September 24, 2020
COVID-19 Relief Fund Employer Innovation Fund Awardees Announced
On Wednesday, Gov. Reynolds announced the entities that will receive funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund Employer Innovation Fund Grant. More than $4.3 million was split among 65 successful applicants, including a number of ABI members. The goal of the fund is to provide a catalyst to help businesses break down training barriers for those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Grants may be used for the cost of training, books, equipment and other wrap-around support. View the list of recipients and their projects here. View the governor’s news release.

Action Item: U.S. Chamber Foundation Seeking Employer Participation in Childcare Survey
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is working with Cicero Group, a third-party researcher, to continue ongoing research on the impacts of COVID-19 on employers, employee childcare needs and return-to-work planning. They have created a short survey and are asking members of associations like ABI to participate. Your input is essential to helping all business and civic leaders return to work and best support the childcare needs of working parents. The survey should only take 10-15 minutes. Take the survey.

For those interested, the foundation recently published findings from research conducted this spring on the "COVID-19 Impact on Childcare” website that focuses on both employers and parents. Those findings are included in these reports for your reference: Employer Survey Report and Parent Survey Report.

Employee Voter Registration Week Ends Tomorrow
Employee Voter Registration Week wraps up tomorrow. This annual event seeks to encourage employers and employees to become more involved in the election process. The initiative does not tell employees how to vote or who to vote for, but instead aims to serve as a resource to help employers educate their employees about the issues that are important to their industries and provide key deadlines, voter registration and polling location information. Studies have shown that employees find their employer to be a credible source of information when it comes to election-related information. You can utilize sample email messages and infographics for resources to help your employees register to vote by visiting ABI’s grassroots website. Thanks to everyone who participated in this important initiative.

Federal Spotlight: Trump to Announce SCOTUS Nominee on Saturday
Following the recent passing of Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump has said he will name a person to replace her on the High Court this Saturday. Ginsburg, who was nominated by President Clinton in 1993 and confirmed to serve on the court by a vote of 96-3, had been suffering from several health ailments over the last few years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said there will be a floor vote on the president’s nominee this year. Reports are that the nominee could receive a vote near the end of October, right before the election on Nov. 3. The president is expected to nominate a woman, and leading contenders right now are Amy Coney Barrett who serves on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Barbara Lagoa who serves on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

You can expect a very bitter fight between the GOP and Democrats over this issue as one more conservative appointment could tip the ideological balance of the court for decades to come. Read more from CNBC

Initial Unemployment Claims Tick Up; Trust Fund Payments Slightly Decrease
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced there were 6,601 initial unemployment claims filed by individuals for the week of September 13-19. Approximately $17.8 million was paid out of the state unemployment trust fund, which is about $600,000 less than the week prior. The number of continuing unemployment claims was 63,291, which is a decrease of 2,131 claims from last week. The top sectors that saw the most initial claims filed included manufacturing (1,483); construction (1,043); and those not identified by industry including the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (970). Read IWD's news release.

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate for August Shrinks
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced last week that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% for the month of August. The unemployment rate contracted .6% from the month of July. The national unemployment rate for August was 8.4%. Iowa has the 12th lowest unemployment rate in the country according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over 60,000 jobs are currently posted at as employers look to fill positions. Read IWD’s news release.

Federal Spotlight: Trump and Biden Set to Debate Next Week
The first of three presidential debates between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 8-9:30 p.m. The debate, which will be held without commercial breaks, will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News. The topics of the debate will be "The Trump and Biden Records," "The Supreme Court," "COVID-19," "The Economy," "Race and Violence in Our Cities," and "The Integrity of the Election," according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Most major news networks will air the contest live. Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden will also debate on Oct. 15 and 22. The vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will be Oct. 7.
Exclusive Announcement: Leadership Iowa Class of 2020-21
Forty leaders from across Iowa have been selected as members of the 2020-21 class of Leadership Iowa, the state’s premier issues awareness program. See the class list. Leadership Iowa provides participants with information and inspiration for personal and professional development. This allows them to do more for their communities, organizations and the state. The ABI Foundation has hosted the Leadership Iowa program for nearly 40 years.
This Wednesday: Advanced Manufacturing Conference
Join us on Wednesday for Iowa’s largest celebration of advanced manufacturing—happening online for the first time ever. This conference offers everything you need—the insights, innovation and inspiration—to help you take your operation to the next level. You don't want to miss the sensational speakers, wisdom-filled workshops and a live appearance by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Hurry, registration closes on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.
5 Ways PEOs Can Help Businesses Succeed
Alaina Riley
Marketing and Wellness Coordinator
Focus OneSource

If there was one thing that could make any business successful, everyone would be doing it. So, why aren’t all businesses using a Professional Employer Organization (PEO)? A PEO is an outsourced solution for payroll, human resources, benefits and compliance.

