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Wage and Benefit Survey 2019 Executive Summery

Twenty-three companies reported data to the 2019 Wage and Benefit Survey conducted by Marist College’s Bureau of Economic Research and School of Management, and, sponsored by the Council of Industry of Southeastern New York and Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions. Highlights of information collected include the following points:

  • In 2019, 12 companies reported wage increases that averaged 2.9% for the management group, 10 companies reported wage increases that averaged 3.0% for the professional group, 12 companies reported wage increases that averaged 3.1% for the administrative/clerical group, 11 reported wage increases that averaged 2.9% for the technical group, 14 companies reported increases averaging 3.1% for the manufacturing/production group, and 11 companies reported increases averaging 3.1% for the sales group. These were in line with the pay increases observed nationally which came in at 3.2%.
  • For 2020, companies reporting planned increases of 3.2% for the management group, 3.0% for the professional group, 2.9% for the administrative/clerical group, 2.9% for the technical group, and 3.1% for the manufacturing/production group and 3.1% for the sales group. Nationally, pay increases for 2018 are projected to be 3.2% to 3.3%.

Sixty-five percent of the participating companies report that they plan on adding employees in 2020 compared to seventy-two percent reporting planned increases in last year’s survey. No survey respondents indicated they had any plans of reducing their workforce in 2020.

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FIRST Robotics Will Hold a Regional Competition at Rockland Community College

Imagine a competition where teams excited, technology-driven high school students compete head to head with robots they have designed, built and programmed themselves. Imagine hundreds of such teams competing in the Hudson Valley over a single weekend for the chance to advance to compete in front of 70,000 people in April at the FIRST Championship in Houston and again in May in Detroit. You don’t have to imagine it – it is real and will happen March 19 -20, 2020 at the Rockland Community College Athletic Center and you can be a part of it. Click here for event information.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 and is the world’s leading youth serving nonprofit advancing science, technology, engineering, and math. This program inspires students in grades K -12 worldwide while teaching leadership by engaging them in hands-on robotics challenges. FIRST LEGO League Jr. is for grade K-4, FIRST LEGO League is Grades 4- 8, and FIRST Tech Challenge covers grades 7 -12, while the FIRST Robotics Competition is grade 9 -12.

The program is supported by corporations, educational and professional institutions and individuals who provide mentorship time and talent, equipment, and funding. Participation in FIRST is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields. They develop self-confidence in STEM and real-world skills that can lead to careers in STEM related fields and more. High school participants are also eligible to apply for more than $80 million in scholarships to participating colleges and universities.

Working with professional Mentors participants design and build a robot, and compete in high-intensity events that reward the effectiveness of each robot, the power of team strategy and collaboration, and the determination of students. The competition teams create powerful mentoring relationships between the students and professional mentors, many of which are engineers and other professionals. The event starts with a Kickoff event that unveils a new, exciting, and challenging game. From the Kickoff, teams have limited time to build and program a robot to compete in the game using a kit of parts provided by FIRST and a standard set of rules. This year’s theme focuses on renewable sources of energy and is titled INFINITE RECHARGE.

Perhaps the program has achieved such amazing results because FIRST is known for Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. If you haven’t heard these terms before – “Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.” And at FIRST, Coopertition is “displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.” Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.

Last year nearly 100,000 high school students on 3,940 FIRST Robotics Competition teams took part in 100 district events, 11 District Championships, and 62 Regional Events (in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Israel, Mexico, and Turkey), and the FIRST Championship. Teams are comprised of professional mentors and 10 or more student members in grades 9-12. In addition, each FIRST team has one or more sponsors. Those sponsors include companies, universities, or professional organizations that donate their time, talent, funds, equipment, and much more to the team effort.

FIRST is a volunteer driven organization with more than 255,000 volunteer roles filled in the 2017-18 season. There are several FIRST programs in the Hudson Valley and opportunities for anyone reading this to become a volunteer. Many of the technical roles may require some experience and training but there are opportunities for safety advisors, field set-up, field re-set and similar tasks that can be a good fit for a first-time technical volunteer. Interested volunteers can visit the FIRST Inspires website at http://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer for more information about how to become a mentor, coach, or event volunteer.

Your company can also support the Regional Competition by participating in the College and Career Fair planned for the first day of the competition, March 19, 2020.  Your participation will highlight the many career options open to these highly motivated students in manufacturing.

For more information visit the FIRST Inspire website https://www.firstinspires.org/

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Successful CI Luncheon & Expo Features Speaker Jason Bram from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

The Council of Industry held its Annual Luncheon & Member/ Associate Member Expo on Friday, November 15th at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. This year’s keynote speaker was Jason Bram, a Research Officer in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Regional Analysis Function. He discussed employment data and the economic outlook for manufacturers in the Hudson Valley and beyond. The Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership was also awarded to 21 individuals for completing the Council’s supervisory training program.

This year the  3rd year scholars from The Hudson Valley Pathways Academy took on the Luncheon check-in table as a challenge project. They worked out the name tag set up and check-in procedures and manned those stations fro the event. They also provided assistance to expo participants. This year’s Expo was the largest ever with 30 Council of Industry member and associate member booths. There was a variety of displays, from safety equipment to banking and insurance, to a robotic arm that played tic-tac-toe and much more. The Expo offered companies the opportunity to display their products and services to the over 300 luncheon attendees.

A highlight of the Luncheon is the awarding of the Certificates in Manufacturing Leadership. This year we presented 21 individuals from 10 companies with certificates of completion. We also debuted the latest CI Video – Women in Manufacturing, see it here.

Jason Bram, Research Officer, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was the keynote speaker and provided his insight into the emerging economic trends. His presentation focused on employment in the region and local economies, trends in manufacturing employment and insights from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s business surveys. Bram explained how employment data point to fairly robust growth in Orange and Rockland
counties while Ulster & Dutchess counties lag. He also explained that the recent business surveys point to increasing weakness in both the
region’s manufacturing and service sectors with some businesses indicating adverse effects from trade restrictions and rising minimum wages. He included many graphs to illustrate his statistics.

This event is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors and we would like to thank them.

We would like to thank our major sponsor:

and our supporting sponsors:

            

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Presentations from the Lower Hudson Valley Adv. Mfg & Energy Bus Tour for Educators

Below are links to PDF versions of the presentations from the Lower Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Bus Tour for Educators

Westchester Community College Presentation

Safe Flight Business Presentation

Safe Flight Engineering Presentation

Magnetic Analysis Corp Presentation

Con Edison Entry Level Opportunities School Presentation

Southern Westchester BOCES Presentation

PDFs of the handouts from the event

Employment Guide for Advanced Manufacturing in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley

Advanced Manufacturing in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley

Energy & Utility Employment in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley

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Educators Tour Westchester Manufacturers Magnetic Analysis Corp and Safe Flight

Educators visit MAC

Pictured above: Educators tour Magnetic Analysis Corporation in Elmsford, NY.

Last week the Council of Industry, as part of its ongoing efforts to develop a skilled workforce for Hudson Valley Manufacturers, organized a tour for educators of Westchester County manufacturers.  Partnering with The Workforce Development Institute, Westchester Community College, Southern Westchester BOCES, New York State Senator Shelley Mayer, and Westchester County, we chartered a Coach bus and brought 34 administrators, guidance counselors and teachers to see firsthand the careers and career pathways available to their students in manufacturing.

