Building the foundation

(May 3, 2018 – ANNAPOLIS, Md.)  Maryland is a state in motion. We have a productive transportation network, educated workforce, and a diverse array of industries. Despite mountains to the west, the sea to the east, the Chesapeake in between and all that makes Maryland extraordinary, we face significant challenges.

Maryland is less attractive to employers and their employees because of its high personal and property taxes. And our international trade market is below 2 percent.

This is a critical time for Maryland’s private sector. Neighboring states are making their moves. Now is when we must decide: Do we forge new paths, or fall behind?

The Maryland Chamber of Commerce has established the Maryland Chamber Foundation, a 501(c)(3), geared to drive economic competitiveness and success, so that Maryland keeps moving forward.

With a focus on the future of workforce development and education, the foundation will support the shared vision of a stronger Maryland.

“We worry so much about the next four years that we forget to look ahead to the next four generations,” said Maryland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Christine Ross. “We need original ideas and innovative thinking to address the long-term challenges ahead and find solutions before problems develop. That is what the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Foundation will do.”

The Maryland Chamber Foundation is intended to be a cornerstone of community-building in business. Its first initiative, already in progress, has been to identify and develop solutions for gaps in workforce development and the talent pipeline so that Marylanders are ready to work on the first day of their employment.

“Educators work so hard to ensure that our students are prepared for careers,” said Maryland Chamber Foundation Chair and BEACON at Salisbury University Director Memo Diriker, Ph.D. “Yet employers consistently say they have trouble finding talent with the skills to do the job. We want to take a proactive leadership role to foster greater connection between the business community and the education community so that everyone, from employer to new employee, succeeds.”

The Maryland Chamber Foundation will be the research and development arm of the Maryland Chamber. Through an exciting partnership with the independent Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University, the foundation will collect and analyze statewide and county-by-county data crucial to Maryland’s economic health, including:

Though much of this information is available, it is difficult to find, compare, track and understand. The Maryland Chamber’s partnership with RESI includes a dynamic, interactive webpage. This page is where legislators, employers, media and the public can find that data and learn more with just a click. Updated as new information becomes available and sourced from the most reliable research outlets, this information will form the basis for the foundation’s research.

“The Regional Economic Studies Institute is the premier economic and policy analysis group in the state, and we’re honored to be working with the Maryland Chamber on this endeavor,” said Daraius Irani, Ph.D., TU’s vice president for Innovation and Applied Research and RESI’s chief economist. “As W. Edwards Deming once said, ‘Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.’”

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