Your Chamber at Work - July 27, 2020


With the start of a new school year fast approaching, educators are grappling with how to safely restart classes. (As one private school head recently said, “How do I navigate this? What if my decision results in the death of a teacher? Or a student?”)

On Thursday, July 30, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Chamber will hold a virtual event with Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Randy Watson and Missouri Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven. They’ll outline their respective state’s return to school plans, what education will look like as we head into the 2020-2021 school year, and their plans for education beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. To register, click here.

The region set records for new COVID-19 infections last week, though yesterday’s numbers were considerably lower. (Let’s hope that trend holds!) But in a Chamber call with our Congressional staffers in Washington last week, KCMO Health Director Dr. Rex Archer warned that, if the spike in coronavirus cases continues, he wouldn’t be surprised if KC area hospitals ran out of ICU beds in the next two to three weeks.


There is still time to register for our first ever virtual POWER of Diversity event, this Wednesday, July 29 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.  Register now. Be ready to listen, learn, and be inspired as we honor our ACE Award and Supplier Diversity ACE Award recipients – people advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their daily mission. But that’s not all. We're honored to welcome Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II as this year’s keynote speaker. After his remarks, our listening series on understanding the Black experience in Greater KC culminates with a special panel moderated by Nicole Jacobs Silvey, focusing on where we go from here to create equitable change in KC. Our Presenting Sponsors for this event are CommunityAmerica Credit Union, Evergy, Hallmark, and Sprint.


The Small Business Celebration is going online this year, in a time when supporting small businesses is more important than ever. Our candidates will have 1-minute to virtually pitch their business to the judges, then spend a few minutes answering questions “Shark Tank" style. Sign up now to watch all of the candidates over two days: Wednesday, August 19 and Thursday, August 20. Just because the showcase won’t be in person doesn’t mean you can’t network and show your support for KC’s great small businesses as they begin the journey to be named 2020 Small Business of the Year. American Century Investments is the Presenting Sponsor for the 2020 Small Business Celebration Candidates’ Showcase.


COVID-19 has put KC’s digital divide back in the spotlight. As students prepare for distance learning and more and more of our workforce works from home, underserved parts of our community don’t have the connectivity to be successful at either during the pandemic. There are ways you can help. First, PCs for People and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City are encouraging employer electronics donations to help schools and non-profit agencies. If your company has extra devices sitting around that are in good shape and currently not needed, consider donating them to help bridge the digital divide. Visit the Employer Laptop Challenge page  for instructions on the donation process. Second, the City of Kansas City is in the process of developing a Request for Proposals for Digital Equity, and needs assistance drafting the RFQ to make sure the document is inclusive and can lead to success. Click here to access the draft. Public comments and content suggestions are open through July 31.