The tour began at Westchester Community College with a presentation covering both credit and non-credit programs available at the college that teach the skillsets for many of these career pathways. Dean Raymond Houston of Westchester Community College’s School of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, and Tom Curanovic, Curriculum Chair of Mechanical & Civil Technology at WCC, led a tour of the advanced manufacturing center. This included a CAD lab, a CNC lab (with machines donated by Council of Industry member Fryer Machine,) and the electronics lab, along with a description of the training students receive in these classrooms. There was also some discussion from manufacturers taking part in the tour of the jobs and skills they are looking for when hiring and how the training provided by the college and through apprenticeship programs is beneficial.

After the WCC presentation and tour, the group boarded the bus and set off to their first stop, Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, right next to the Westchester County Airport in White Plains. Safe Flight is a leader in aviation safety and flight performance systems.  The company was founded in 1946 and pioneered the development of Stall Warning and Angle of Attack, Automatic Throttle Systems, Wind Shear Warning, and many other innovations in aircraft instrumentation, flight performance, and control systems for fixed and rotary winged aircraft. As part of the tour, the educators learned more about the company’s history and philosophy. We met with the head of Engineering and learned about the numerous patents the company holds as well as how they test their products right here in Westchester. The tour of the production floor was fascinating for the educators, as they were able to see the CNC machines and machine shop, quality assurance testing, and electronics assembly in action and learn more about the types of jobs that are available in this company and what training is necessary to get started here and the opportunities for growth within the company. Then it was back on the bus and off to our next manufacturer. During the drive, Justin Lukach, President of Mircomold Products in Yonkers, talked about his company, how he got into manufacturing, and some innovative ideas they are trying out at Micromold to increase employee engagement.

After a short ride over to Elmsford, the group disembarked on the tour’s next stop, Magnetic Analysis Corporation, where they manufacture instruments, systems and solutions for nondestructive testing to inspect flaws and defects in tube and pipe, bar, rod, wire, cable, billets, and parts. Their products and testing instruments are used in countless countries and territories, in plants and mills where wire, tubing, bars, and metal parts roll through automatic inspection systems without missing a beat. Here we learned about the history of MAC and why their testing equipment is so important and what skills and background they look for when hiring employees. Greg Gionta, MAC Plant Manager, was also a WCC alumna and a great source of information on the career opportunities available to young people interested in working with their hands.  On the tour, we were treated to a CNC demonstration and watched as parts were readied for assembly in a machine worth over $400,000 headed to the oil and gas industry. Then it was back on the bus and we were off to the next stop, a Con Edison station in Rye.

At our last stop, Con Edison, the group learned about the jobs available in the Energy field and the growth opportunities available depending on your education and training. We heard from several current Con Ed employees about their career paths and how they got where they are today. They emphasized the importance of safety in their field and at Con Edison.

The bus ride back to the Community College featured Evangelo Micas, Assistant Principal for Southern Westchester BOCES, who discussed the programs open to high school students to get started on the path to manufacturing and energy careers. The educators came on the tour hoping to find out more about options for students that may, or may not be, college-bound and they came away with new connections to schools, companies and organizations in their community that are eager to find those same kids and expose them to rewarding career pathways in industry. This event was made possible by funding from The Workforce Development Institute. The Council of Industry looks forward to building these relationships to help develop the manufacturing workforce of the future.

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Parking Permit and Agenda for Lower Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Bus Tour for Educators

Link to Parking Permit for the Lower Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Bus Tour for Educators on Tuesday, October 29th

Link to Map of Westchester Community College Campus

You should arrive between 7 – 7:15 am to check-in and enjoy a light breakfast before we begin our event.  You may park in Lot 11 and go to the Gateway Center for check-in, marked on the attached map. Below is a general agenda for the day. You should have received a pre-event survey via email, please complete this as it will help us in preparing future events. We plan to return by 2:30 pm to Lot 11. Please bring a photo ID, it may be required to enter certain facilities. There will be some walking involved, please dress appropriately.

In case of last minute directions or schedule changes or if you have any questions, call me at (845) 565-1355, this number will ring on my cell phone the day of the event.

Directions to Westchester Community College, 75 Grasslands Road, Valhalla, NY 10595
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/FyHQe6K4mcWyBbX7A

 

Agenda

  • 7:00 – 7:15 Check-in at WCC
  • 7:15 – 8:15 WCC Presentation & Tour of Adv. Mfg. Lab

o 7:15 – 7:35 Welcome and Overview of Westchester Community College Programs

o 7:35 – 8:15 Tour of Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Labs

  • 8:30 – 8:50 drive to Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, White Plains (14 -24 min est.)

o Speaker: Raymond Houston, Dean of School of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering at Westchester Community College

  • 9:00 – 10:00 Tour Safe Flight Instrument Corporation – White Plains
  • 10:15 – 10:35 Drive to Magnetic Analysis Corp. (14 -22 mins)

o Speaker: Justin Lukach, President of Micromold Products Inc. (Yonkers)

  • 10:50 – 11:50 Presentation & Tour Magnetic Analysis Corp. – Elmsford
  • 12:05 – 12:35 Drive to Con Ed – Rye (18- 28 mins)

o Lunch

o Speaker: Johnnieanne Hansen, Vice President of Operations and Workforce Development – Council of Industry

  • 12:50 – 1:50 Presentation and Virtual Tour, Con Edison – Rye
  • 2:00 – 2:30 Drive to WCC (20 -30 mins)

o Speaker: Evangelo Michas, Assistant Principal Center for Career Services– Southern Westchester BOCES

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Council of Industry Fall 2019 Update

Students from Marlboro High School toured Sono-Tek Corp. in Milton, NY, for MFG Day on October 4th. In addition to facility tours that day, the Council of Industry broadcast of Hudson Valley Focus Live was held at Selux Corp. In Highland, NY and featured several members and friends of the Council. Pine Bush High School also held an Advanced Manufacturing and STEAM career night on October 2nd with many CI member companies in attendance. 

 

The staff at the Council of Industry has been very busy lately. October is Manufacturing Month and in addition to  MFG Day events (see photo above) we have been putting together the latest issue of HV Mfg for our members. The Fall 2019 HV Mfg is hot off the press and chock-full of fascinating articles. Hard copies should be arriving in the mail this week and next and the digital version is available on our website here.

In the Fall 2019 Issue you will find:

Also included our Manufacturing Resource Guide, News briefs and a letter from Harold King, President of the Council of Industry

The Council has a variety of training going on right now, such as the Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership Program at Westchester Community College and Regulatory and Saftey Training, which includes an OSHA 10 Hour certification and First Aid training offered free to registered apprentices. There is an EHS Network Meeting on Confined Space coming up and we are organizing a bus tour for Westchester County Educators to visit manufacturers in that area.

We have also been busy recruiting new members and would like to welcome the following:

And new associate members:

Do you know a manufacturing company that should be part of our association? Help us make a connection.

