As part of the Metro South Chamber’s active accreditation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an environmental scan is produced that summarizes the trends, analysis, and outlook of the Metro South Region, and how the Chamber is involved. Take a look at some of the ways the Metro South Chamber has led or been involved with economic, political, and social activity in the Metro South region over the past few years.
The Metro South Chamber of Commerce remains at the vanguard of economic, political and social activity in the Metro South Region and through its leadership role demonstrates its skills and expertise to mobilize response and action for critical business and community issues. Among the key initiatives in which the Chamber took a lead role is the Chamber’s strong support with the Mayor and the City of Brockton for a Destination Resort Casino in Brockton that was passed by the voters on May 12, 2015. In its broad regional role, the Chamber has systematically cultivated regional and municipal leaders to forge lasting regional, strategic partnerships.
Business, government and community leaders rely on the Chamber as the organization that generates action, remains informed on crucial issues, garners partner support and grasps the opportunity to address civic leaders and community groups to tackle important and sensitive issues and promote positive support. The Chamber’s leadership role continues to gain recognition as the organization demonstrates its understanding and preparedness to address issues and trends in a timely manner. This recognition is a result of the leadership of the Board and the President/CEO as well as the talented staff and the professional and collegial environment created by this team.
The Chamber led the state’s first Chamber/business collaborative to receive a $250,000 Workforce Training Fund Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a Careers in Health Program to train over 140 employees from area health facilities. Subsequently, the Chamber was awarded a Lumina Grant to further support and enhance the Careers in Health initiative. These two major grant awards positively impacted the region’s largest industry by promoting higher education, higher skills, on the job skill enhancement and strong retention for the health industry partners.
The Chamber further demonstrated its leadership by commissioning a study by the UMass Donahue Institute to address the possible use of the underutilized 35 acre CRX Railroad site in Brockton. By providing substantive data and analysis and meeting with the CRX principals, the Chamber laid the groundwork for developers and the City of Brockton to examine future uses for this site. The Chamber partnered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to promote and support the Gateway Cities Initiative that has resulted in additional funds from the Commonwealth for the City of Brockton; the Chamber supported both the Station Lofts and the Trinity Project during their initial foray into the community, inviting them to Chamber board meetings that ensured the support needed for these multi- block downtown revitalizations to happen, and led to Jason Korb, Principal of Station Lofts, receiving The Massachusetts Historical Commission’s Massachusetts Annual Preservation Award. This Adaptive Reuse, Rehabilitation, and Restoration of the former Lilly Brackett and Co. Shoe Factory in downtown Brockton resulted in mixed use housing and commercial space.
The Chamber convened several regional forums with the Mayor of Brockton, regional and municipal leaders that resulted in positive dialogue by all constituents and the ultimate creation of a strong Chamber Affiliates group that includes the Industrial Parks and Business Associations along with area Chambers of Commerce; the Chamber has played a pivotal role in the creation of a downtown higher education center led by two Universities and the Community College; and the Chamber just released a second major study by the UMass Donahue Institute that examines the establishment of a regional water/sewer authority and the potential opportunities this may create for the region.
The Chamber headquarters, a unique, historic building once occupied by Thomas Edison, serves as the focal point for community, business and economic development activities. The Chamber’s two year Centennial Campaign celebrated 100 years of the Chamber serving the business community, providing community leadership, and advocating for the economic development of the region. The Massachusetts House and Senate also recognized the Chamber’s 100 Years of Service in a special resolution.
Concurrently the Chamber successfully completed its Centennial Innovation Campaign and achieved its goal to raise $350,000 to upgrade its headquarters to a state of the art business hub. The Chamber is a major city landlord boasting a multi-functional landmark structure that includes the Business Assistance Center created in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration; the Edison Business Incubator that supports fledgling businesses; conference room space for classes, workshops, seminars, debates, focus groups and other important forums as well as collocating important community organizations such as the Mass Small Business Development Center, Brockton 21st Century, Brockton Redevelopment Authority (BRA), Brockton Parking Authority, SCORE, SEED Corporation and the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office.
The Chamber Board of Directors examines major national, state and local issues at its regular meetings, special forums and biennial planning retreats. To support the board in its examination, the Chamber proactively compiles and analyzes the research of many recognized national and regional data centers. The Chamber collaborates on data and research products with the following respected organizations: University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Northeastern University Dukakis Center for Public Policy Research; Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development; Pioneer Institute, Federal Reserve Bank; Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Office of Economic Development; Commonwealth Corporation; UMass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research; MassInc; Old Colony Planning Council; and the Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board.
The Chamber actively reviews studies and research conducted by these and other similar organizations and regularly invites their experts to Chamber events and forums to inform the business community about current and future trends and issues. The Chamber collaborates with research organizations to develop specific topic reports and surveys and its members provide expertise to investigate, facilitate and coordinate these efforts.