Dear Roundtable Members,
Hate has yet again struck our country, directly impacting communities we strive to lift up and support. The ruthless murders in Atlanta, Georgia including six Asian women were preceded by an increase in racial injustice that has targeted Asian Americans across the country especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions cannot be tolerated and the Roundtable will dedicate our next Open Forum to this topic on April 7.
As President & CEO of the Roundtable, I want to ensure that our Asian American colleagues know they have our support. Last year, the Roundtable committed to being anti-racist by making a series of internal and external commitments, pledging to support the activities and advocacy of communities of color, and promoting racial equity within the workplace. It is encouraging to know members see this as both a moral and business imperative. The Roundtable’s policy agenda is now framed by the principles of opportunity, equity, and competitiveness across all issue areas as we develop recommendations to strengthen Massachusetts’ economy.
Moving into 2021, the Roundtable will stay actively engaged in listening, learning, and leading in the spirit of social and racial justice. Thank you for your leadership, support and commitment.
During a quarterly board meeting of the Roundtable, MBR staff presented policy priorities for the 2021–22 legislative year. As part of these priorities, the Roundtable will frame policy priorities across issue areas with a lens for reimagining opportunity, enhancing equity, and strengthening Massachusetts’ competitiveness. With this in mind, the Roundtable will especially focus on:
- Engaging in the development of legislation to establish universal, high quality early childhood education in the Commonwealth;
- Developing strategies to support the mental health/behavioral health needs of employees;
- Advocating for statewide transportation and housing strategies that include support of the Transportation & Climate Initiative;
- Prioritizing opportunity pathways by focusing on closing the digital skills gap and expanding access to school to career connecting activities, technical education and training, and post-secondary education;
- Continuing support for offshore wind development as a regional economic development opportunity and essential component of the state’s clean energy future; and
- Continuing to be business community voice for caregivers in the workplace.
The abovementioned focus areas may continue to evolve with additional feedback from members as well as continued conversations with key stakeholders.
We are pleased to welcome Lucy Pérez, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company in Boston. Lucy is a leader in McKinsey’s Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products Practice, partnering with CEOs and their top teams to shape growth strategies, maximize value from digital, data and analytics, and drive change at scale. She also leads McKinsey’s Health Equity initiative helping identify opportunities to improve patient outcomes with a focus on vulnerable populations. Born in Puerto Rico, Lucy is a committed sponsor of McKinsey’s Hispanic Latino Network and a founder of the Firm’s Hispanic Latino Economic Forum, which convenes corporate leaders and policy makers on issues impacting the community. Before joining McKinsey, Lucy was a research fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute pre-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. She is a co-inventor of multiple patents related to her cancer research and has published in peer-reviewed journals.
READ Lucy’s full biography | CONNECT with Lucy on LinkedIn
The Massachusetts Business Roundtable teamed up with the Workforce Solutions Group on the release of a report detailing workforce development needs to position the Commonwealth for recovery, titled: “Rapid Reemployment for a Just and Equitable Recovery in Massachusetts.” The report was released via a State House briefing hosted by Senator Patricia Jehlen and Representative Josh Cutler, Chairs of the Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development. The report featured five major recommendations including: 1) Expand Technical Training and Work-Based Learning; 2) Expand Programs for Speakers of Other Languages; 3) Invest in Digital Access, Proficiency, and Capacity; 4) Fully Fund Workforce System Capacity; and 5) Prioritize and Fund “Work Supports” to Ensure People Can Enter and Successfully Complete Training Programs.
READ the full report.
In case you missed it, the Roundtable released its 2020 Annual Report, entitled “Meeting the Moment.” Last year challenged us all in ways we have never been challenged before as we began tackling a global pandemic, systemic racism, and an economic downturn. Like the membership, the Roundtable adjusted to a new way of conducting business. Thanks to the engagement of our members and your leadership in our community, we collectively worked hard to “meet the moment” in 2020 and are poised to build on this work as 2021 continues.
READ 2020 Annual Report: “Meeting the Moment”
On the heels of the Roundtable launching collaboration with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce to engage more employers statewide to increase supplier diversity, new Roundtable member Greylock Federal Credit Union signed on to join Pacesetters. Through the Pacesetters program, employers gain access to procurement practices with the goal of increasing greater buyer participation of minority owned and women owned business enterprises for contracts. Earlier this year, the Roundtable hosted an Open Forum featuring the Chamber and its Pacesetters program to increase awareness of the program to Roundtable members statewide.
If you are a member interested or if you may know an employer who may be interested in learning more about Pacesetters, please contact Lauren Jones.
Interviewed by Dr. Atyia Martin of All Aces, Inc., Karan Dyson opened up during a Facebook Live conversation to share her perspective and leadership journey as a Black women engineer. Dyson, Vice President of Global Process and Engineering at Procter & Gamble, serves as the Roundtable’s Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force and sponsors African Ancestry networks across P&G including the Global Women in Engineering Network, Product Supply African Ancestry, and Executive Women Leaders Team. Dyson received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tuskegee University, and maintains engagement with her alma mater as the P&G Director of Campus Recruiting. Among topics covered during this hour-long conversation, Karan explores how her relationship with Tuskegee University has played an influential role in her racial equity journey and her experience upon choosing to relocate to Massachusetts. VIEW the full interview.