 

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Jason Bram from NY Federal Reserve to Speak at CI Luncheon & Expo on 11/15

The Council of Industry will hold its Annual Luncheon & Member/ Associate Member Expo on Friday, November 15th at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. This year’s keynote speaker will be Jason Bram, a Research Officer in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Regional Analysis Function. He will discuss the economic outlook for manufacturers in the Hudson Valley and beyond. The Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership will also be award to 29 individuals for completing the supervisory training program.

28 Council of Industry members and associate members will have booths in the Expo, which opens the event at 11:30 am. The Expo offers companies the opportunity to display their products and services to the over 300 expected attendees.

Jason Bram, Research Officer, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will provide his insight into the emerging economic trends. His research and analysis focus on the U.S. economy, with a primary emphasis on the Federal Reserve’s Second District, which includes New York State. Bram produces the regional Beige Book reports and uses monthly business surveys to monitor and analyze current and emerging economic trends. He has also published studies on some key sectors of the local economy, conducted ongoing research on commuting patterns, and researched the role of consumer confidence in the U.S. economy.

A highlight of the Luncheon is the awarding of the Certificates in Manufacturing Leadership. This year we have 29 individuals from 12 companies that have completed the Leadership Program. We invite our members to celebrate their achievements.

Seats are available for $60 per person or $540 for a table of ten. Registration is available on our website or follow this link. This event is made possible by our generous sponsors. Sponsorship opportunities are still available – click here for details.

We would like to thank our major sponsor:

and our supporting sponsors:

            

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October is Manufacturing Month

Students at Mfg Day

October is Manufacturing Month and we want you to be a part of the festivities. Our members are invited to host a table at the Pine Bush High School Advanced Manufacturing / STEAM Career Night on October 2. MFG Day is October 4, and there is still time to set up a tour of your facility and we would love to help. Westchester Community College, The Workforce Development Institute, and The Council of Industry are holding a manufacturing bus tour for educators in Westchester County to raise awareness of the career pathways available in manufacturing on October 29th. 

PineBush High School Advanced Manufacturing / STEAM Careers Night – 10/2

Held in conjunction with their annual open house, this event will feature a presentation and panel discussion on STEAM careers and advanced manufacturing and offer tours of Pine Bush’s Innovation Center and Fabrication Labs for Pine Bush students and parents. Manufacturers and local business are encouraged to participate in the Business and Career Showcase. If you are interested and would like a table at the event click here. There will also be tours of the PBHS Engineering, Robotics, STEAM Labs.

MFG Day  – Host a Facility Tour – 10/4

This day has been designed to expand knowledge about, and improve general public perception of manufacturing careers and manufacturing’s value to the U.S. economy. Manufacturing Day is for students, parents, educators, media, customers, suppliers and the community at large. This year MFG Day is October 4th. The Council of Industry will be broadcasting the Hudson Valley Live radio show on WKIP from Selux Corp. in Highland, NY that morning to start the day. We have had several companies register both public and private events already.

A big part of the day will be tours and visits to manufacturers, big and small, across the country. We encourage you to participate by hosting a tour of your facility. We can help connect you to a local school and register your event on the National Association of Manufacturer’s MFG Day website: https://www.mfgday.com/ Tours don’t have to take place on Oct. 4th, you can pick a day that works best for your company.

If you would like us to help organize your event, let us know and we will give you a call or you can register online: If you would like to organize a tour click here

Educator/ Advanced Manufacturing Bus Tour of Westchester – 10/29

Advanced Manufacturing and technical careers are thriving in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley. Rewarding careers can be launched with everything from a high school diploma to a Ph.D. The Educator Advanced Manufacturing Tour invites high school teachers, guidance counselors and administrators to learn first-hand about the types of companies and career paths open right here in Westchester County.

The event will start with a light breakfast at WCC and tour of the college’s advanced manufacturing labs. There will be a presentation on manufacturing and applied engineering technology career pathways, certifications, degrees and workforce programs available. We will then board a charter bus and travel to a local Con Edison worksite to learn about technical career pathways in the utility industry. After that, we will get back on the bus and visit two local manufacturing facilities for tours and presentations on their companies and advanced manufacturing career pathways, including those open through the New York State Apprenticeship Program.

 

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Has Your Company Complied with the October 9, 2019 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Deadline?

By: Joel J. Greenwald, Esq., Greenwald Doherty, LLP, Council of Industry Associate Member

A reminder to all employers in New York State, that in addition to updating sexual harassment prevention policies, New York law now (effective this past October 2018) requires all employees working any portion of their time in New York State to be trained on sexual harassment prevention on an annual basis. The first annual deadline is fast approaching on October 9, 2019.

  • The law mandates that the training contains certain specific elements and content.
  • The training must be “interactive.” The training can be (although is not required to be) live. It can also be administered online, but must involve more than simply watching a training video or reading a document without eliciting feedback or interaction.  To be deemed “interactive,” the training can include questions at the end of sections that the employee must answer correctly, can be conducted in-person or live with the presenter “interacting” with the employee by asking and/or answering questions, and/or provide an opportunity for employee feedback.
  • The training must contain a definition and explanation of “sexual harassment,” consistent with guidance provided by New York’s state agencies.
  • The training must provide examples of unlawful sexual harassment.
  • The training must include specific information concerning federal and New York statutes on sexual harassment, and the legal remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
  • The training must provide information concerning employees’ rights and all available forums (courts, agencies, etc.) for adjudicating complaints.
  • The training must contain information regarding responsibilities of supervisors and information on how to address conduct by supervisors.

 With less than a month left until the October 9th deadline, employers should contact counsel to discuss their options and firm up arrangements for their training if not yet already completed.

Joel J. Greenwald, Esq., is the managing partner of Greenwald Doherty, LLP, an employment and labor law firm, representing management exclusively, and can be reached at (845) 589-9300 or jg@greenwaldllp.com.

 DISCLAIMER:  The foregoing is a summary of the laws discussed above for the purpose of providing a general overview of these laws. These materials are not meant, nor should they be construed, to provide information that is specific to any law(s). The above is not legal advice and you should consult with counsel concerning the applicability of any law to your particular situation.

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Check Out the New CI Podcast and Meet Manufacturers, Educators and Influencers from around the Hudson Valley

 

In an effort to expand our reach and spread the word about manufacturing in the region, The Council of Industry is launching a podcast. We’ve been working behind the scenes to bring our members and the community an inside look into the people of Hudson Valley manufacturing.

The podcast space has grown expansively in the US with over 40% increase in awareness since 2017. According to Edison Research, 62 million Americans have listened to podcasts in the past week.

Our mission is to support our members and promote their success.  One important way we do that is to help people get to know all about manufacturing in the Hudson Valley; the companies, the products, the technologies, and the people – as well as its economic importance to the region.  As technology evolves, opportunities to communicate that message change. In the 1930s, we introduced the CI newsletter, followed by www.councilofindustry.org in 1991, and the introduction of HV MFG, The Council of Industry’s Magazine, in 2013. Over the last few years, we added a K-12 outreach resource www.gomakeit.org, expanded our YouTube Channel and formed a 501(c)3, (Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center); simultaneously weaving our message with the purpose of increasing awareness and promoting the success of our members.

The staff at CI already get to talk to fascinating, impactful people daily – now we can share those stories. Adding the podcast medium will help us broaden our reach and help us share insights, best practices and hopefully some laughs, with a wider audience.  Perhaps the podcast will help bring the already supportive manufacturing community even closer together.

