Volume 29, Issue 12 | December 2021
2021 Board of Directors
Celeste Rayne Chair
Derrick Elzey Vice Chair

Tylor Lennox Treasurer
Olive Mawyer Secretary
Laura Morrison

Allen Duncan

Ashley Sloan Haldeman

Nancie Corbett

Donna Frankowski

Rich Cropper

Tina Simmons

Don Robertson

Amy Hedger

Steven Sweigert
Past Chair  
Fri., Dec 10 Board of Directors Meeting at 8:30am

Wed., Dec 15 Ambassadors Meeting at 1pm

Thurs., Dec 16 Business After Hours at Seacrets 5-7 ($5 fee)

Fri., Dec 17 YPP Volunteer and Monthly Mingle

Sat. Dec 18 Santa in the Sand 49th St 9am-11am
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President's Corner
It feels like 2020 took ten years and 2021 has flown right on by. But no rest for the frantic as we still have fun things to do this month!

Trying something new and fun, we will be hosting Santa Claus on December 18 in front of the Ocean Pines Beach Club on 49th for Santa in the Sand. We are asking for a small donation and Santa will pose with your family for photos on the beach with some fun props. And don't leave out your furbabies! Santa loves them as well.

Our December Business After Hours will be at Seacrets and we are asking for a donation for the Grace Center. Gas cards, diapers, wipes, unused baby items, etc. The YPPs will be volunteering at the Coastal Hospice Thrift Store from 3-5 on December 17 and then heading to The Globe for their Monthly Mingle. All are welcome to both! Come meet our young professionals. (To volunteer at the store, you must show proof of vaccination and wear a mask).

And looking ahead to January, please join us for a Chamber 101 Lunch at the Ocean Pines Library on January 12 from 11:30-1. Lunch is provided by the event sponsor, Hawkins Electric. We will go over perks you may be missing out on! Bring a friend who may be interested in joining our ever-growing partner roster.

Finally, the staff and Board of Directors at the Ocean Pines Chamber wish you all the safest and happiest holiday season. If the past two years have taught us anything, it's to hold those we love closer and to be better people! Whatever you celebrate and however you choose to celebrate it, do it with heart and gratitude. Til next year.....
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Giving Tuesday raises record breaking $300,249 in 24-hour event

121 Lower Shore nonprofits participated in Shore Gives More Campaign 
A day celebrating philanthropy for Lower Shore nonprofits culminated in a recording breaking $300,249 raised for participating Lower Shore nonprofits. More than 2,599 donations were made during the 7th annual Shore Gives More Giving Tuesday campaign.

Giving Tuesday, held each year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, is an international 24-hour online giving movement. The local campaign, known as The Shore Gives More, is hosted by the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and assists local nonprofits with the fundraising effort. By providing an online donation portal, marketing, and technical support, the campaign makes a significant impact through collective philanthropy.

“Nonprofits provide critical services to the local community, and fundraisers like Giving Tuesday help charities connect with donors,” says Erica Joseph, CFES President. “Giving Tuesday has become its own holiday in the nonprofit world, and the local generosity really shines a spotlight on how wonderful our local community is.” 

The Shore Gives More was first launched as a Giving Tuesday campaign for the Lower Eastern Shore in 2015 and raised just under $7,500 in its first year.

“As the area’s leading philanthropic resource, the Community Foundation understands the complexities around charitable giving, and we work hard to simplify the giving process for both donors and nonprofits,” says Joseph. “By giving through the Shore Gives More campaign, donors know their gifts will have an impact close to home.”

The campaign received sponsorships from 47 ABC and Shore United Bank which significantly increased the campaign presence. 

Next Meeting
January 5, 2022
8:30am - 9:30am
at the Chamber office

The Young Professionals of the Pines (YPP) aims to unite the next generation of professionals. YPP creates opportunities for emerging business leaders to build relationships, expand their leadership skills, and develop their careers while paving the way for the future success of the Ocean Pines community.

