BizVoice Web Site Gets a Fresh Coat of Paint

Sometimes, as the ’80s band, Motley Crue, said: “it’s time for change”. Whether out of necessity or desire, there comes a moment where you need to shed the old wardrobe, your clunker car or your outdated web site.

For BizVoice®, the time for a new look to the magazine’s web site is now. If you haven’t visited www.bizvoicemagazine.com lately, you will find that it’s quite a bit different from what you’re used to seeing.

BizVoice, the Indiana Chamber’s premier publication, needed a premier site. It needed to be more interactive and responsive on all mobile devices. The content you’re familiar with is still there and we’re adding new materials for the reader, in addition to what you get in the print version. From time to time we’ll offer exclusive content on the site, so please check back regularly.

We hope you notice a few things right away; first is big, bold colors and images! We want your trip to the site to be an experience. Take your time and dive into the current issue – we will highlight some of the feature content and cover stories on the main page, but the full issue will take you on a broader journey.

Also, down the road we want to continue to add videos – either expanding on stories or highlighting additional content that can’t be found in print.

You can also still explore our archives dating back to 2003. We’ve told thousands of stories in our nearly 20 years of publication and hope you’ve enjoyed reading and will continue to check us out. Share BizVoice with your friend and colleagues – there’s something for everyone.

BizVoice Earns Four Awards in State Competition

We don’t do our jobs just to be given a pat on the back, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a little recognition for hard work. The Indiana Chamber’s communications team recently earned accolades, in the form of four awards for work completed in 2017, from the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists.

The staff of the Indiana Chamber’s bimonthly business magazine, BizVoice®, brought home three second-place awards and a third-place award in the annual statewide competition, highlighting the best and brightest of Indiana journalism.

Stories and writers earning awards include:

Congratulations to Tom, Rebecca, Symone, Charlee and Matt, along with BizVoice Creative Director Tony Spataro and all of our other contributors to the Indiana Chamber’s award-winning magazine, which is in its 20th year of publication.

We’re also launching a new look to the BizVoice web site this Thursday evening with the debut of our May-June 2018 edition, following the conclusion of the Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration event. Make sure you check out the great content and our new web site later this week!

It Was a Very Good Year

Out with the old and in with the new?

Not at the Indiana Chamber, where each year brings a mix of familiar membership offerings and additional opportunities to maximize your investment. All businesses – and their needs – are different. That’s why you can choose from a multitude of resources and benefits.

Revisit 2017 with a brief (though not comprehensive) recap of highlights:

  • Legislative advocacy: The Chamber’s policy work in 2017 yielded a return on investment of $1.575 billion for Hoosier businesses (or $587 per employee). Among many legislative victories were a long-term road funding plan, expanding the state’s pre-kindergarten program, and several technology and innovation advances.
  • Preparing for 2018: The second annual Indiana Technology & Innovation Policy Summit on December 1 set the stage for the upcoming General Assembly
  •  session. Discussions centered on enhancing the state’s tax and business climate, software-as-a-service, certified technology parks, expanding investment capital, autonomous vehicles and data centers.
  • Indiana Vision 2025: The Chamber’s long-range economic development plan includes a biannual Report Card comparing the 50 states in 62 metrics related to 36 goals (grouped by four drivers: Outstanding Talent, Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure, and Dynamic and Creative Culture). The Chamber conducted 11 statewide regional forums – expanding the conversations to even more areas than in the past – to discuss the results, obtain local analysis and share best practices.

Business Education and Events: Did you take advantage of the 50-plus training opportunities or variety of regulatory compliance guides? Many members turn to these resources to ensure their staff is trained and protect their business from non-compliance fines!

Ann Compton

Annual gatherings collectively draw thousands. Among them were the Safety and Health Conference and Expo (the largest event of its kind in the state), Human Resources Conference and Expo and Legislative Dinner (former ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton shared personal stories and an optimistic perspective about our country’s future).

An extraordinary 100 workplaces celebrated their success at the 2017 Best Places to Work in Indiana Awards Dinner. Mark your calendar for the 13th annual event on May 3, 2018!