Here’s a Taste of What’s to Come:

Episode 1: Bruce and Aaron Phipps, MPI
Aaron and Bruce share details about what it is like to grow up in a family-owned business and now work together as contemporaries tackling the challenges and celebrating the successes with their MPI family. Aaron is heavily involved at SUNY New Paltz on their advisory board and mentoring interns. They speak about the importance of engagement at that level, training and building the next generation of workforce. Aaron and Bruce are fun to talk to and we’re thankful they agreed to be our tester podcast.

Episode 2: Aaron Hopmayer, Principal, Pine Bush High School
Aaron Hopmayer, affectionately known as “HOP” is top-notch. We talked with Aaron and Kenny Marshall about their success in integrating STEAM into all disciplines, the booming enrollment in their summer enrichment academies (including their newest summer academy for Advanced Manufacturing). Hop shares his experience overcoming obstacles, building engagement and generally doing whatever it takes because “its good for kids”.  Big shout out to Kenny Marshall, STEAM Coach for helping us work through the podcast flow and his patience for working with Harold and me, amateurs that we are. Kenny is a transformational teacher and coach; he was also one of our 2018 Manufacturing Champions. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Kenny in our podcast world.

Episode 3: Julian Stauffer, PTI
We truly enjoyed talking with Julian. He talked about his family history and the changes in leadership over the last several decades. He shared some insight about the importance of an adaptable, diverse workplace and what’s ahead for this growing company in Westchester. Julian and his brother Oliver are gracious hosts and the epitome of leadership in advanced manufacturing. We barely scratched the surface in this podcast, I look forward to chatting with Julian, and Oliver again in the near future.

Episode 4: Joe & Jimmy Ferrara and Stephanie Melick, ELNA Magnetics
Not only were we able to chat with Joe, Jimmy and Steph in episode 4, they are also going to be featured in our upcoming edition of HV Mfg. Magazine. We laughed a little too much while preparing for this podcast and then worked out our jitters together. We talked about the culture at Elna, their efforts to tackle workforce development challenges and the future of the business. This was a fun conversation – hopefully, some of the content actually makes it to the ‘podcast’.

Still to come:

Jenny Clark, Global Foundries
Gretchen Zierick, Zierick’s 100-year anniversary
Meaghan Taylor, Regional Director, Empire State Development

This podcast launches in conjunction with other CI activities including our latest video featuring an Electro-Mechanical Technician Apprentice, Forrest (sponsored by Tompkins Mahopac Bank) and the upcoming edition of the HV Mfg Magazine due out in October.

We are always looking for great content; if you are interested in joining us for a podcast episode or know someone who is particularly interesting, please reach out to jhansen@councilofindustry.org.

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A Beautiful Day for Golf

The weather was perfect this year for the Council of Industry annual Golf Outing. The event hosted 90 golfers from manufacturing companies and their associates at the beautiful historic Powelton Club in Newburgh. The event featured a lunch sponsored by Viking Industries and Cocktails followed by a light dinner sponsored by Packaging Technologies & Inspection (PTI).
This year there was a new option, we offered a scramble game for those who didn’t want the pressure of playing their own ball or preferred to avoid the ‘yellow ball’ stress. Of course, best-ball and yellow ball were also still options as well. Prizes for the games were made possible by the following sponsors: Closest to Pin – Pratt Whitney; Longest Drive – Elna Magnetics; Best Ball – Allendale Machinery, Yellow Ball – Package Pavement Co.

Participants received golf shirts with the CI logo donated by Direct Energy and there was a Hole-in-One, that a couple of people came close to winning, sponsored by Belfor Property Restoration. We would also like to thank all of our tee sponsors: Pratt Whitney; The Chazen Companies; Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP; President Container Group; E.A. Morse; Bell Flavors & Fragrances; Barton and Loguidice, D.P.C.; Schatz Bearing Corp.; Orange Bank & Trust Company; Pawling Engineered Products; Central Hudson; Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions; Metallized Carbon Corp.; Harris Beach PLLC; Eastern Alloys, Inc.; JGS CPAs; TD Bank; and Ulster Savings Bank.

Winners of the best ball contest were: Mark Kastner, The Chazen Companies; Tom Gaffney, AFF Flanders; Ron Aberizk, Direct Energy Business; Al Lussier, Direct Energy Business. Winners of the yellow ball competition were: John Rickert, Craig Busby, JP Cheneski, and Chuck DelPriore of Pawling Engineered Products. Winners of the scramble were: Dylan Dembeck, Tom Weddell, Jarred Kaufman, Steven Drobysh from the Ulster Savings Bank foursome. Other winners were – woman’s longest drive: Stephanie Melick, Elna Magnetics; men’s longest drive: John Evans, Belfor Property Restoration; women’s Closest to the pin: Alicia Zito, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.

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What’s the Purpose of a Public Company?

The Business Roundtable, a group representing the nation’s most powerful chief executives, last month abandoned the idea that companies must maximize profits for shareholders above all else, a long-held belief that advocates said boosted the returns of capitalism but detractors blamed for rising inequality and other social ills.

The new statement reads:  “Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity.  We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”  The Business Roundtable represents the CEO’s of 192 large companies and is chaired by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

That statement is far from Milton Friedman’s famous 1970 New York Times Op-Ed where he declared “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” And “in a free-enterprise, private-property system, a corporate executive is an employee of the owners of the business. He has direct responsibility to his employers. That responsibility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires…the key point is that, in his capacity as a corporate executive, the manager is the agent of the individuals who own the corporation…and his primary responsibility is to them.”

For small, privately held, businesses the idea of a company’s purpose is not complicated – it is whatever the owner says it is.  But in publicly traded companies that are owned by thousands of shareholders and governed by boards of directors, this is a question worth examining.

While many praised the CEOs for their foresighted humanitarianism, others worry they have accelerated the demise of capitalism itself. In What Companies Are For, The Economist (subscription required) offers a historical perspective on the issues and has an interesting take, arguing that “…this new form of collective capitalism will end up doing more harm than good. It risks entrenching a class of unaccountable CEOs who lack legitimacy. And it is a threat to the dynamism that is the source of long-term prosperity—the basic condition for capitalism to succeed.”

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What Employers Need to Know as Pay Equity Protections Widen

There have been changes on both the federal and state level to compensation law. Read more about it in these two articles from IMA Update and Littler Mendelson P.C.

Minding the Pay Gap: What Employers Need to Know as Pay Equity Protections Widen

The pay gap – or paying women and other historically marginalized groups less for the same or substantially similar work – has increasingly been in the media spotlight. Politicians have also taken note. While there have been pay discrimination laws on the books at the federal level and in most states for decades, over the past several years, state and local governments and Puerto Rico have passed numerous new laws all aimed at closing the pay gap. Since 2016, more than 200 bills addressing pay equity were introduced in nearly every state. At the time of publication, 13 states have enacted “second wave” pay equity laws; 24 states and municipalities – along with Puerto Rico – have enacted salary history inquiry bans; and 19 states have enacted wage transparency provisions. In addition, employers with 100 or more employees that are subject to Title VII and certain government contractors are now required to report compensation data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) annually.

