The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) hosted a successful, day-long Women in Government Contracting Leadership Forum on March 8. With more than 150 attendees, it was one of the largest gatherings of women in business in Howard County in the recent past.
The forum saluted female entrepreneurship and provided “how to” information about government procurement opportunities for small, local and minority businesses. Those who participated said it provided valuable information, skills and resources.
The forum was sponsored by the HCCC’s GovConnects program, which connects business leaders, government officials and top federal government contractors in Central Maryland. GovConnects participants dialogue with executive level attendees to cultivate new and existing relationships, while obtaining knowledge and exploring new business opportunities.

Legislative Attention
The HCCC also has been monitoring proposed legislation in Annapolis that may impact business. Two bills getting special attention are the Paid Leave and the Fair Scheduling proposals.
The House of Delegates approved HB001. It would require employers with 15 or more employees to give full-time and part-time workers one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours per calendar year; it also would allow the employee to carry a balance of unused leave into the following year, with the total not to exceed 80 hours. That bill will now be considered by the Maryland Senate (SB230). The HCCC has united with other business groups to express concerns about the legislation and its impact on businesses throughout the state.
Another bill getting attention has been called Fair Scheduling. Similar legislation was proposed last year and was received unfavorably. This year’s bills, HB1614 (SB1116) and HB1615 (SB1145), would require employers to post job schedules within certain timeframes. The Chamber is extremely concerned about the negative effects this bill would have on businesses, as it would limit employer flexibility and cause undue punitive damages.

Coming Up
On April 18, the HCCC will be hosting an informative breakfast meeting with Christian Hellie, the acting deputy associate commissioner for Acquisition and Grants at the Social Security Administration (SSA). As the principal procurement office for the SSA, Hellie will discuss its acquisition initiatives, including small business and social-economic procurement goals. The presentation will clarify contract management protocols and acquisition strategies.
And, if you are looking for a vacation, plan to join the Chamber on March 30 to learn more about the HCCC’s 2017 trip abroad. This year, it will be hosting a trip to Italy and include stops in visiting Amalfi, Pompeii and Rome, from Oct. 23–31.
The nine-day trip is open to everyone, but HCCC members will receive a discounted price. The Amalfi Coast is a combination of coastal mountains, dotted with picturesque towns and lush forests bordering the aqua Mediterranean Sea. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had the entire area declared a World Heritage Site in 1997.
More information can be found at