HCCC Offers Assistance to Committee on Paid Leave

After more than a year advocating against the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) is offering its assistance to Gov. Larry Hogan and the newly created Committee on Paid Leave Policy, as they work to create more balanced and predictable leave laws.
The HCCC was very active in the fight against the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (commonly referred to as the Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Act) and its efforts have been successful — as last month, Hogan vetoed the act. He also issued an executive order creating a Committee on Paid Leave Policy, tasked with collecting data and information to assess Maryland workers’ access to paid leave, and the extent to which providing such leave would impose burdens and hardships on Maryland businesses.

As the voice of business for Howard County, Chamber President and CEO Leonardo McClarty wrote to Hogan to let him know that the chamber is ready to assist the Committee on Paid Leave Policy any way possible, to ensure a predictable leave law can be created that does not impose unreasonable costs on businesses or their customers.

We will continue to keep our members and the Howard County business community informed as the committee moves forward, trying to come up with a common-sense policy that would meet the needs of employees and the employers we represent.

The committee has developed an online survey tool for businesses and employees to submit feedback. It can be found at www.dllr.state.md.us/paidleave.

Tech Talent at HCCC

The HCCC’s 8th Annual Cyber Conference saw the region’s top cybertechnology and security talent turn out at Howard Community College. Attendees heard from keynote speakers like Curtis Dukes, Ron Gula and Lonny Anderson, who talked about cybertechnology trends, security and predictions for the industry.
This was the first year that two tracks were offered so attendees could choose which sessions to attend, based on their level of expertise, the organization they represented or even on which topics they were most intrigued by. Moderators and panelists covered everything from developing insider threat programs and selling out through private equity, venture capital and strategic buyers to how government and higher education are spurring innovation.

The chamber owes a debt of gratitude to all of the speakers, panelists, sponsors, exhibitors, staff, volunteers and cyberconference committee members who helped make Cyber 8.0 a huge success.

Partnering With HCEDA

The HCCC is now working with the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) to help welcome new businesses to the county. The idea behind the New Business Welcome program, sponsored by Columbia Association, is to continue to position Howard County as the best place to start, grow or relocate a business.

At the first New Business Welcome event June on 14, business owners were introduced to government and community leaders, including Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman. Business were also given information about the resources available to them through the county, the HCEDA and the chamber to ensure their success. The HCCC looks forward to continuing to partner on this initiative.

The Big Move

Howard County’s downtown and innovation districts are going through some major changes, and the HCCC is following suit. The chamber is in the middle of a rebranding effort that will give it a new look, to be revealed this fall; and for the first time in 18 years, the chamber will also have a new address.

Starting Sept. 1, you will find the HCCC at our newly renovated space at 6240 Old Dobbin Lane. The space will put us in a more central location with easy access to the area’s major highways and in close proximity to Columbia Gateway Business Park, Howard County’s largest business center. Earlier this year, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced a new vision for the park that would turn it into “an innovation district, where leading-edge companies work with anchor educational institutions and startups, to collaborate on new technologies and services.”

We look forward to holding an open house this fall to give our members a look at the new space and how it will better position the HCCC to move forward.