While the federal Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying employees less for equal work because of gender, these second wave pay equity laws revise this standard – prohibiting unequal pay for “comparable” work as opposed to “equal” work. The newly enacted salary history inquiry bans restrict employers’ ability to inquire into the salary history of applicants. Finally, wage transparency measures prohibit employers from banning pay disclosure in the workplace or from retaliating against employees who discuss their wages. Employers must comply with federal law and this growing patchwork of state and local laws.

The plaintiffs’ bar also has gotten in on the action. Since 2016, over 250 pay equity cases have been filed in the United States. High profile pay equity cases are in the news frequently – the proposed class and collective action filed in California federal court by all 28 members of the U.S. Women’s soccer team is just one example. Law firms and technology companies also have been targets. Indeed, to a large extent, the cases target professional services organizations and professional positions: lawyers, engineers, professors, scientists, managers and doctors. In addition to an equal pay claim, these lawsuits frequently include claims of discrimination, sexual harassment or wrongful termination. These lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts across the nation as both single plaintiff cases and class or collective actions.

This white paper provides a discussion of the nuts and bolts of the various existing pay equity laws, including:

  • the elements a plaintiff must establish to prove a claim;
  • the defenses available to employers;
  • the damages available; and
  • the procedural mechanisms that allow for these cases to be brought as class or collective actions – increasing the exposure for employers.

New York Expands Pay Equity Law Beyond Equal Work and Gender and Bans Inquiries into Salary History

On July 10, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation significantly expanding the protections of New York’s Pay Equity Law, which previously required equal pay for women and men performing “equal work.” The governor also signed a law imposing a ban on inquiries into an applicant’s salary history.

New Pay Equity Law

The new pay equity law now mandates equal pay among employees who perform “substantially similar” work, when considering skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. This means that employers cannot rely on comparisons among those who share the same title to ensure pay equity.  The analysis must encompass the wage rates among employees who hold different, though “substantially similar,” roles.  Employers should look at groupings or classes of jobs, rather than individual positions.

The law also now requires equal pay among all protected groups—not just between members of the opposite sex. Protected status includes age, race, creed, color, gender identity or expression, military status, disability, genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, or other status protected by law.2

Employers can still pay employees working in the same position differently based on their different geographic location, e.g., employees working in New York City might earn more than employees working in Buffalo.  However, employers cannot create geographic classes representing areas smaller than counties.

The new law retains the following prior permissible factors for wage differentials: differences based on (i) a seniority system, (ii) a merit system, (iii) “a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production,” or (iv) “a bona fide factor” other than the protected status, such as education, training, or experience.  The employer has to be able to show, however, that the “bona fide factor” is job-related, satisfies a specific business purpose, and is consistent with business necessity. In addition, the employer may not rely on any of these factors if a pay practice disparately impacts any of the protected classes and the employer has refused to adopt an alternative that would not produce a differential.

The new law takes effect on October 8, 2019.

Salary History Ban

The new salary history law prohibits employers from asking applicants or current employees for their wage or salary history as a condition of consideration for employment or promotion, and from asking other employers for that information. Employers also cannot refuse to consider, employ or promote an applicant or current employee based on their salary history or their refusal to provide their salary history. While New York State law is similar to New York City’s salary history ban, New York City law only covers applicants, not current employees.

The law also forbids employers from relying on salary history in setting an applicant’s pay rate, but does not prohibit individuals from voluntarily disclosing such history, including for the purpose of negotiating their wages.  The law allows an employer to verify an individual’s history if the applicant rejects an existing offer of compensation while citing to his or her prior salary.

The salary history ban takes effect on January 6, 2020.

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Join Us for a Day of Golf at the Powelton Club

CI Golf Outing

The Council of Industry Golf Outing is right around the corner. We invite our members and associate members to join us at the historic Powelton Club in Newburgh, NY on Monday, August 26, for a fun-filled day of golf. The $195 fee ($695 per foursome) includes lunch, golf, cart, cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres, dinner, prizes and giveaways. Dinner only option for non-golfers is $65 per person.

The Powelton is a beautiful course conveniently located just off Route 9W in Newburgh, NY. Last year’s event drew over 70 golfers from manufacturing firms throughout the Hudson Valley. Registration and lunch will begin at 11:30 followed by a shotgun start at 12:30. There is a Best Ball competition and the ever-popular Yellow Ball. This year we will be offering a scramble option as well which may be more fun for less experienced golfers. Proper golf attire is required at the Powelton and game rules will be provided at the start of the event. Cocktails and a light dinner will follow at approximately 5:00 p.m.

Register online at https://www.councilofindustry.org/event-seminar/golf-outing/ or email Alison Butler abutler@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565-1355.

Please consider becoming a sponsor of this event. Sponsors help make the CI Golf Outing possible and one of the most enjoyable of the golfing season. Show your support the Council of Industry and Hudson Valley manufacturing by becoming a sponsor.

We would like to thank the following:

Lunch Sponsor– Thank you Viking Industries
Cocktail Sponsor– $2,500 (includes a foursome) still available
Hole In One– Thank you Belfor Property Restoration
Shirt Sponsor– Thank you Direct Energy 
Best Ball Prize Sponsor– Thank you Allendale Machinery 
Yellow Ball Prize Sponsor– Thank you Package Pavement Company
Scramble Prize Sponsor– $800 still available
Closest to the Pin Prize Sponsor– Thank you Pratt & Whitney Advanced Coating Technologies 
Longest Drive Prize Sponsor– Thank you Elna Magnetics 
Tee Sign– $275 still available
Thank you  Tee Sponsors -The Chazen Companies, Pratt & Whitney Advanced Coating Technologies, Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP,  President Container Group, E.A. Morse, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Barton & Loguidice, Schatz Bearing Company, Orange Bank & Trust Company, Pawling Engineered Products, Central Hudson, Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions, Metallized Carbon Corp.

 

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New York Bans Racial Discrimination Based on Hair Texture or Style

By Edward Kowalski, Human Resources Director, Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions, a Council of Industry Associate Member

Both the New York State Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act were expanded last Friday to ban race discrimination based on “natural hair or hairstyles,” including, but not limited to, “braids, locks and twists.”  The law, called the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, takes effect immediately.

The change bans schools and businesses from having policies on hair that largely impact minorities.  Supporters of the expansion say minorities often face discrimination that is cloaked as criticism of their hair texture or style.  Black women are reportedly 1.5 times more likely to have reported being sent home from work because of their hair.  Staff Line will be reviewing all Client addendums and all employers should review their handbooks and policies to ensure that any grooming policies are compliant and up to date.

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USMCA Trade Deal Update

Ratification of the USMCA Trade deal, the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, is a priority for manufacturers across the country and especially those in New York State.  The Council of  Industry, along with hundreds of other business associations across the nation and the state, has signed letters of support for the USMCA encouraging Congress to approve the deal.

