As the region’s advocate for business and the community, we have COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, on our minds. The highest priority of any business is to protect the health and safety of employees and clients. Our goal is to keep you informed by providing resources to help keep your employees safe and healthy.
Idaho public health officials are monitoring the coronavirus very closely. Individual risk in Idaho is low at this time, according to the Idaho State Corona Virus response team convened by Governor Brad Little. And, currently, there are no confirmed cases in Idaho.
The Boise Metro Chamber and our community partners are monitoring COVID-19 and its potential impact on our region. Some useful resources to help prepare your organization and teams include:
What You Can Do:
Both of our local hospitals, St. Luke’s and St. Alphonsus have resources and recommendations listed on their respective websites.
Last week, Mat Erpelding—our VP of Government & Community Relations—attended a conference on childcare hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Recently, the U.S. Chamber Foundation partnered with the Idaho business community to understand the economic impacts of childcare access challenges. The result was Untapped Potential, a report that suggests there is tremendous untapped economic potential if Idaho childcare challenges are solved.
The report speaks for itself: a $479 million annual loss for Idaho’s economy. The cause of this loss? The lack of state investment in early childhood education programs. Childcare options remain financially out of reach for working parents, and 40% of those with access are lacking quality childcare.
Of the 332 working parents surveyed, only 5% are offered paid maternity leave or onsite childcare. While these are two of the three benefits most desired by working parents, they are rarely offered and the #1 benefit—the need for flexible working hours—is disregarded. This causes ½ of Idaho parents to miss work due to breakdowns in childcare, and 23% of those enrolled in school or training programs to discontinue their learning. These absences, and consequent employee turnover, cost employers $414 million per year and stifle the earning potential of Idaho community members.
We know that early childhood education is crucial to the emotional and cognitive development of young children; however, it must be seen as equally beneficial for parents and the state’s workforce and economy.
The good news? Idaho has just received a $3.3 million federal Preschool Development Grant, and policy makers and business leaders should acknowledge how an effective investment in childcare could encourage Idaho to fully capitalize on its resources.
According to the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC), “the one-year grant will focus on research, planning, collaboration and coordinating on early childhood systems across the state. Idaho was one of only six states and territories that was awarded funding for this initial planning grant.” In this process, local businesses like St Luke’s should act as a model, offering employees onsite early childhood development programs open 6 a.m.- 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. Such accessible care options provide the necessary support for the current and future workforce.
Recently, Idaho’s Senator Jim Risch recorded a video supporting the IAEYC grant. It can be viewed below.
To read the full Untapped Potential report by the U.S. Chamber Foundation, click here
BOISE, ID – The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Ray Stark, Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations and Events of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce is the 2020 recipient of the Chamber’s Hall of Fame Award. Stark is the eighth recipient of this award, following Candi Allphin in 2019, Dave Terrell in 2018, Dr. Bob Kustra in 2017, and Dennis Johnson in 2016.
Stark was selected for the award for his everlasting contributions to the betterment of the Chamber and support for its mission to advocate for a vibrant economy and outstanding quality of life. Stark will be honored at the 2020 Small Business of the Year & Chamber Excellence Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, May 19 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Boise Centre.
Stark was hired at the Boise Metro Chamber in 1990 as the Government Affairs Manager and has spent the last 30 years in government advocacy for the Chamber. Stark will retire as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs in 2020.
Stark’s accomplishments over the years are extensive and notable. One of Stark’s most distinguished accomplishments was planning the Chamber’s Annual Leadership Conference that will celebrate 27 years this spring. The Leadership Conference focuses on bringing together businesses in the region along with elected officials to breakdown barriers between counties and cities and regional solutions for transportation, economic development, workforce and air quality.
The inaugural Mayor’s State of the City Address was also spearheaded by Stark with the first presentation by Mayor Dirk Kempthorne in 1990. The event has turned into a staple performance for the Chamber and city to highlight various initiatives and still continues today.
Stark has led a passionate career making Boise a great place to live and work. Stark’s public policy successes have included lowering the corporate income tax, widening I-84, the start up of College of Western Idaho, bonds for the Boise and West ADA school districts, classroom buildings for Boise State University, and funding for the Ada County Highway District.
“For thirty years Ray Stark has been the heart and soul of the Boise Metro Chamber,” said Bill Connors, President and CEO of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. “His institutional knowledge of all things Idaho is unsurpassed in this state. I’m grateful to have had the honor of working alongside one of the most decent and beloved figures in Boise’s history. His tenure had made us all successful, and I hope the entire community can come show their appreciate to one of the most humble, yet successful ‘community advocates’ in the nation.”
Stark has always been an active member in the community serving on several boards and panels. Stark was past chairman of the Boise Philharmonic Association and serves on advisory boards for Boise State University, the University of Idaho and Bishop Kelly High School. In 2007 the University of Idaho awarded Stark with the Silver and Gold Award – honoring his contributions to his career, community, and charity. In 2017 Governor Butch Otter appointed Ray to serve on the state’s Higher Education Task Force. A long-time sports fan, Stark also served as Boise State Football’s scoreboard operator for 41 years.
Before joining the Boise Metro Chamber, Stark served twelve years on staff at the Idaho State Legislature. His duties included financial analysis with an emphasis on higher education, health and welfare, prisons and the state’s building program. Stark graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Idaho with undergraduate degrees in Political Science and History and a master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA).
Registration for the 2020 Small Business of the Year & Chamber Excellence Awards Luncheon is open at https://www.boisechamber.org/chamber-excellence-awards.html.
About the Boise Metro Chamber: Established in 1883, the Boise Metro Chamber strives to be the leading business advocacy organization in the Boise Valley. The Boise Metro Chamber is a private, nonprofit, membership-driven organization comprised of more than 1,800 business enterprises, civic organizations, education institutions and individuals. Its mission is to provide leadership that will help create regional economic prosperity and success for its members.