NFL legend Peyton Manning entertained 2,000-plus attendees at the Chamber’s 28th Annual Awards Dinner on November 7. Register today for the 29th Annual Awards Dinner on November 13.

Stretch

Affiliate programs: The Wellness Council of Indiana recognized 19 organizations with AchieveWell designations (part of a comprehensive assessment and evaluation) and continued to grow its Indiana Healthy Community Initiative.

Indiana INTERNnet, a free high-tech and high-touch internship matching service, filled 909 internships (up from 726 last year!) and broadened its focus with a pilot program aimed at high school students. The annual IMPACT Awards luncheon, which recognizes internship excellence, drew a record number of nominations for its February 2018 celebration.

Indiana Chamber web site

Inside the Chamber: Our new web site is more streamlined and user friendly. In addition, the site is responsive – you can access on your tablet or smart phone any page or post you can view on your desktop. Another highlight is the Member Benefits page, now organized in four key areas: advocacy, compliance and information, savings and visibility.

The EchoChamber podcast features informal discussions with Indiana leaders in business, education, technology, politics and much more. Most recently, Blair Milo, Indiana’s first Secretary of Career Connections and Talent, discusses state efforts to meet employer needs. Stay tuned for what’s coming and check out the archives.

Wrap up the year by celebrating Indiana’s manufacturing legacy in the January-February issue of BizVoice® magazine. We’ll feature companies and stories from across the state as we explore “Manufacturing: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” It will be available online and in the mail the last week of December.

Chamber Unveils New Web Site

Our new Indiana Chamber web site is here! It’s been months in the making and we hope that you agree that it’s an improved platform.

The new site is more streamlined and user-friendly, yet still showcases all that we do – from events and products to public policy efforts to the benefits exclusively for our member companies and much more!

The new site is also responsive and should allow for a full Indiana Chamber experience on all mobile devices.

One aspect that should help desktop visitors easily locate items is our drop-down menu, which shows all the main pages for the site with one click. 

Also, we added a bottom menu (for desktop and mobile) that makes things quicker to find.

We would love to hear your feedback about the new site, so leave a comment below or hit us up on social media on Twitter or Facebook.

Minnesota’s New Site Helps Students Make College Pay

minnPeople in powerful positions often have access to the best information.

Minnesota high school students now have the ability to expand their power base. When they are agonizing over technical school and college choices, they can now look at marketplace data that show which academic programs have high placement rates and what recent graduates are being paid.

For the first time in its history, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is making this information available to the public on its website.

The data reveal a pattern of underemployment among recent graduates. For the Class of 2011, among those completing programs ranging from certificates to graduate degrees, by their second year out of school, only 42 percent had full-time jobs that they kept for a whole year.

But the most intriguing statistics are the wage breakouts among academic programs. Here are some of the highlights for the Class of 2011 two years after completing their education:

  • Among students who earned bachelor’s degrees in marketing, 52 percent had full-time jobs and 31 percent were working part-time. The median annual salary for full-time employees was $35,373.
  • Among bachelor’s graduates with general business degrees, the median annual wages for full-time employees were $57,227. In this major, 59 percent were employed full-time and 21 percent were working part-time.
  • Those with special education and teaching degrees at the bachelor’s level had annual median earnings of $35,312.
  • Technical education translated into good-sized paychecks for people who completed certificate programs or associate degrees. For example:
  • Annual median earnings were $44,196 for full-time workers who obtained associate degrees in electromechanical instruments and maintenance technology. In this program area, 60 percent held full-time jobs in their second year out of school.
  • Plumbing program graduates also saw high job placement. Among students who completed certificate programs for plumbing, the annual median earnings for full-time workers were $41,229. Forty-five percent were working full time and 42 percent were employed part time in the second year out of school.

The Minnesota Legislature passed a bill requiring DEED to take the wage and employment data that the state receives from employers and present it to state residents in a format that’s easy to use. Called the “graduate employment outcomes tool,” people can use drop-down menus on the DEED website to look up wage and placement data by academic program.

Check out the site.

Members Only: Got News to Share?