 

In New York, the Albany Times Union reports that “The Business Council of New York State is calling on the state’s congressional delegation to support the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, which would replace NAFTA upon ratification. About 800,000 jobs in New York are supported by trade with Mexico and Canada.” https://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Business-Council-of-NYS-urges-Congress-to-pass-14117259.php

 

Earlier this month Manufacturers from all over the nation came to Washington, D.C to express the urgent need for United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) passage at a series of events with key legislative decision-makers. “The Trump administration continues to show its steadfast commitment to America’s manufacturing workers,” said  Emerson CEO David Farr. “Manufacturers in Missouri and across the nation are keeping our promise to grow, invest and hire. This historic agreement will help us sustain this momentum. Congress must act now and ratify this agreement.”

https://www.nam.org/manufacturers-show-up-to-push-for-swift-usmca-passage-5466/?stream=news-insights

 

Vote is planned for later this Fall.

CNBC is reporting that “the White House plans to send the USMCA to Congress after Sept. 1, setting up a vote by the end of the year.  The White House could submit the bill to Congress as soon as this week to start the approval process. House Democrats are meeting in working groups to hammer out issues with the existing agreement.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/10/trump-white-house-likely-to-send-usmca-trade-deal-to-congress-after-sept-1.html

 

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What Do Americans Think about Manufacturing—and Its Future?

From NAM Input, The National Association of Manufacturers

Do Americans think manufacturing is important? How do they view the technological changes transforming the industry along with the rest of the economy?

Two recent surveys shed light on these important questions. First, a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution asked Americans what they think about manufacturing’s present state. More from the survey summary:

  • “Fifty-eight percent believe manufacturing is very important to the American economy, 14 percent think it is somewhat important, 6 percent feel it is not very important, and 22 percent are unsure.”

However, opinion varied markedly by age group, with younger people seeing manufacturing as less important:

  • “Seventy-one percent of people over the age of 55 believe manufacturing is very important, whereas only 45 percent of those aged 18 to 34 years feel that way. That is a 26 percentage point difference in feelings about the subject between these age groups.”

Now, what about manufacturing’s future? Another survey, by Gallup and Northwestern University, asked Americans, Canadians and Brits whether they thought their countries were prepared for technological change in the “AI age.” From Bloomberg’s writeup:

  • “Just 1 in 4 Americans are confident that the higher education system is doing enough to address the need for career-long learning and retraining.”
  • “Tuition costs are the biggest deterrent, followed by academic programs that aren’t keeping up with an evolving workplace environment, according to the survey.”

These findings underline the importance of The Manufacturing Institute’s mission and the new Creators Wanted Fund that will support significant programming in 2020 to improve industry perceptions as well as expand the Institute’s efforts.

First, too many young people have the wrong image of manufacturing. Many still envision the same sort of factories their grandfathers worked in, instead of the high-tech, stimulating environment it is today. Brookings’ results suggest that manufacturers must do better at showing young people how manufacturing is leading the 21st-century economy—a key mission of the Institute.

Meanwhile, Americans are right to worry that our educational system isn’t prepared for technological change, which will create opportunities as much as disruptions. That’s why the Institute is fundraising for its new $10 million Creators Wanted Fund, which will enable it to increase participation in apprenticeships and other educational programs by 25 percent through 2025. Learn more about the fund and related programming by contacting NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas.

The Council of Industry has its own solution, the NYS Registered Apprentice Program is available to individuals with tactical skills and math aptitude. This apprenticeship has two basic elements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, craft person capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner. The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a craft. Applicants must be 18 years or older, eligible to work in the United States and possess a superior work ethic. To be a registered apprentice, an individual must be employed by a participating employer. The apprentice is required to complete a minimum of 18 months up to 4 years of on-the-job training (depending on the position) and 144 hours or required related instruction per year. For more information visit our website or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565 – 1355.

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Council of Industry Roundtable with President Williams of New York Federal Reserve Bank

On Wednesday, July 10, members of the Council of Industry met with John Williams, the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for a roundtable discussion of issues affecting Hudson Valley Manufacturers. The event was arranged by the Council of Industry and held at MPI, Inc. It was an opportunity for manufacturing leaders to provide insight on issues such as the skills gap, tariffs, trade, and the overall economy are impacting their companies. They also shared steps they have taken along with Council of Industry programs to address these issues.

This event was part of the New York Fed’s tour of the Hudson Valley and Albany in an ongoing effort to assess economic conditions in the Federal Reserve. Williams is one of the key policymakers on the Federal Open Markets Committee that meet eight times a year and attempt to influence the U.S. economy. They review economic and financial conditions, determine the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assess the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Williams is a career economist with a doctorate in economics and was previously president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Williams began the discussion by asking for an open dialogue about each company’s present obstacles and opportunities so he could get a better understanding and perspective of what New York manufacturers, Hudson Valley ones specifically, are facing.  The current labor shortage was a clear issue that was addressed throughout the discussion. The aging workforce the absence of vocational and technical training makes it a struggle to find experienced workers.

Williams asked what was being done to address these issues and several members volunteered examples of how they are working with the Council of Industry to help find solutions through a wide variety of initiatives including the apprentice program, the Collaborative Recruiting Program, working with local schools and colleges, and using training programs provided by grants in association with the Council of Industry and the Community Colleges.

One member shared his experience with the Council of Industry’s apprentice program and how it is helping him maintain and further develop the talent he currently has within his company. He believes that investing in his employees will encourage them to stay and grow with the company after the completion of the program.  Another member described the relationship his company has cultivated with local P-Tech schools and colleges to find young people with an interest in engineering and manufacturing. There was discussion of technical and supervisory training offered by the Council that members have utilized and how it has been affordable for many of our members because of grant funding provided by the state.

Other topics that were discussed included international trade, the new tariffs, and rare earth materials. There were varying opinions on tariffs and trade. While some members spoke positively about the new tariffs and the hope that it would result in more production within the United States and cut down on intellectual property theft. Others had a slightly different point of view and noted that certain industries rely heavily on the global supply chain, which has been negatively impacted by tariffs. Immigration, especially the H1B Visa program was also discussed.

President Williams thanked the group for their input. The roundtable provided insight on the local economy, business expansion, and workforce development programs in addition to the needs and challenges of advanced manufacturers in the Hudson Valley. While the Federal Reserve Bank cannot address all the challenges discussed, they can leverage their convening power, build connections within the District and utilize their research capabilities to provide support wherever possible.

Council of Industry members that took part in the event included: Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.; Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI, Inc.; Elisha Tropper, Principal and CEO, Cambridge Security Seals, Tim Cunningham, VP Manufacturing, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Julian Stauffer, Chief Operating Officer, PTI – Packaging Technologies & Inspection, Steve Pomeroy, Owner/President, Schatz Bearing Corp., Justin Lukach, President, Micromold Products, Inc., Cedric Glasper, President & CEO, Mechanical Rubber, Neal Johnsen, President, Stanfordville Machines, Steven Efron, CEO, Efco Products, John Yelle, Operations Manager, Pratt & Whitney, Devon Luty, President, Dorsey Metrology, and Diana Tomassetti, President, Pietryka Plastics.

Pictured above: Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI Inc.; John Williams, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator, Council of Industry; Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.

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2019 NYS Legislative Session Wrap Up

By Tiffany Latino-Gerlock, Director of Government Relations and Communications at MACNY, The Manufacturers Association & MANY (The Manufacturers Alliance of New York State) 

The 2019 Legislative Session wrapped up in Albany at the end of June with a flurry of activity and hundreds of bills passing before lawmakers adjourned for the summer and headed home to their district offices.