The group is designed for professionals between the ages of 21 and 35. 
If you can’t make it to our meeting in person, the option to join us via Zoom is also available. Keep an eye on our Facebook page (Ocean Pines Chamber YPP) as well as our LinkedIn Group for more information on upcoming events! 
Monthly Mingle will be at The Globe in Berlin immediately following the volunteer event.
Struggling with energy costs?
CQI may be able to help.
Join the Chamber Energy Purchasing Cooperative

Have you looked at your utility bill lately? Are you concerned about how much you are spending?

We are slowly getting back to some type of normalcy as businesses reopen. However, unprecedented temperatures and multiple tropical storms across the US continue to escalate utility prices. CQI’s 25-plus years of experience with proven results provides the best option for stabilizing your utility expenses. There is no better time for members to enroll in the Chamber Energy Purchasing Cooperative Program and gain price stability, budget control and peace-of-mind.
The Chamber of Commerce has partnered with nationally recognized energy management experts, CQI Associates, to administer and manage the Chamber Energy Purchasing Cooperative. Competitive rates are obtained by leveraging aggregated usage from members of 23 Chambers of Commerce. The group purchasing power allows members to receive lower rates than they could typically attain on their own.
Since 2004, the Cooperative electricity rates have been lower than both market rates and the weighted annual utility standard offer service rates. During our previous campaigns, participants saw an average annual savings of $4,000. Natural gas rates were also lower on average than market rates and utility monthly winter peak indexed rates.

Lunch is graciously provided by the event sponsor

RSVP by emailing kerrie@oceanpineschamber.org
Grappling With the Public Sector Workforce
Shortage Crush

This fall, as Jefferson County, Colorado prepared for the first snowfalls of the season, residents were notified that they shouldn’t expect the usual speed of snow removal. 

“We’re down approximately thirty snowplow drivers,” says Jennifer Fairweather, human resources director there. “We haven’t had the first snow yet, but we know there are some things we just won’t be able to do.”

We’ve written in the past about the decline in job applications, an explosion in public sector retirements, and escalating turnover rates that emanate from pandemic-fostered burnout. But these trends aren’t just an issue for the human resources officials in governments that are trying to stay fully staffed–they have real world ramifications for people in many states and localities.  

The Parks and Recreation program in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for example, recently shut down 14 child care programs because of its worker shortage. In early November, meanwhile, a statewide shortage of substitute teachers and other staff led to school cancellations in Seattle and Denver.  

Elsewhere, staff shortages are forcing the curtailment of bus and subway routes and cutbacks in sanitation and recycling schedules. In coming months as money begins to flow from the $1.75 trillion infrastructure bill, its implementation will likely be hindered by shortages in construction workers, engineers, maintenance employees, skilled trade workers and drivers.

There are no easy solutions available to this manpower shortage and undertaking them without advance consideration can wind up being a waste of time and money.  

For example, one of the first thoughts that can come to the minds of HR officials is to advertise more heavily for more applicants. But before doing so, they should look at a piece of data called the “conversion rate,” the relationship between the number of potential applicants who look at a job posting, and the number who actually apply. A study conducted a year ago by the technology company NEOGOV, revealed that for some public sector jobs with a very low conversion rate —under 1%—putting more money into advertising won’t really help. Those jobs—about a third of the 86,441 positions it analyzed, across 62,380 job classes, need to be restructured in some way, says Shane Evangelist, the CEO of NEOGOV.

Clearly, advertising isn’t going to be of much use when the jobs themselves aren’t sufficiently appealing to attract new candidates. It doesn’t pay either, to keep posting a job that isn’t getting response, as old unfilled openings begin to look undesirable simply because they’ve remained empty—just like houses that have been on the market too long.  

Employing More Aggressive Actions

Addressing the problem of unappealing jobs requires more aggressive actions. This may include such steps as shifting the nature of the jobs themselves by merging or eliminating positions; using technology more effectively, or splitting up job duties among other staff, with targeted attention to special compensation that helps to cut back on turnover. 

This is an approach that while difficult has an appeal to many HR officials. In Arizona, human resource manager Colleen McManus sees the potential for many less-appealing jobs to be altered. “I think there’s room for changes if we’d be willing to think outside the box,” she says. 