Statistics have shown that business owners who use a PEO have seen employment grow 7%-9% faster compared to small businesses overall. If your business could use some extra TLC, a partnership with a PEO could be the answer.

1. Improved compliance
Nobody knows compliance quite like a team of HR professionals. PEOs assist with helping the business stay compliant when it comes to onboarding, offboarding and everything in between. This partnership provides dedicated HR professionals to monitor business practices and assist business owners with staying up to date on policies and procedures.

2. Business owners get to focus on their core business
Working with a PEO gives business owners access to a wealth of knowledge and support. The PEO relationship removes the burden of human resources, payroll and benefits administration from the shoulders of the business owner. This allows them to focus on growing their core business. The business owner can relax knowing that the administrative tasks are taken care of. Read more.
BrownWinick Attorneys Break Fundraising Record for Variety – the Children’s Charity
BrownWinick is proud to congratulate attorneys Ashley Fuhrmeister, Karen Karr and Allison Lindner on their effort in making the 2020 Polo on the Green a record-breaking year for Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa. Ashley, Karen and Allison served as co-chairs of this year’s Polo on the Green event. Typically, Polo on the Green is a fundraising event held each July that features a live polo match, live and silent auction, dinner and live entertainment. Read the full news release.
TechBrew to Be Held as Virtual Event on Sept. 22
The North Iowa TechBrew is holding a virtual networking and roundtable discussion event on Sept. 22. The program will begin at 5:30 p.m., with optional additional networking for those who log in early. TechBrew will focus on the topics of connections and connectivity. TechBrew is for all of North Iowa–innovation grows in every field, from IT to agriculture, from cybersecurity to marketing. Read the full news release.

Medicare Basics Virtual Lunch and Learn is Oct. 14
Focus OneSource will host a free Medicare Basics virtual lunch and learn on Oct. 14 from 12-1 p.m. Medicare is a health insurance program offered to most people when they turn 65. By attending this webinar, you will learn about your eligibility, benefits and costs of Medicare, and the additional health insurance options available once you are Medicare-eligible. Attendees can request a private meeting with the presenter after the webinar. Call Focus OneSource at 515-369-7550 to reserve your spot.

CEC to Host Open House at New Dubuque Location
Communications Engineering Company (CEC), a nationally recognized technology solutions provider and systems integrator in the Midwest, is excited to announce an open house celebration at its new location, 4099 McDonald Drive in Dubuque. Customers, friends and technology decision-makers in Dubuque and surrounding areas are invited to attend on Oct. 15. from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Read the full news release.

Annual Employment Law Seminar Set for Oct. 27 and 29
Looking for solid footing amid uncertainty in the workplace? Learn how to get a leg up on new and familiar employment law topics at Fredrikson & Byron's Annual Employment & Labor Law Virtual Seminar on Oct. 27 and Oct. 29, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. In addition to the seminar, three supplemental one-hour webinars are set for Nov. 5, 12 and 19 from 12-1 p.m. and will provide a deeper dive on pressing topics. The cost $75 for the online seminars, and the additional webinars are $25 per session. Learn more.

Storm Lake Police Dept. Receives Grant from Tyson Foods
From KMEG 14/Fox 44 Siouxland News: "The Storm Lake Police Department has announced the completion of their new community outreach vehicle. In June, the Storm Lake Police Department was awarded a community grant from Tyson Foods. The grant allowed the department to repurpose a utility military surplus Humvee. The Humvee was painted black and white and equipped with an ice cream freezer so that officers can patrol Storm Lake neighborhoods and give away free ice cream." Read more.

Principal Charity Classic Raises Record-High $6.7 Million
The Principal Charity Classic has announced the event raised a record-high $6.7 million in support of Iowa kids. Sustained support from thousands of fans, sponsors, volunteers and charity partners helped raise the bar on our philanthropic impact–exceeding last year’s fundraising total by more than $1 million, and bringing the overall charity impact to more than $30 million since Principal signed on as title sponsor in 2007. Read the full news release.

Google Celebrates National Small Business Week
In light of National Small Business Week this week, Google is sharing an update on its ongoing efforts to help small businesses grow.

  • On Monday you may have caught a snapshot of its Grow with Google tools on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
  • In March, Google announced $800 million in support for small business COVID-19 relief and recovery.
  • Google has delivered more than $60 million in relief financing to 17 Community Development Financial Institutions in underserved communities.
  • Google has expanded its resources and tools over the past few months including:
  • Training more than 10,000 small businesses on digital tools through free virtual workshops via the new Grow with Google OnAir platform.
  • Helping more than 7,000 organizations train people on digital skills through the Grow with Google Partner Program.
  • Expanding its Digital Coaches program to 20 cities across the U.S.
  • Launching a new hub for small businesses featuring tips and recommendations to help business owners stay connected during COVID-19.