We hope all of our members are staying safe and healthy and as productive as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the health crisis, the content of our Friday 5 emails has shifted to feature the top five COVID-19 news items and resources of the week.
Acts of COVID Kindness
As we all band together to get through these challenging days, the Maryland Chamber would like to highlight the good deeds being done in our communities by our members. Here’s another great example of an act of “COVID kindness”:
Electric utility provider Potomac Edison, along with its parent company, FirstEnergy Corp., and the FirstEnergy Foundation have taken steps to assist Maryland residents impacted by COVID-19. In late March, the FirstEnergy Foundation donated $40,000 to several Maryland food banks and hunger centers in areas served by Potomac Edison.
The FirstEnergy Foundation also accelerated annual matching gift contributions totaling $1.5 million to 116 United Way agencies in FirstEnergy service areas, including those in Maryland, to help support vital health and human services organizations. Typically, the funds are dispersed to the United Way agencies on a rolling basis throughout the year, but because of the current dire economic situation, the payments were accelerated so that the United Way agencies could receive the funds by the end of March.
In addition, to help protect the health and safety of its employees, and its 270,000 customers in Maryland, Potomac Edison has implemented a number of precautions, such as requiring employees and contractors to perform self-temperature checks when possible prior to reporting to work each day; performing enhanced environmental cleaning at company facilities, with extra focus on commonly touched surfaces; and providing sanitizing products for equipment and vehicle cleaning.
To protect customers from the challenges of living without electricity and to limit interactions between employees and the general public, all FirstEnergy operating companies have discontinued service shutoffs for past-due customers since March. FirstEnergy remains committed to protecting employees, their families and the general public while also providing power to those in need during these challenging times.
If you know of a Marylander or Maryland business or organization that is stepping up in the face of adversity to help others during the pandemic, please reach out to Kimberly Reach at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.
1. Governor’s office launches interactive map and announces new developments in Stage One Recovery
Governor Hogan’s office has developed an interactive map reflecting the current status of business reopenings in Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. This map is updated daily during the 9 a.m. hour with the most recently available data.
On Wednesday, May 27, the governor announced that due to successful Stage One reopenings across the state and improvements in key data and metrics, the state can move forward with the completion of Stage One of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery, which includes the resumption of outdoor dining and outdoor activities such as youth sports and youth day camps, and the reopening of outdoor pools and drive-in movie theaters starting today at 5 p.m. Individual jurisdictions continue to have the final say on the timing of reopenings.
2. COVID-19 webinar series
The Maryland Chamber Foundation will host another webinar in its COVID-19 Webinar Series today at 2 p.m.: “COVID-19: Understanding Cyber Basics to Protect Your Expanding Attack Surface.” Will Palm, Security Solutions Architect at Tenable, will help you recognize and address potential pitfalls in your current cybersecurity practices. He’ll break through the technical jargon and share fundamental ways you can better protect your business from cyber attacks.
A full recording of the webinar will be available on our COVID-19 Chamber resources page in the coming days.
And please be sure to join us for our next two webinars:
Preparing for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)
Friday, June 5
11 AM – 12 PM
A panel of cyber experts will discuss the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), the DoD’s next step to ensure cybersecurity controls and processes adequately protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), based on five different levels of maturity expectations. This is a timely and relevant discussion for those with current DoD contracts or those looking to become a DoD contractor in the future. This certification will be required for both prime contractors and subcontractors.
Get Maryland’s Citizens and Businesses Back to Work with the Talent Exchange
Tuesday, June 9
11 – 11:30 AM
The Maryland Chamber has been pleased to help promote the rollout of Talent Exchange, a new technology developed in response to the massive wave of layoffs and job losses occurring in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Employers with impacted workers and companies that are hiring to meet COVID-related demand can sign up to join the Talent Exchange to connect individuals to jobs. The tool is free of cost and was recently made available to state chambers of commerce, whose leaders are sharing the resource with their members and others in their respective states. Talent Exchange was created by Eightfold.ai in partnership with The Food Industry Association (FMI) and supported by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. Eightfold.ai will join us for a webinar on June 9 to demonstrate how Talent Exchange works.
3. MDCC welcomes Fiona Ong as General Counsel
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce that Fiona W. Ong, a partner at Shawe Rosenthal LLP—a top labor and employment firm in Maryland—has been appointed to both the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Maryland Chamber Foundation Board of Directors. She will serve as general counsel for both boards. Ms. Ong is the first minority to serve as general counsel and the second woman to hold the role.
In her practice, Ms. Ong defends employers in the areas of employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, and wage/hour regulation, both in court and before federal and state agencies. Ms. Ong also serves as co-chair of the Maryland Chamber’s Labor and Employment Committee, and editor for the Maryland Human Resources Manual, a joint publication of the Maryland Chamber and the American Chamber of Commerce Resources, LLC. On March 17, when the COVID-19 pandemic first started to require businesses to reassess their day-to-day procedures, Ms. Ong offered guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to Maryland Chamber members and small business owners in a webinar, “Coronavirus in the Workplace and Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Fiona, a well-versed attorney and author, as our general counsel,” said Christine Ross, president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. “She will prove to be an essential asset to us, as she is passionate about labor and employment matters that directly correlate with our policy work here at the Chamber, and will further our continuing efforts to diversify our board.”
“I am honored to have been selected to help guide and support Maryland businesses and employees during this trying time in our state and nation’s history,” said Ms. Ong.
To learn more about Ms. Ong, please click here.
4. RALI Maryland kicks off “Recovery is Essential” campaign
On Tuesday, May 26, the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative of Maryland, better known as RALI Maryland, kicked off its “Recovery is Essential” campaign, a new digital media and PSA campaign to remind us that even though COVID-19 is at the forefront of people’s minds, for people who are in recovery with substance use disorders, this time can be especially difficult.
MDCC is a proud partner of RALI Maryland, and President and CEO Christine Ross lent her voice to the kickoff of the campaign: “We understand that recovery is hard enough on its own, and when people have to self-isolate or quarantine, it makes the healing even harder. Just like any essential business, those in recovery need to know that their recovery is essential, too, and there are resources that remain available throughout this global pandemic to help keep people on track.”
Read the full press release here.
5. Comcast helps customers stay connected with Internet Essentials
As the country continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Comcast has taken steps to make it easier to connect low-income families to home Internet with its Internet Essentials plan. New, qualifying customers can receive two months of free Internet service if they apply by June 30. After the two-month promotion ends, the regular rate of $9.95 per month (plus tax) will apply. To learn more about Internet Essentials, please click here.
Membership Spotlight: Interview with Michael Weigand of T. Rowe Price
As part of our Member Spotlight series, our vice president of membership and development, Whitney Harmel, is interviewing members of the Chamber who are emerging as leaders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For her seventh interview in the series, she spoke with Michael Weigand, head of internal audit and COVID-19 response at T. Rowe Price, a global investment management organization based in Baltimore.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, T. Rowe Price delivered 160,000 N-95 masks to local medical professionals at the University of Maryland Medical System, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and LifeBridge Health, as well as other locations throughout the country. In addition, the T. Rowe Price Foundation has donated over a half-million dollars to local nonprofits assisting with COVID relief. To learn more about how Mr. Weigand is leading T. Rowe Price’s response efforts, listen to the interview here.
Click here to view up-to-the-minute COVID-19 resources on the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 resources page.