Welcome to Our Newest Members
A warm welcome to our newest members!* We encourage you to connect with them soon and see where your next partnership can be!
Join Us! - Upcoming Chamber Events
Out for Health

Tuesday, July 18
7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

The Village at East Farms
180 Scott Road
Wake Up Your Business

Friday, July 21
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Calvary Southbury
354 Kettletown Road
Wake Up Your Business

Friday, July 28
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Ion Bank Community Building
270 Church Street
Brass City Jazz Fest

Saturday, August 5
2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Library Park @ Grand Street
Health Care Council 18th Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony
Tuesday, August 15
7:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Aria Wedding & Banquet Facility
Waterbury Regional Chamber Open

Monday, September 18
Registration & lunch: 11 a.m.
Shotgun start @ noon

The Golf Club at Oxford Greens
99 Country Club Drive
Report: 2023 Survey of Greater Waterbury Businesses
More than 60% of area businesses say they plan to hire new employees within the next three months, but many of them say they are having a hard time getting individuals to apply for the positions.

To read more about this topic and learn about other job market insights, check out this report summarizing responses from a recent survey conducted by the Chamber to better understand workforce needs of area businesses, click here.
Message From Newsletter Sponsor: Post University
Post University Selects Outstanding Educators and Administrators as Interim Co-Provosts
Post University announced two of its academic leaders will co-lead the oversight of institutional practices associated with the undergraduate, graduate and professional studies at the university. Assistant Provost for Academic Strategy and The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business Dean Jeremi Bauer, D.B.A., and Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning Sandra Wilson, J.D., will serve as interim co-provosts following the departure of Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., who has stepped down to embark on a new academic career opportunity.
In their joint role, Bauer and Wilson will be responsible for distinguishing Post University as the institution of choice for today’s students while creating a clear and innovative academic objective that will usher the university into the future. Additionally, Bauer, reporting to President John Hopkins, serves as the University’s Chief Academic Officer for the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Wilson will continue to oversee Teaching and Learning, leveraging her expertise in pedagogy and instructional design to enhance the university’s teaching methods and student engagement.
“Both Jeremi and Sandra will bring a plethora of experience, energy and enthusiasm into their new roles,” said Post University CEO & President John L. Hopkins. “As faculty members who have directly served our Post community, they have a deep connection to the student experience and a commitment to our success. Their significant tenure together at Post combined with their diverse experience make them an ideal team to lead the university’s evolving needs and drive strategic initiatives that will elevate our academic standing and promote student success.”

With a distinguished career spanning nearly 10 years at Post, Jeremi Bauer made measurable impacts on the student experience as Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and for the past several years as dean of The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business. He played an instrumental role in driving educational excellence and fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among students and faculty, including the establishment of several centers, including the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Center for Executive and Workforce Development as well as experiential learning opportunities that connect students with industry leaders. The Bristol resident earned his Doctor of Business Administration from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minn., and his MBA from the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Ariz. He also holds a post-graduate certificate in a post-graduate certificate in Six Sigma and Lean from Villanova University in Villanova, Pa.

Sandra Wilson, J.D., has been an integral part of the Post community for nearly two decades. Prior to her appointment as assistant provost for teaching and learning last year, Wilson served as the assistant dean at the John P. Burke School of Public Service and Education. In addition to her roles as a program chair and an undergraduate director in the Burke School, Wilson has also enjoyed being part of the student experience. She has served as advisor for several student organizations, most notably the Black Student Union, and as a coach for the Cheerleading Team. It is through these experiences that she has developed holistic relationships with students. She is also one of the founding members of the DEI Advocacy Council at the University.
Her expertise and keen understanding of the evolving educational landscape has allowed her to develop strategic recommendations for Post’s educational programs, course materials and policy enhancements as assistant provost for Teaching and Learning. The Stratford native earned her Juris Doctorate from New England Law in Boston, Mass., her Master of Education from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Conn., and her bachelor’s from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Conn.

Post is currently undergoing a national search for the provost position, seeking a visionary and accomplished academic leader who will contribute to the university’s strategic initiatives and uphold its commitment to fostering academic excellence.
HR Corner: U.S. Supreme Court Issues Significant Decisions Impacting Employers
This HR Corner is brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Written by Attorney Nick Zaino
The United States Supreme Court recently issued several major decisions impacting employers and businesses. Two cases expand religious and free speech rights, and one case strikes down affirmative action in higher education, prompting questions about affirmative action obligations in employment, and the impact on DEI initiatives.