In early March, Comcast convened a panel featuring local thought leaders to discuss how businesses are working towards the “new normal” while also implementing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives to support their workforce, communities, and customer base. In the panel, moderated by Tracy Pitcher of Comcast, JD Chesloff of MBR talked about the importance of childcare enabling employees to return to the office and the recently launched business coalition advocating for more accessible, affordable early childhood education services. READ a recap of the panel.
Google announced in March plans to create 10,000 jobs and invest $7 billion in offices and data centers across 19 states including to its existing footprint in Cambridge. Locally, Google will expand its total Massachusetts footprint to 1 million square feet in Kendall Square. Additionally, following Google’s success of its IT certificate program through Coursera, Google also launched in March three new certificate programs in data analytics, UX design, and project management. Read the full summary of Google’s 2021 investment plans and learn about Google’s latest training offerings.
The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT)—a two-year technical college, Minority Serving Institution, and member of the Roundtable—was featured this month by NECN for its delivery of affordable and accessible technical job training. In an interview, MBR member Dr. Aisha Francis shared its mission, especially serving first generation students from Greater Boston. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, BFIT is training virtually to meet in-demand fields that are growing and recession resilient. Among career paths includes construction management, HVAC, electricity and automotive; electrical technology, electrical engineering, computer technology including software development, cybersecurity, and health information technology. Watch the NECN interview with Dr. Aisha Francis.
During Women’s History Month, Suffolk Construction launched Rebuild the Ratio, a partnership and pledge to increase STEM career exploration for thousands of girls across the country with the ultimate goal of inspiring more girls to pursue construction-related STEM careers. Learn more about Rebuild the Ratio. Watch the video.
Takeda, a global life sciences company, announced in March the groundbreaking of its commercial cell therapy facility in Lexington, Massachusetts. The $84 million project will be home to a 38,000 square-foot manufacturing facility used for the production of oncology and other cell therapies. Read an overview of Takeda’s investment plans and development in Massachusetts.
Legislators and advocates alike are fighting to ensure STEAM is an integral part of education in Massachusetts, across our nation, and the world. During this conversation, panelists will investigate STEAM education and workforce development policy priorities including 1) STEAM skills for all through applied learning; 2) Guided pathways to college, careers, and lifelong learning; 3) Alignment to economic and workforce development through employer partnerships; and 4) early childhood STEAM education initiatives. Join this event on April 28th for a discussion on how policy can be used to drive to change for our nation’s children! Register here.
From Unmet Needs to Measurable Outcomes”: As part of the Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition’s webinar series, Coalition member and Massachusetts caregiver support innovator, Torchlight, will present with their client and Roundtable member, iRobot, a closed-loop story of caregiver support innovation in the Commonwealth on April 29th. Partnering human capital solutions firm, Leading Indicator Systems, will also join for the presentation. The webinar will feature a range of topics such uncovering unmet needs, scaling a solution across employee families, and driving measurable outcomes amidst unprecedented pressures brought on by COVID-19. Learn more and register for this event.
Save The Date! The virtual statewide Summit will be held on May 6th. Promoted as a free event for all participants, the Summit will explore opportunities for strengthening the STEM talent pipeline through creative approaches that builds students’ foundational STEM skills, develops high quality, guided STEM pathways, and deepens employer partnerships to promote STEM career opportunities in today’s hybrid working and learning environment. Stay tuned. View updates about this year’s STEM Summit.
In the last year, @StopAAPIHate data found businesses = primary site of discrimination against Asians. The hate, anywhere, needs to stop. Being anti-racist promotes racial equity for the #BIPOC community in the workplace & all walks of life. Read more
Did you know 98% of early childhood educators in Massachusetts identify as women, especially women of color? Today on #InternationalWomensDay AND every day, we stand up for these women! @MassBiz4EarlyEd #EarlyChildhood
MBR invited members to join the national Business Roundtable for the National Business Summit on COVID-19 Vaccines in March, hosted in collaboration with Health Action Alliance to provide tremendous resources for employers including MBR members. Understanding the limited vaccine supply, vaccine hesitancy, and disinformation as major challenges during the current vaccine rollout, Health Actional Alliance wants to ensure trusted messengers such as the business community can play a role in distributing fact about the vaccines to employees.
The national Business Roundtable also launched the #MoveTheNeedle campaign focused on supporting the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, increasing vaccine uptake, and encouraging individuals to continue to wear masks and take other precautions as the vaccination effort is underway.
MBR updated its COVID-19 resource page including the latest on the vaccine rollout in Massachusetts and a full list of resources provided by the Health Action Alliance and the national Business Roundtable. Check out these resources.
The Business Roundtable released this month its Q1 2021 CEO Economic Outlook Survey, a composite index of CEO plans for capital spending and employment and expectations for sales over the next six months. Specifically, the overall CEO Economic Outlook Index increased in the first quarter to a value of 107, up 21 points from Q4 2020 and signaling optimism for economic recovery in the months ahead and improving expectations for economic growth this year. Read a full overview detailed by the BRT.