In an average week, several thousand unique visitors find their way to the Indiana Chamber web site. They are Chamber members and customers, as well as business represenatives from around the country and various parts of the world.

In an average week, I and my communications colleagues receive numerous press releases. We are, after all, also in the magazine business with BizVoice. Some releases spark future story ideas or provide expert resources. We simply don’t have the room in BizVoice, however, to publish all the information we receive.

But, in the latest of several new member benefits introduced this year, member companies can submit their press releases to the Chamber web site where they will be posted for 90 days. Fill out a simple form and attach your release. We’ll verify your company is a member and that the content is valid — and your message will be available to those thousands of web site visitors.

It’s part of our Member Spotlight for those nearly 5,000 companies that invest in the Chamber. Check it out and share your news.

Spotlight Shines on Member Companies

In today’s economic times, just about every company could benefit from increased visibility — exposure to nearly 5,000 other Chamber members and thousands of web site visitors weekly. How about your organization?

The Chamber’s Member Spotlight features 10 company profiles every two weeks, with a different one "in the spotlight" each day. Organizations tell their own story, offering unique facts/history and details on products/services that others can utilize.

If you are an Indiana Chamber member, submit your information today.  If you are not a member, what are you waiting for? The benefits are aplenty.

Change Comes to Whitehouse.gov

You might be interested to check out the changes made to www.whitehouse.gov this week when President Obama formally took office. The site looks pretty sharp and please note the blog on the home page. Likely useful for those hoping to keep tabs on the new administration.

Also notice the site features a contact form if you have a respectful critique of an Obama policy, or maybe even of his fist bump technique. I’ve already offered an inquiry regarding an issue dear to me, but have yet to hear back. And no, sorry, it wasn’t pertaining to an official national pie.

Scam Alert: USLBA Wants YOUR Money

Investments in chambers of commerce and other legitimate business organizations are beneficial at all times. We at the Indiana Chamber, and many of our colleagues, are passionate about what we do. That’s why we take it somewhat personally when others try to use the “association” name to illicitly extract your hard-earned money.

Here’s the latest: A letter from the U.S. Local Business Association informing your company that you have won a Best of (insert local community) award. It instructs you to simply fill out the order form to receive your plaque. At the end, you learn that this plaque will cost anywhere from $100 to $700, according to various reports.

The problems, cited by various Better Business Bureau chapters and others:

  • There is no way to contact the company other than e-mail
  • Web site domain registration for the organization has been completed privately
  • You must provide and submit information about your company before finding out the cost of the award plaque
  • Before you agree to accept the award, the organization already has a press release on its web site stating that you are a recipient

The “vanity scam” label comes from the fact that you might (I repeat might) actually get an overpriced plaque you can hang on the wall and look at. It means absolutely nothing, however, and, in fact, will probably be a detriment as customers or clients will at some point realize that you have been a victim, not a victor.

At least one Indiana company reports receiving this solicitation (example here). To all, be forewarned.

IndianaChamber.com has New Look

The Indiana Chamber has just gone live with our new web site, which features a sharper look, greater usability, and all-around cleaner appearance. And it tingles — tells me it’s doing more (that’s for all you Denorex fans out there).

Some highlights include:

• An updated store with more categories to search by. This will be much more convenient for our customers who purchase our publications and attend our conferences. By having more categories in our store section, potential customers can come to the site with a vague idea of what topic they are searching for and likely find the perfect publication or product on the site.

• A more consolidated, cleaner Business Research Center page featuring tools and publications to help Indiana’s businesses find the information they’re looking for

• A new media center featuring our many employment-related reports and studies, along with press releases and other information to keep media or the general public up to date on the current business climate in Indiana

• An overall improved design that is much easier on the reader’s eye and is more intuitive

• A search function and menu that allows users to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily throughout the site

The Chamber welcomes you to visit our web site often, as we now feature upcoming events on our home page as well as a link to our blog, which has been read and sourced by some of the top pundits in Indiana. Additionally, if you’re not a Chamber member, be sure to visit our Member Benefits page to discover how joining could actually help your bottom line to join.