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  • Working Hard on Your Behalf: 2017 Highlights from the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce

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    January 12, 2018

    Our Mission at the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is to be a…

    – Catalyst for business growth
    – Convener of leaders and influencers
    – Champion for a stronger community

    You may not have noticed … but the Chamber has been working hard on your behalf. Responding to our mission here’s a quick sampling of what we’ve been doing for members and the local business community recently.

    2017 Highlights:

    Legislative Tracking. Working in a coalition of Chambers across the state, we actively monitor and track proposed legislation – particularly at the state, county, and local level – that will impact your businesses’ ability to compete and thrive economically. We strive to keep our members informed about pending bills and the potential impacts, and we actively work to educate legislators about those impacts on employers. While 2017 saw a significant number of new laws passed related to employer/employee issues in particular, the Chamber coalitions were able to defeat or significantly moderate a large number of bills that would have done great harm to business.

    Ensuring Santa Maria is included in Regional Issues. Santa Maria businesses are impacted by issues that are often decided outside of our local city limits. Recent examples where the SMV Chamber was successful in ensuring that our community was at the table included engaging with CalPoly to expand their economic development focus to include Northern Santa Barbara County, and advocating for our area to be included in economic impact studies related to the proposed shut-down of the Diablo Valley power plant.

    Positioning Santa Maria as the Best Choice for Business on the Central Coast. The Chamber has been active ensuring that the business voice/perspective was included on topics ranging revitalizing the Downtown core, to getting impact fees reduced, to blocking proposed new fees on business. At the same time, we’ve stepped up as the business representative in discussions seeking solutions to community issues like youth-related violence and the impacts of homelessness on businesses, while highlighting what works in our community through events that spotlight our police, VAFB, veterans, schools, and volunteers.

    Building a High Quality Workforce. Working with our local school districts, Allan Hancock College, and the Workforce Development Board, the Chamber actively connects employers and educators to ensure that students are being prepared for jobs that exist in our community. We’ve also increased our efforts to help employers build leaders within their existing employee ranks through programs like the Leadership Santa Maria Valley and Santa Maria Connect! programs.

    Putting Santa Maria Valley on the Map. Partnering with the local hospitality industry, we’ve taken giant steps forward in promoting our region as a tourist destination. Whether it’s our local wine industry, our cultural attractions, or simply our Santa Maria-Style hospitality and lifestyle, people are taking note and increasingly looking to us as a place to get away and rejuvenate.

    Welcoming New Businesses and Celebrating Existing Businesses. Santa Maria is on a bit of a roll right now in terms of welcoming new businesses, both large and small. At the same time, businesses that have been part of our community continue to grow, innovate, and celebrate milestones both large and small. The Chamber works with all of them.

    Facilitating Business Connections. In groups small and large, in person or through referrals, the Chamber is constantly connecting businesses with each other and with those seeking their products and services. The Chamber is the place where businesses and the community come together.

    During 2018, we’re committed to become even more focused on of programming that helps businesses succeed, impacting specific local and regional issues, and championing our community both at here and externally.

    We hope you notice our efforts. We know that these issues impact your business and your community, but recognize that you probably don’t have the time or expertise to do this work yourself. Thanks to the businesses that invest in the Chamber, we’re on the job every day working on your behalf.

    If a strong, vibrant economy and community is important to you … and you’re not currently supporting our efforts as a member … we invite you to join the effort and become a member of the Chamber today!

    Glenn Morris, President/CEO, Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce

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