, expanded generating capacity, cost reduction and robust competition, the Roundtable unanimously adopted a set of steps that chart a course toward a more reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for the Commonwealth. The principles form the foundation of the Roundtable’s ongoing advocacy with leaders in state government and collaboration with the business community to impact energy legislation under development on Beacon Hill.
Through the work of its Energy Task Force, Chaired by Foley Hoag Partner Joseph Basile and comprised of business leaders and experts in the energy sector, the Roundtable developed steps to meet the electricity needs of a growing economy while also achieving environmental goals established by the Global Warming Solutions Act. To achieve these goals, the Roundtable supports a balanced, competitive, regional approach that includes new generation from renewable energy sources and natural gas, energy efficiency measures, and innovative distributed generation solutions.
READ Energy Principles
MBR’s Board of Directors voted unanimously at the March meeting to make access to high quality, affordable early education a policy priority on the Roundtable’s education and workforce development agenda and to adopt a report developed by the special Ad Hoc Committee of the Board. The Committee, Chaired by CeltiCare CEO Jay Gonzalez and comprised of a diverse group of business leaders, drafted a series of findings, recommendations and guiding principles following meetings with state and national leaders in the field. The Committee met with the state’s Commissioner of Early Education and Care, Tom Weber, and with Sara Watson, Global Director of Ready Nation, to discuss state, national and international efforts by business leaders to advocate for changes in early education public policy.
The Committee noted that quality early education helps increase a child’s likelihood of success in school, in their career and in life. A key determinant of quality is the qualifications of early educators. However, expanding access to quality early education is difficult, and the business model for early education providers is financially challenging. The Roundtable adopted the principles to guide its engagement with policymakers:
- The Commonwealth should make access to high quality early childhood education a priority not only for the benefit of our children, but also because it is a workforce issue, an economic development issue and a business imperative.
- High quality early childhood education is important for the Commonwealth’s long term economic health because it can increase the supply of qualified workers while reducing demand and cost on remedial services.
- Expanding access to early education must be coupled with ensuring that our early education programs are high quality programs in order to achieve the desired results and return on investment.
- Developing, professionalizing and retaining the early education workforce is critical to delivering high quality programming.
Former Roundtable Chair Donna Cupelo, President, Verizon New England, was tapped by Governor Charlie Baker to serve as Chair of the state’s new Workforce Development Board. Roundtable members Jerry Burke, President of Hillcrest Educational Centers and Beth Mitchell, Director of Engineering for General Dynamics Mission Systems in Pittsfield were also appointed to the new 33-member Board, which includes elected officials, business and educational leaders.
“We are going to create a public workforce system that better meets the needs of employers and job seekers by giving residents the skills and training opportunities they need to fill jobs in growing industries,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Ronald L. Walker in the press release announcing the Board.
The Roundtable submitted a letter of support for a grant application submitted by the Boston Private Industry Council to the Department of Labor for $4 million to recruit, train, and promote the next generation of Information Technology professionals. Roundtable member Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is one of the education & training partners and Roundtable member State Street is an employer partner supporting the grant application. MBR staff have participated in the development of the grant application through the Boston IT Consortium, which also includes the Mass. Competitive Partnership and the Mass. Technology Leadership Council. The objective of the grant fits within the Roundtable’s member-driven education and workforce development policy agenda to develop sustainable pathways that create opportunities for workers and expand access to talent in fields that are in high demand from employers.
READ Letter of Support
The Boston Globe this month ran a terrific feature story noting that nearly 5,000 employees at Fidelity have signed up to take advantage of a new benefit helping them repay student loans. The story also mentions Roundtable members PricewaterhouseCoopers and Natixis are offering similar benefits to their employees. Roundtable members continue to provide significant benefits to attract and retain a top quality workforce across the state. The Globe story notes that Fidelity has dramatically expanded its maternity and paid parental leave benefits. Congratulations to Roundtable members on these programs and well-deserved recognition. READ story
MBR member Eric Schultz penned an excellent op-ed in the Boston Business Journal on the positive impact of workforce training. We are pleased to share this piece with our members.
I hear from other business leaders over and over again: The most important capital any business has is its human capital. At Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and across the commonwealth, business leaders know that a well-trained workforce is essential for our success.
Massachusetts employers are certainly fortunate to have great colleges and universities with which to partner in our effort to recruit talented individuals. We also have great community-based job-training providers that have made it their mission to find, train and secure employment for people who can fill important jobs that may not require post-secondary education —positions that are essential to the success of our companies. READ more
Roundtable member Brandeis International Business School’s Rosenberg Institute of Global Finance is hosting a panel discussion on opportunities in emerging markets on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 6:00 pm, at the Metro Meeting Centers, 101 Federal Street in Boston. For additional information, please contact Barbara Cassidy via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone (781) 736-8351. To register for this event online, please visit: http://attend.com/RosenbergOutlook2016.
RSM this month announced the creation of a new first-of-its-kind Quarterly Middle Market Economic Index. Developed in partnership with Moody’s Analytics, the index designed to accurately reflect business conditions in the U.S. middle market, while providing a statistically significant measure of the health and outlook for these businesses. “Until now, there has been no comprehensive index for the middle market, which is astounding, given the critical role it plays in producing the goods and services that fuel the U.S. economy,” said Joe Adams, managing partner and chief executive officer for RSM US LLP. “Our investment in the RSM US Middle Market Business Index reflects our steadfast commitment to the middle market and our belief that a deeper understanding of these businesses by policymakers and the broader business community will lead to positive outcomes for the entire economy.” For more information, please visit online.
Does your company have news about industry trends, key milestones or other materials you are sharing with the public? We want to include news from our members in this space, so please send any story ideas or links to MBR Deputy Director Chris Kealey.
Interesting findings in new @UDelaware study on #offshore wind http://ow.ly/ZF9WC
Unemployment in STEM fields is 3.4% in MA. Those kind of numbers are why our members prioritize STEM education
"Graduates w/#STEM skills join a workforce making MA the most #innovative state in the US" @MassLtGov @KarynPolito
Congrats to Roundtable member @delawarenorth @tdgarden, selected by Boston @marty_walsh to reimagine City Hall Plaza
BFIT Career Fair is on 3/31. Looking to #hire for #technology #jobs? Company registration: http://bit.ly/1p1zmrz
Mass. is the most innovative economy in the US, says @MassEOHED @JayAshEOHED highlighting @Mass_Tech report http://index.masstech.org/
Sara Watson of @Ready_Nation addressing Roundtable's Early Education committee, highlighting important role of business cmty
What are you saving for this year? #MakeItCount Learn more: www.facebook.com/events