FEBRUARY 2018
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks for the Roundtable Board meeting at Deloitte to continue the important conversation we began with Governor Baker about the ‘Future of Work.” Robotics, artificial intelligence and other technological innovations are disrupting business models and changing the nature of jobs across industries. We are pleased to have several Roundtable members leading a discussion that will feature input and feedback from Education Secretary Jim Peyser.

Thank you to all Roundtable members and our many partners in state government for your support and engagement.


MBR Advances Balanced Approach to Reducing Energy Costs, Enhancing Reliability
The Roundtable joined major trade groups and business organizations to express concern that the rapidly increasing shortfall of reliable and affordable sources of energy generation in New England poses a threat to Massachusetts’ ability to meet its greenhouse gas reduction mandates and support the region’s growing economy.

The Mass. Coalition for Sustainable Energy, comprised of some of the Commonwealth’s largest business organizations, wrote in a letter to Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Harriette Chandler and Speaker Robert DeLeo that, “while we have made great progress jumpstarting clean sources of energy for the future, failure to address our need for reliable and affordable sources of energy generation makes us extremely vulnerable economically while calling into question our ability to meet our ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.”

The Coalition provides an opportunity for the Roundtable to promote the principles developed by our Energy Task force, namely that the region must have adequate capacity to access competitively priced energy resources—including natural gas and clean, cost-effective renewable sources of energy—to control costs and enhance reliability. MBR supports a balanced approach to meeting regional energy supply needs and promoting long-term economic development that includes: growth in renewable energy sources; increased supply of natural gas; continued focus on energy efficiency and promoting new technologies.

The letter is signed by the leaders of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (Massachusetts Chapter), the United Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts and the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, which are all founding members of the Mass. Coalition for Sustainable Energy.

READ Letter | READ Boston Globe editorial

Roundtable Supports H.3804, Advocates for Workforce Training Opportunities to Address Talent Gaps
The Roundtable continued to advocate for resources to support effective workforce training programs that help workers find jobs in diverse industry sectors across Massachusetts. MBR teamed up with the Workforce Solutions Group, which includes representatives from the AFL-CIO, workforce professionals and community-based organizations and worked closely with Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce to support H.3804.
This legislation, currently in the House Committee on Ways and Means, would allow up to five percent of the state’s Workforce Training Fund, a $22M fund supported by employer-backed contributions, to be used for job pipeline training through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund. Managed by Commonwealth Corporation, this Fund has a proven track record of success in placing job seekers in new positions at companies across the state. The coalition also supports the inclusion of a state match, subject to appropriation, of five percent or up to $1.1 million a year. With the inclusion of common sense pay-for-performance language, this legislation will help job seekers and enable employers to find the right talent to fuel economic growth in Massachusetts.

READ letter

Roundtable Member IBM Hosts Rennie Center for Discussion on the State of Education in Massachusetts
Roundtable members representing diverse industry sectors participated in a timely discussion on the state of education in Massachusetts with the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy. The Rennie Center provides a non-partisan, evidenced-based voice on education reform, combining independent research and on-the-ground initiatives to support and advance reforms in schools.

Rennie Center Executive Director Chad d’Entremont presented the Center’s “Condition of Education in the Commonwealth Report”—an annual series using school performance indicators to identify areas for improvement and recommendations for reform. The Condition of Education series offers critical reflections on how to build a strong education system that prepares all students for success in tomorrow’s workforce. The meeting provided an opportunity to talk about priority issues for the remainder of the legislative session and beyond.

Special thanks to Roundtable member IBM for hosting the conversation at its Watson Health Headquarters in Cambridge and to members from UBS Financial Services, BFIT, Shire, iRobot, J.Derenzo Companies, IBM, Blue Cross and Rossano Resources for joining the discussion. Here are a few takeaways from the meeting:

  • Massachusetts leads the nation in academic achievement but is falling behind in preparing students for success after graduation.
  • Chronic achievement gaps exist between white students and students of color; students still require too much remediation when entering college; and only 23% of employers think recent graduates are prepared to apply their skills and knowledge in the workplace.
  • One key to success is for communities is to determine the best approaches and solutions that fit for their school districts. Rennie Center highlighted its work on Early College as an example of an innovative solution that is improving educational outcomes.
  • Rennie Center highlighted the need for the next major education reform to build on the strong foundation of success in the 1993 education reform law.

VIEW Rennie Center Presentation | READ Condition of Education Action Guide

Connections…Conversations…Impact—MBR’s 2017 Annual Report Highlights Collaboration with Business Leaders & Policy Makers
In the opening message of MBR’s 2017 Annual Report, Chair Marcy Reed notes, “The Roundtable is proud to provide a venue for leaders in business, higher education and state government to have important conversations, connect with one another, and take action to address tough public policy issues that impact our state’s competitiveness.”

Special thanks to MBR’s many partners in the business community and government for their collaboration, leadership and commitment to our shared mission of making Massachusetts a highly desirable place to do business. To read more about shared successes in state public policy, please download the Roundtable’s 2017 Annual Report.

Roundtable Participates in State House Innovation Day with Members Dell, Google, Verizon, Raytheon, UMass & MassTech
The Massachusetts TechHUB Caucus hosted its 3rd Innovation Day, which brought 200-plus attendees to the State House to discuss "Megatrends and the Future of Tech in Massachusetts." The Caucus also recognized the contributions of leading tech innovators with an inaugural round of NextGEN Awards, recognizing tech firms and organizations that are leading and innovating in their field and contributing to the Massachusetts tech economy for the next generation.