Religious Accommodations for Employees
On June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Groff v. DeJoy explaining an employers’ obligations under Title VII to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs, observances, and practices. The Court held that employers must show that the “the burden of granting an accommodation would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.” This is a significantly more rigorous standard for employers to meet than the long-standing prior standard, whereby employers could deny an accommodation request by showing that the requested accommodation requires an employer to “bear more than a de minimis cost.”
Main Takeaway for Employers: This stricter standard makes it harder for employers to deny a request for a religious accommodation. This new standard is akin to the standard employers must utilize when considering reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the Court, stated that “courts must apply the test in a manner that takes into account all relevant factors in the case at hand, including the particular accommodations at issue and their practical impact in light of the nature, size, and operating cost of an employer.”
Individual’s Right to Free Speech/Religious Expression Prevails Over State Anti-Discrimination Statute
In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the owner of a graphic design business sought to expand her business to include services for couples seeking wedding websites. The owner stated that she would not, however, create websites celebrating marriages that defied her belief that marriage should be reserved to unions between one man and one woman.
Colorado law prohibits a place of public accommodation from refusing to offer its goods and services to individuals based on their protected class including, among others, their sexual orientation. The business owner argued that the Colorado law violated her constitutional rights of free speech and religious expression. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, sided with the business owner. It held that the First Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing the owner to create expressive designs that would violate her free speech rights.
Main Takeaway for Businesses and Employer: In reaching its decision, the Court emphasized that the business owner designed and produced a product that was considered “pure speech” and “expressive in nature.” Thus, it appears that the case is limited in its application to businesses that sell expressive content or services. The case does not mean that business or employers can, carte blanche, refuse to sell their products or services to individuals based on their personal and/or religious beliefs. Employers must comply with federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

Affirmative Action

The U.S. Supreme Court in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College held that race-based admissions programs at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the 6-3 majority, stated: “nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life, so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability that the particular applicant can contribute to the university. Many universities have for too long wrongly concluded that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned, but the color of their skin. This Nation’s constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”

Main Takeaway for Employers: The Court’s decision does not have any immediate impact on employers who are required to maintain an affirmative action plan or DEI initiatives. Employers should, however, take note of the Court’s opinion and reexamine their affirmative action and/or DEI plans to ensure they are legally compliant.

This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship.
Naugatuck Chamber News
Join us on Friday, July 28 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for our free Wake Up Your Business event at the Ion Bank Community Building at 270 Church Street in Naugatuck. Get a chance to chat with other members, learn more about chamber membership, make new connections, and bring visibility to your business.
Southbury Chamber News
Save the date! The Southbury Chamber is thrilled to announce its upcoming annual meeting and awards dinner, which will take place on Thursday, September 28, 2023 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Wyndham Southbury Hotel. As part of the event, the Southbury Chamber will celebrate the outstanding achievements of the local business community with the following recognitions: Community Leader of the Year, Unsung Hero, New Business of the Year, and Business of the Year. We will be looking forward to your input on how to honor for these awards; stay tuned for nomination details!
Watertown Oakville Chamber News
Join us on Friday, August 4 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for our free Wake Up Your Business event at The Local Sixty-Three Bar & Restaurant at 465 Main Street. Get a chance to chat with other members, learn more about chamber membership, make new connections, and bring visibility to your business.
Hiring & Training Programs Available
Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board: Connecticut Workforce High tech Industries Partnership Grant (CTWHISP)/Incumbent Worker Training Program 

Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) is a type of work-based, employer-driven training for employees who need training to upgrade their skills to
  • secure full-time employment,
  • advance in their careers, or
  • retain their current employment in H-1B occupations and industries.

IWT is developed in collaboration with the employer. It requires long term planning and commitment on the part of the employer's CEO, CFO, HR, supervisors and employees.

The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board (NRWIB) reimburses contracted training costs up to $2,000 per employee for IT training, and up to $3,000 per employee for manufacturing training. To get the proposal and contract process started please contact Jeffrey Chorches - [email protected].

The workforce board contracts with the employer to arrange the training. The employer chooses the job training course, the training provider, training schedule, and the employees who will participate. Employers are encouraged to backfill open positions that result from incumbent worker training with unemployed and underemployed individuals. One of the goals of U. S. Dept. of Labor Hl-b grants is to make U.S. employers less dependent upon non-citizens.