Below is an overview report from The Manufacturers Alliance of New York of some of the new measures that state legislators passed this session that may have an impact on your company and its operations. If you have any questions about these bills, or the overall 2019 Legislative Session, please contact Tiffany Latino-Gerlock, Director of Government Relations and Communications at MACNY, The Manufacturers Association & MANY (The Manufacturers Alliance of New York State) at 315-474-4201 ext. 13 or at tiffanylatinog@macny.org.

New Measures:

Permanent Property Tax Cap – a tax cap that places a limit on the growth of school property taxes at two percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. MANY has long supported and advocated for a permanent property tax cap.

Expansion of the MWBE Program – legislation that reauthorizes the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program and extends the provisions of law relating to the participation of MWBEs in state contracts for the program to continue. The legislation increases the “Personal Net Worth” cap from $3.5 million to $15 million.

Pay Equity in the Workplace – package of bills that expands the definition of “equal pay for equal work” to prohibit unequal pay based on a protected class for all substantially similar work. It also includes a salary history ban prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history when determining the wages of a prospective employee.

Women on Corporate Boards Study – legislation that requires the department of state, in collaboration with the department of taxation and finance, to conduct a study on the number of women directors who serve on each board of directors of domestic and foreign corporations authorized to do business in NYS.

Small Business Tax Credit – legislation to establish a small business tax credit for a company that employs a disabled person for the duration of six months and who works a minimum of thirty-five hours per week. The amount of credit per hired person shall range between five thousand to twenty-five thousand dollars.

Workforce Development Funding – $750,000 secured in the 2019-20 State Budget for the Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP) to continue. MANY and Alliance Partners worked hard from the start of budget negotiations to ensure that this funding was included in the final budget.

Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act – legislation that enacts the CLCPA requiring reductions in statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 60% of 1990 levels by 2030 and 15% of 1990 levels by 2050. It also creates the Climate Action Council that will be comprised of various stakeholders, including Energy-Intensive Trade Exposed Industries (EITEs), to help develop a plan on how the state will achieve an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. From the beginning of this legislative session, MANY and many of our members strongly advocated for changes to the original proposal to help protect manufacturers and for EITES to have a seat at the table during the scoping plan process. Furthermore, EITEs will be a part of the working transition group that will advise the council on issues for workforce development, training, and energy-efficient measures.

Next Year’s Priorities:

Support – Though we didn’t see the full passage of a bill that MANY has long championed for, which would provide a zero percent tax rate for all manufacturers, we are pleased to report that it advanced in the State Senate, unanimously passing the Budget and Revenue Committee.

Support – Continued and increased funding for the Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP) to help grow a larger network of registered apprenticeships at companies throughout the Hudson Valley and statewide.

Oppose – Also not approved this session was a bill that would mandate a prevailing wage on almost all construction projects in NYS that receive any state, regional, or local financial support. Earlier in the year, MANY joined a coalition of business, building, affordable housing, construction, health care, and economic development groups to oppose the bill and voice concern with its potential to halt future economic growth. We will continue to track any movement on this proposal.

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New York Legislature Passes Significant Amendments to the New York Human Rights Law

From Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions, a Council of Industry Associate Member

On June 19, 2019, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed legislation that makes sweeping changes to the New York Human Rights Law. This legislation will have a significant impact on the litigation of discrimination and harassment claims filed with the Division of Human Rights and in court. It is expected that Governor Cuomo will sign the legislation soon. The legislation does not apply retroactively, so only future claims under the Human Rights Law will be affected.

Perhaps most significantly, the legislation broadens the legal definition of “harassment.” Under current law, developed through court decisions, workplace conduct based on a protected characteristic does not constitute actionable harassment unless it is “severe or pervasive.” Under the new legislation, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to subject any individual to harassment based on a protected characteristic “regardless of whether such harassment would be considered severe or pervasive under precedent applied to harassment claims.” The new legislation provides that an employer can assert an affirmative defense that “the harassing conduct does not rise above the level of what a reasonable victim of discrimination with the same protected characteristic would consider petty slights or trivial inconveniences.” By eliminating the “severe or pervasive” standard and expanding the definition of harassment to include any type of conduct based on a protected characteristic that rises above the level of “petty slights or trivial inconveniences,” the legislature has lowered the bar considerably for employees alleging workplace harassment. This expanded definition of “harassment” will take effect 60 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

It is important to emphasize that this expanded definition of “harassment” is not limited only to sexual harassment. It applies to harassment based on all protected characteristics: age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, and domestic violence victim status.

The new legislation also weakens an affirmative defense that employers currently have available to them in defending against harassment claims. Under current law, also developed through court decisions, an employer is generally not liable for hostile work environment harassment if the employer can demonstrate that: (1) it took reasonable care to prevent and correct harassing conduct (e.g., by promulgating an anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure, training employees regarding the policy and procedure, promptly investigating complaints, and taking appropriate corrective action); and (2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of the employer’s preventive or corrective opportunities (e.g., by failing to report alleged harassment pursuant to the employer’s procedure). However, the new legislation specifically states: “The fact that such individual did not make a complaint about the harassment to such employer . . . shall not be determinative of whether such employer . . . shall be liable.” This provision will also take effect 60 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

The new legislation also expands the definition of “employer” under the Human Rights Law by eliminating the requirement that an entity have at least four employees in order to be covered by the law. Under the new legislation, all employers are covered by the law regardless of how many employees they have. This expanded definition of “employer” will take effect 180 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

The new legislation also expands certain prohibitions that were previously applicable only to sexual harassment claims. For example, the new legislation makes it unlawful to insert a non-disclosure provision into a settlement agreement in order to resolve any type of employment discrimination or harassment claim, unless the inclusion of the non-disclosure provision is the complainant’s preference. Mandatory arbitration clauses, which were prohibited last year for sexual harassment claims, will also now be prohibited for all types of employment discrimination and harassment claims. It will also now be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to permit any type of discrimination against non-employees in its workplace (contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or any other individuals providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace) based on any protected characteristic. These new prohibitions will take effect 60 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

The new legislation also increases the potential financial penalties applicable to employment discrimination claims. Under the amendments, a prevailing complainant in an employment discrimination case against a private employer will be eligible to be awarded punitive damages. In addition, under the new legislation, a prevailing party in an employment discrimination case can recover reasonable attorneys’ fees. Although the assessment of attorneys’ fees against an employer that loses an employment discrimination case appears to be automatic, a prevailing employer can only recover attorneys’ fees from a losing complainant if the employer can show that the action or proceeding filed by the complainant was frivolous. These increased financial penalties will take effect 60 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

Finally, for sexual harassment claims only, the new legislation expands the statute of limitations from one year to three years for filing a complaint with the Division of Human Rights. The statute of limitations for filing employment discrimination or harassment claims directly with a court is currently three years, but complainants will also now be able to take advantage of the administrative complaint process for sexual harassment claims for three years after the alleged harassment occurred. This new statute of limitations for filing administrative complaints of sexual harassment will take effect one year after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

The impact of these changes will be profound and will almost certainly lead to an increase in the number of workplace harassment complaints that are filed. It is more important than ever that employers comply with their obligation to conduct training sessions for their employees regarding appropriate workplace conduct at least annually.

