Monday August 10, 2020
Here are the latest updates and resources for businesses and employees during this uncertain time. - Onward and Be Well!
WHITEHALL LOCK FINALLY OPENED, ALLOWING LAKE ACCESS FROM SOUTH
We are pleased to confirm that the Whitehall lock of the Champlain Canal finally opened on Friday for passage, allowing access by boaters to Lake Champlain from the south.

Unfortunately, the state's construction restrictions this past spring as part of the COVID-19 pause, delayed completion of the lock reconstruction, cutting Lake Champlain off from the Champlain Canal for most of the summer. Making matters worse, of course, has been the closure of the northern border to Canadian boats and boat owners, effectively isolating Lake Champlain from both directions.

While we continue to believe the canal work should have proceeded last spring as essential construction on a state transportation system, we have been regularly monitoring progress and seeking the soonest possible opening. We hope that Friday's restoration of lake access from the canal will bring some amount of much needed additional business to the Lake Champlain marinas in the weeks ahead.
WEBINAR: Motivating, Coaching & Mentoring for Performance
Coaching employees, rather than just managing them, is the key to employee retention and satisfaction. This session will provide an overview of coaching and mentoring, and how motivation can be used to enhance the process. We will explore why coaching works, and you will learn how to design a coaching plan for each one of your employees. Most importantly, you will come away with an understanding of how you may need to change your own thinking about managing people in order to be a successful coach.

  • Date: August 11, 2020
  • Time: 11:00AM

Learning Objectives:

  • To define the difference between coaching and mentoring
  • To understand the importance of fostering trust with employees and harnessing motivation in the coaching process
  • To identify the core steps necessary to develop a coaching plan for each employee
  • To understand the role of feedback in the coaching process
Employers Worry Childcare Will Keep Employees from Returning to Work
report released today by the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce revealed that 40% of employers are not confident that everyone in their workforce will fully return to work. Of the issues cited as reasons, childcare (79%) is nearly equivalent to concern for health and safety (81%).
The full report provides insight into how employers are thinking about childcare assistance, benefits, and accommodations during COVID-19, and is the second in a series of polls that will survey working parents and employers into the fall. Last week’s survey of working parents found that 22% of working parents with children under the age of six were unsure whether they would return to their pre-COVID situation. 
Key takeaways: Forty percent of employers have offered additional childcare assistance, benefits, or accommodations in response to the effects of COVID-19. Most employers (92%) believe they are aware of the childcare needs of their employees.

Many employers are preparing for additional support as they consider return to work scenarios. Currently, one in four are willing to increase their organization’s investment in employee childcare needs, but more than half (51%) would be likely to offer additional childcare assistance if the government provided incentives such as tax benefits or subsidies.
Big Picture: Childcare is now a top-tier issue for everyone in the business community. Without this industry’s survival and ability to safely care for the children of working parents, every other American industry will struggle to return to work.
WEBINAR: How to Leverage a Virtual Assistant in a Pandemic
A Virtual Assistant can be a valuable asset for any business but especially when resources are scarce and access to funds is limited, such as during the current pandemic. Leveraging a VA can help you manage your time more effectively and allow you to focus on activities that translate faster to business development and growth.

In this webinar, presented by Owner of Virtual Assist USA Danielle Julia Cuomo, you'll learn:
  • How outsourcing can save your business
  • How to plan versus panic in times of uncertainty
  • How you can afford a Virtual Assistant
  • How to figure out what to delegate to a Virtual Assistant

Date: August 11th
Time: 11AM
Encouraging July Jobs Report, Long Road Ahead
The release of July jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was stronger than expected. Jobs increased 1.8 million in July. Analysts anticipated the economy to add 1 million jobs.

By the numbers: The unemployment rate dropped to 10.2% from 11.1% in June. Wages grew 0.2% on an annual basis and the labor force declined by 62,000 in June.

U.S Chamber's Take: The 1.8 million new jobs is good news, but it is important to put the figure in context. In May and June the economy added 2.8 and 4.8 million jobs, respectively. July saw a slowdown, which is in line with other economic data that has shown a pullback in economic activity with the virus’ resurgence. 
Furthermore, when the labor market peaked before the COVID-19 shock in February, there were about 153 million Americans employed. At the end of July that figure was down to under 140 million, leaving a gap of almost 13 million jobs left to be filled. It will take a long time to get back to where we were before the pandemic struck, unfortunately.

Up Next: How fast we return to the pre-pandemic high in the labor market will depend on the policy response, especially unemployment benefits. Congress is still debating how to replace the extra $600 a week unemployment benefit that expired last week. The Chamber created interactive tools to help analyze the unemployment insurance plans under consideration. View the 50-state table. Explore the interactive map.

–Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
QUICK LINKS:

  • Forward NY: Official State Website for opening procedures and guidelines.

  • Looking for Supplies: If your business is looking for hard to find protective products, we have created a list of businesses offering hand sanitizer, gloves, wipes, masks and other items.


  • Now Hiring: Whether you are hiring or looking for work, we have a page dedicated to helping pair potential employees with employers.

  • Webinars: Did you miss one of our webinars, you can find them all here.

  • SCORE: Visit Scores Coronavirus page for webinars and useful articles for small businesses.
To help the North Country reopen safely and meet the state and local mandates, The North Country Chamber of Commerce has created a comprehensive list of resources to navigate state and local requirements. Check out the home page for details. There is also a series of webinars available for businesses to help educate and provide answers to common questions.
Have Questions? We're here to help!

North Country Chamber of Commerce
518.563.1000