On behalf of the NC Chamber team, Happy New Year to you and yours! I hope that each of you were able to spend time during the holidays simply appreciating the company of those closest to you. The past couple of years have certainly reminded me of the importance of such blessings.
While it may take until March for most of us to stop writing “2021” on everything, our Chamber team is wasting no time diving headfirst into 2022. Along with our partners at the North Carolina Bankers Association, we’re hosting nearly 700 virtual attendees this afternoon for our annual Economic Forecast Forum. We hope to welcome you among them, and I thank the NC Bankers Association, presenting sponsor First Bank, co-sponsors Martin Marietta, Truist, and Wells Fargo, and our numerous Gold, Silver, Patron, and media sponsors for making this much-anticipated event possible.
You can follow the conversation at the EFF on Twitter and other social media platforms using the hashtag #NCForecast2022.
Workforce and Supply Chain Solutions: Twin Priorities in 2022
In case you missed the December release of our annual How They Voted legislative voting record, the report captures numerous victories secured by the NC Chamber on behalf of business in 2021. The Chamber and Chamber Foundation will be working hard to build on these wins in 2022, in part by focusing more of our energy and resources around two critical issues facing job creators: enhancing workforce development and nurturing more resilient supply chains.
We know employers across our state need answers to pressing workforce- and supply chain-related questions and that, for many of you, those answers remain elusive. Both issues have been at the forefront of many conversations I’ve had with Chamber members of late. Recently, I authored two articles – running now on websites affiliated with The Business Journals – explaining how our team plans to help identify and advance promising solutions to these challenges by doing more to leverage the unique “partnership infrastructure” that exists between business and other stakeholders here in North Carolina.
I was excited, in the article addressing workforce revitalization, to share news of an initiative launching later this year – the NC Chamber Foundation’s Institute for Workforce Competitiveness – that aims to promote collaborative problem-solving around issues affecting talent development in our state. We’ll be sharing more details about this initiative and how you can get involved in the coming months. In the meantime, you can join me virtually on Wednesday, Jan. 26, for a complimentary webinar featuring NC Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt. With the help of moderator Mebane Rash with EdNC, we’ll explore how leaders from the business and education communities are using the power of partnership to expand effective workforce solutions throughout North Carolina – and how job creators can help drive these partnerships even further in 2022.
The article I penned on supply chain resilience explores both acute and longstanding issues feeding into our current challenges. One point I was sure to emphasize is the connection between forward-thinking infrastructure development strategies and enhanced agility for our state’s supply chains. In the wake of Congress’ passage of a long-sought federal infrastructure package, the NC Chamber and the businesses engaged in our Destination 2030 Coalition will continue working to embolden policymakers in North Carolina to follow suit with their own bipartisan solutions to modernize our outdated transportation funding strategies. If safe, reliable, and competitive transportation infrastructure matters to your business, become a member of the Destination 2030 Coalition today.
What Else to Know Heading into 2022
These are far from the only priorities for which our team will be working to provide answers and clarity in the year ahead. Workplace mandates stemming from COVID-19 remain a major question mark for employers nationwide. Today, in fact, the Supreme Court is considering oral arguments to decide whether OSHA’s latest Emergency Temporary Standard outlining broad vaccine and testing mandates for American job creators will stand up to legal scrutiny. Our team is continuing to pay close attention to this issue and will keep our members updated when new developments occur that impact businesses in our state.
Visit our COVID-19 Resource Guide for more information about OSHA’s ETS.
Of course, legislative advocacy is always a primary focus for the NC Chamber. Our government affairs team is busy now assessing the results of their 2021 efforts and ironing out a new legislative agenda to unveil to the General Assembly in 2022. This year, we’ll be focused especially on seizing the openings offered by the short session to build on unfinished business while homing in on new opportunities. We look forward to sharing this agenda with you soon. Progress on legislative priorities will be a common topic at NC Chamber events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye on this page so as not to miss out on a discussion that might benefit your business.
I’m excited to share more about our plans for the year as we move further into 2022. I’m also excited this year to be working more closely with my friend Sepi Saidi, PE, President and CEO of leading Southeast engineering firm SEPI, Inc. Sepi succeeds Martin Marietta’s Ward Nye – another good friend and inspiring leader – as NC Chamber Board Chair for a two-year term. I thank both Sepi and Ward for their service to the Chamber and our members. In the next few weeks, you can expect to hear from Sepi herself in this newsletter.
For now, let’s focus on starting the new year off strong for our businesses and our people.