One of the clear-cut ways to make jobs more attractive to applicants is by providing compensation increases where that’s affordable. This is of particular importance for low-paying jobs in which the public sector is competing with private sector alternatives like fast food restaurants that provide higher wages. 

When asked to list employer actions that would be most helpful to them, addressing compensation was the top answer suggested by public sector employees in the MissionSquare Research Institute’s May 2021 survey of public sector employees. The second was creating flexible work arrangements that provide the capacity to deal with personal and child-care needs—core elements of the now often-lauded work life balance.

The creation of new career paths can also help. If applicants think a job as a corrections officer, for example, means they’ll always be working in the prison system, that can leave them feeling locked into a future they don’t like. But the public sector offers a wide variety of alternatives, and there’s no reason why a position in one department can’t lead to a job in another. Providing different paths of professional growth can be a particularly strong lure for young people who aren’t sure exactly what they want to be doing in three or five years. 

In Pennsylvania, for example, the centralization of human resource functions several years ago helped lead to the creation of a new unit that is focused on managing job standards that describe the work at different levels across the enterprise.

The unit uses "job studies" to fully develop the career path from entry to manager level. This heightens the state's ability to help applicants and current employees scope out future options not just in one agency or job group, but across Pennsylvania government. The first significant studies focused on clerical and procurement positions, and the most recent centers on trades and maintenance jobs and is currently ongoing.

For job applicants, says Carol Noll, who manages the Bureau of Organization Management, "it's really important for applicants to see the career paths the commonwealth has to offer and for current employees to understand that they're performing work that provides a career path and that this isn't a dead-end position."

Altering the Work Environment

Another option to making jobs more attractive is altering the environment in which they are performed, a move that is increasingly taking the form of hybrid work in which some time is spent at home and some in a more formal office environment. This kind of arrangement became commonplace when Covid-19 hit, but even as the pandemic dissipates in the future, it’s a notion that seems to work well. 

One state that grabbed onto this idea a number of years before the pandemic was Tennessee, which began to encourage hybrid remote work through its Alternative Workplace Solutions (AWS) about six years ago. That program redesigns central office space to reduce the number of personal offices in favor of different kinds of communal space, with employees who are able to telework coming to a central office several days a week and otherwise working at home or in the field.

In the current difficult job market, officials clearly see the advantage that this gives in hiring. “AWS has been critical to us in helping recruit and retain people,” says Christi Branscom, Commissioner of the Department of General Services in Tennessee. “It gives us an advantage over companies that are not offering a hybrid-work environment.”

Jefferson County has also seen the advantage of hybrid work arrangements and scheduling flexibility, following a change that took effect in 2020 and moved the county to a four-day work week, in which most offices are closed on Fridays. Employees still work 40 hours, but where possible, and with supervisory approval, they can create their own schedules. They can also choose to reduce their work schedule to 32 hours a week, with a proportionate cut in pay, with manager approval.

Of course, hybrid work doesn’t come naturally for jobs that require working in the field, like law enforcement, and flexible scheduling may also be difficult for some positions in 24/7 operations. But for many positions, both can be a boon to recruitment. “In talking with candidates, these initiatives have definitely helped us,” says Fairweather. “People will say they really appreciate that we offer remote work and a four-day work week.”

Article By Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene and publlished here: https://www.route-fifty.com/management/2021/11/grappling-public-sector-workforce-shortage-crush/187145/

Our partners renew their support on their anniversary months. The below list are those who renewed since the last edition of the Chamber Chatter. Thank you for your continued trust and support!
1 - 4 years
BCV Commercial Realty
Oceans East Apartments
Donna Frankowski/ERA Martin Shamrock Division
Pipeline Contracting
5 - 10 years
VCA Animal Hospital
11 - 19 years
Ayers Creek Adventures
Farmers Bank of Willards
20 or More Years
1st Shore FederalBank
Mitchell & Hastings Financial
Kitty's Florist
Burbage Funeral Home
United Restoration
Ocean City Today/Flag Publications
OC Kitchen, Bath, Cabinet, and Appliances
Maryland Coastal Bays
Adkins Hardware
Worcester County Board of Education
Coldwell Banker
Copy Central
Healing Hands Chiropractic
M & T Bank