If you have not, yet, planned for Workplace Harassment Training, please contact Jane Sterling at 845-471-1200.

 

 

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10 Steps to Improve and Grow Your Business

Part 1 of 2: Gaining Clarity & Checking Team Alignment

By Tony Fareed, 360accel and Bridge Global Capital Group

Growth is Easier Said Than Done

Over the past three decades, I’ve worked within and with a wide variety of companies to drive business performance improvements and growth acceleration. Regardless of the size, stage, or type of organization, the most common challenge remains, “I’m too busy working in the business to work on the business.”

There are those who think their businesses are running perfectly and don’t need to improve or grow. Maybe they’re right, but this type of thinking goes against my guiding principles. For those of us who recognize the importance of change through improvements and growth, success typically boils down to commitment, prioritization, focus, discipline, action, and leadership. It’s always easier said than done.

Relevant Success Story

When it comes to focus and action, one of my favorite clients is a leading niche provider of live event production and network broadcast solutions. They provide end-to-end audio, video and data solutions to broadcasters of high-profile live events, such as the Super Bowl, US Open, Tony Awards, etc.

In 2017, the CEO began exploring ways to incorporate new technologies into their solutions. He identified a tremendous market opportunity, especially around two specific technologies that were emerging in the market. This strategic thinking refreshed his vision of the company in a rapidly evolving marketplace and was the catalyst for making business improvements and accelerating growth throughout 2018 to now.

His leadership forced discipline and action throughout the entire organization. Behind the scenes, my team assisted with the methodical facilitation of our 10-step growth program. The company has benefited from making performance, organizational and operational improvements; developing new high-margin solutions using new technologies; and divesting from a joint venture that provided limited strategic value. Their efforts have already resulted in an increased and diversified customer base and a 20% increase in EBITDA margins.

 A Roadmap to Get Going

If you want to take steps to improve and grow your business, here’s an achievable 10-step express solution. However, you must be willing to commit at least 3 hours a week for 10 weeks and get some of your key team members involved.

Like anything, it will take ongoing commitment to achieve results. It’s best to focus on making incremental progress, and “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Once you cycle through the process, you will likely begin incorporating the steps into your normal business routines.

While it’s ideal to have someone independent to help facilitate the process and hold you accountable, you will be able to achieve meaningful results on your own if you stay disciplined. Just keep focused on making progress, not perfection.

Part 1:

Gaining Clarity & Checking Team Alignment

1. Perform 360º Business Self-Assessment

2. Analyze Your Data

3. Analyze Your Market & Competition

4. Refresh / Validate Vision

5. Check Team Alignment

Part 2:

Exploring Opportunities & Taking Action

6. Explore Business Improvements

7. Explore Growth Opportunities

8. Make Decisions & Recalibrate Strategy

9. Reallocate & Secure New Capabilities

10. Communicate, Take Action & Drive Results!

 

  1. Perform 360º Business Self-Assessment

Self-assessments allow for honest self-reflection. Every time you self-assess, you become more empowered with deeper insights. You can easily build a customized self-assessment questionnaire covering 30 to 50 key business criteria.

Email me and I will send you our basic self-assessment template, which will fast-track getting started. https://360accel.com/contact/

  1. Analyze Your Data

If you already perform periodic reviews of data analytics, you are ahead of the game. You have a treasure trove of data in your operating systems (general ledger, ERP, CRM, etc.) and marketing platforms.  Are you putting your data to work?

List the meaningful data and reports that are readily available. Determine the most relevant 15 to 20 key performance indicators (KPIs) covering financial performance, operations, production, sales, and marketing. Your CPA can likely give you guidance on relevant KPIs.  Also, quick Google searches can provide many additional KPIs.

Consider comparing individual KPIs over time to identify potential trends or anomalies. After you crunch and analyze the numbers, summarize your conclusions for each KPI. Eventually, you can turn your data assets into a competitive advantage and tools for making ongoing strategic decisions.

  1. Analyze Your Market & Competition

You may rely on your team to perform periodic market research. I suggest you also do your own research. Drill down on the competition, market trends, and new emerging technologies and business models that may positively or negatively impact your business. Connect with knowledgeable people within your industry to pick their brains and strengthen your network.

Summarize your conclusions (the good, the bad, and the ugly) on the market and your company’s current and expected future market positioning.

  1. Refresh / Validate Vision

After thinking through your conclusions from steps 1 – 3 above, ask yourself whether you’re on the right track. Restate the company’s vision, which will force you to either refresh or validate your broader view of the business. It will also present you with a refined focus on direction.

  1. Check Team Alignment

Now that you have more clarity, it’s time to bring in your inner circle. Select a small group of individuals from your team who you rely on, trust, respect, and who will challenge you. Ask each of them to independently complete the self-assessment questionnaire.

Get the group together to discuss the results of the self-assessments with a goal to align on areas of misalignment. Share your views on vision and conclusions on the KPI and market analyses. This should spark valuable discussions and diverse perspectives. It’s imperative to listen, stay open-minded, digest feedback, and keep all discussions collaborative. Ultimately, you will need your entire team fully aligned to successfully improve and grow. This inner circle is a great place to start.

Stay tuned for “Part 2: Exploring Opportunities & Taking Action.”

 

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Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center Receives Grant from Rowley Family Foundation

Johnnieanne Hansen with the Rowley Family accepting a grant from the Rowley Family Foundation to help HVMWC encourage women and girls to pursue careers in manufacturing.

 

The Rowley Family Foundation’s new Fund for Women and Children awarded grants to 15 organizations in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties including The Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center, Inc. The awards, totaling $516,791, all had a common goal of supporting innovative programs geared towards empowering women and children.

The Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center, Inc. received $16,000 to create videos targeting the young women of the tri-county region, that can be used on GoMakeIt.org., in classroom presentations and on social media. These videos will spotlight women in manufacturing at all levels from apprentices to engineers and showcase the many opportunities for success available throughout the region. They will encourage young women to visualize themselves in rewarding careers allowing them to earn a living wage, raise their families and thrive in the Hudson Valley. Videos and programs like www.gomakeit.org help connect women with local jobs, encourage them to enroll in apprenticeships and assist them in taking the first step towards a fulfilling career.

“This grant will go a long way in helping increase the visibility of the career opportunities available in manufacturing right now and hopefully encourage more women to consider this as an option. From middle school girls learning to code or design on computers, to women re-entering the workforce and those interested in a STEM career, manufacturing is an excellent path to pursue,” explains Johnnieanne Hansen, Executive Director, Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center, Inc.

The newly created Fund for Women and Children is a unique philanthropic effort designed to identify and address pressing issues impacting some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Through targeted and specific funding, the goal of this initiative is for nonprofits in the region to elevate their programming to empower the women and children of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. Grants were awarded in sums ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. The other recipients: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, $23,268, Children’s Rights Society, Inc., $46,364, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, $15,000, Newburgh Free Library, $25,000; Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, $50,000; Regional Economic Community Action Program, $40,610; Sullivan County Community College, $35,000; Sullivan 180, Inc., $17,000; Center for Creative Education, $50,000; Ellenville Regional Hospital, $49,063; Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc., $30,000; St. Luke’s Cornwall Health System Foundation, Inc., $50,000; Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster, $44,236; and Braeside Camp, $25,250.

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