Tech is one of the state’s strongest economic engines. According to the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council’s 2017 State of Technology Report, the sector today directly employs over 300,000 and an additional 100,000 employed in tech occupations in other sectors of the economy, which including indirect jobs, underpinning 34% of all jobs in Massachusetts.

“Today was a terrific opportunity to explore what is possible thanks to the innovations of the businesses propelling Massachusetts forward,” said TechHUB Caucus co-chair Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “The winners of the NextGEN awards are transforming the future of technology and driving the next generation of economic growth.” READ more >

Going Around the Table
News, links and information about members of the Roundtable

Roundtable Member Deloitte Teams with Raising A Reader to Improve Early Literacy
Corporations need a strong workforce, a talent pool to build their business. One way to address the need to improve this pipeline is to focus on early literacy.

Raising A Reader MA (RAR-MA) is a statewide early literacy and parent engagement organization that provides books, resources, and education to help families with young children create a practice of book sharing and build school and reading readiness skills. RAR-MA’s vision is to equip all parents to become agents of change, as their children’s first teachers, to eliminate the opportunity gap that can impact success in school and beyond. The Green Light Fund brought Raising A Reader to Massachusetts in 2006 as part of its strategy of replicating evidence-based programs to solve social problems. RAR-MA has grown rapidly, with a focus on Gateway Cities, where the education attainment, employment, and family income rates are significantly lower than statewide averages.

Recent MCAS scores show 53% of third-graders are not meeting expectations in reading, which makes it more likely these children will struggle academically and throughout their lives. A high school drop-out in Massachusetts costs taxpayers almost $350,000 over a lifetime in decreased tax revenue and increased public assistance cost, according to MA State Legislature. READ more >

Roundtable Members Support Educational Equity Non-Profit, Summer Search
A hallmark of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable is the successful partnerships our members have created with local organizations that support students and their college and professional careers. MBR’s recent report, Shaping the Future Workforce, offers examples of how these relationships can have lasting effects for meeting the workforce needs of Boston employers.

One excellent example of this is our members’ collaborative work with a Boston non-profit called Summer Search. Summer Search has worked for two decades to close the opportunity gap for low-income Boston area students by changing what they believe is possible for themselves. The program identifies promising Greater Boston high school sophomores and invests in providing them with a series of summer experiences around the world, aimed to jolt them out of their comfort zones and teach them about their own potential.

The program continues to support these students with personalized mentoring with a paid, trained Summer Search staff member throughout high school and until college graduation. They support students with everything from understanding college choices or figuring out financial aid, to dealing with support structures at home or challenges at school.

Through internships, Summer Search students have the opportunity to gain firsthand experience with corporations such as State Street, Natixis and Shawmut Design & Construction, which help foster these young, active members of our community to become rising leaders in the workforce. READ more >

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.

TwitterWhat's News on Twitter

“At @shawmut_builds, we are committed to building a diverse, talent-driven workplace of incredibly engaged employees: Diversity & Inclusion, respect, empowerment and pay equity are fundamental to create this culture.” Shawmut CEO @leshiscoe @BostonWomenWork @bostonwomen

Roundtable member @MITREcorp outlines its work to combat #OpioidAbuse in a new interactive website.

“An essential part of our corporate identity and inclusion business strategy is to ensure our workforce is both equitable and diverse to best reflect and meet the needs of the communities we serve.” Eric Schultz, CEO @harvardpilgrim @BostonWomenWork @bostonwomen #100PercentTalent

@MassGovernor Baker expresses gratitude to businesses as a force for good through all the investments of time & resources to strengthen neighborhoods @bostonchamber

#IntheNews: Roundtable member @SouthcoastHlth has become the first hospital group to offer non-drug treatment option for adults with severe asthma.

Great piece in @BosBizJournal by Roundtable Executive Committee member Tracy Pitcher @tracypitcher7 @ComcastNewEng on the importance of diversity & inclusion in the workforce

The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter. Please consider following them.
Andrew Dreyfus  @andrewdreyfus 
massforenergy  @massforenergy 
MITREhealth  @MITREhealth 
Jeff Wasden  @jwasden 
Slowey/McManus  @Sloweymcmanus 
Enterprise Bank  @EnterpriseBank 
Elana Margolis  @elanahm 

In this issue
MBR Advances Balanced Approach to Reducing Energy Costs, Enhancing Reliability
Roundtable Supports H.3804, Advocates for Workforce Training Opportunities to Address Talent Gaps
Roundtable Member IBM Hosts Rennie Center for Discussion on the State of Education in Massachusetts
Connections…Conversations… Impact—MBR’s 2017 Annual Report Highlights Collaboration with Business Leaders & Policy Makers
Roundtable Participates in State House Innovation Day with Members Dell, Google, Verizon, Raytheon, UMass & MassTech
Going Around the Table
What's News on Twitter
Upcoming events

MARCH 20, 2018
Board Meeting
Noon–1:30 p.m.
Location: Deloitte
200 Berkeley Street, Boston
For members only

JUNE 13, 2018
Annual Meeting
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Location: TBD
For members only

Hot links

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Roundtable Member List 2018
MBR Biz-Education Partnerships Report
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BRT on U.S.–Korea Free Trade
BRT on Reinvesting Tax Cuts
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