Your Chamber at Work - March 9, 2020


Mental health in the workplace – that’s what we focused on at last week’s Healthy KC Breakfast & Vendor Expo, releasing the results of the member mental health assessment we conducted late last year. We had great attendance and the information shared was insightful for KC businesses.

One in five people will suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety or depression at some point during their lifetime. The result: physical illnesses and high levels of disability, with a high cost to families, business, and the community.

Investing in employees’ mental health provides a definite return on investment, with a return on investment anywhere from two to one to 10 to one when companies take action in addressing the mental health of their employees, according to a survey by Deloitte.

According to our survey, nearly 75 percent of employers do offer some kind of education and training on issues that affect mental health, including stress management, mindfulness, and work-life balance, but most of those services are passively delivered, through Employee Assistance programs or employee access to resources and information.

But our assessment also showed that the vast majority of managers haven’t had the training they need to either deploy those resources or to recognize where mental health support may be needed. The Deloitte study found that training managers in those areas helps, resulting in lower absences.

Employers can make a difference. There’s still time to fill out the assessment – just click here.


Medicaid Expansion: Last month, KC Chamber staff testified in front of the Kansas Senate Health Committee to urge the committee to pass the Kelly-Denning Medicaid Expansion compromise plan. Despite inaction from the committee, the KC Chamber continues to advocate for Medicaid Expansion in Kansas and urges the legislature to act on expansion in order to close the coverage gap for thousands of Kansans, drive down health care costs for employers, and boost Kansas’ economy. Follow this link to see the economic impact on each county in Kansas and follow this link to find your legislator to let them know you support Medicaid Expansion.

Workforce Development: This issue remains a top priority for the KC Chamber in both state legislatures. In both states, the KC Chamber has supported expanded and streamlined professional and occupational licensing reciprocity for service members and spouses of service members, and for individuals relocating to Kansas or Missouri, respectively. The KC Chamber has also supported bills related to the Chamber’s new Workforce Opportunities for Returning Citizens Initiative which looks at employing justice-involved individuals. The bills are related to helping individuals gain identification upon release from jail or prison, streamlining the process for reinstating a driver’s license, and modifying provisions related to suspension of occupational and/or driver’s licenses. The KC Chamber will continue to advocate for policies that expand access for individuals to gain meaningful work and to fill the talent pipeline with qualified workers.

Tort Reform: The KC Chamber continues to advocate for tort reform in the Missouri General Assembly and is pleased to see the Missouri Senate pass reforms on punitive damages. After a nearly 21 hour-long filibuster in the Senate, a bill was passed that provides that damages only shall be awarded if a plaintiff proves that a defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause and acted with a deliberate disregard for the safety of others. The legislation also includes changes to the state’s merchandising practices act. With Missouri ranking 44 out 50 states in its legal climate, the KC Chamber will continue to advocate for tort reforms in Missouri that make the state friendly to business and signal Missouri as, “Open for business,” to the rest of the country.


Join the KC Chamber’s World Trade Center Kansas City, Wednesday, March 11 for The Emerging Impacts of the Coronavirus, as we discuss the economic and societal impact of the outbreak. Panelists include Kansas City Missouri Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer, Rockhurst University Professor of Economics Mike Stellern, and Andrew Azan, Vice President of AON. They’ll share perspectives from the fields of public health and business and risk management. This event will take place 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. in the KC Chamber Board Room, located in the southeast corner of the first floor of historic Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd. Register here. Breakfast will be provided. Cost is $10 for Chamber members and $15 for non-members.


You’ll want to join us for the nation’s best small business celebration and the Candidates’ Showcase on Thursday, March 19 from 5-7 p.m. This is the first event of our annual celebration, as KC’s small businesses strive to be named 2020 Small Business of the Year. All candidates will receive a table in Union Station’s Grand Hall to showcase their products, services and company culture. This is a great way to network, look at fellow applicants, and get your small business in front of the public. Attendees who register before 5 p.m. on March 12 will receive a complimentary drink ticket.  Free parking will be available in the West Yards Garage behind Union Station. Thank you to our 2020 Small Business Programming Sponsors Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and Evergy, our CEO Level Sponsor Honeywell, and our Candidates’ Showcase Presenting Sponsor American Century Investments.


The World Trade Center Kansas City is partnering with the Princeton Trade Study (PTS) to survey Greater Kansas City businesses about their experience with the U.S.-China trade war. Please take this short 10-minute survey about the impact of the trade war on your business. All responses to the survey are confidential and will be used solely for the purposes of academic research. We’ll present the collective findings during WTCKC’s signature Go Global KC event on June 2. In exchange for taking the survey, PTS will send you survey results along with a customized report of the effect of rising tariff rates on your industry.


Join us for our next Neighborhood Networking event Friday, March 27 at LaunchCode’s Kansas City location, 1200 Main St. LaunchCode specializes in creating career pathways for people looking to work in technology. LaunchCode was founded in 2013 when St. Louis native Jim McKelvey couldn’t launch his new company, Square, in St. Louis because of a lack of skilled workers. He moved Square to California but founded LaunchCode to create a tech-skilled workforce in Missouri. Learn more about LaunchCode and connect with your fellow Chamber members over great coffee and even better networking. Register here. This event is free for Chamber members and just $15 for non-members.