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Four days to Cleveland premier’s political event: RSVP now
to lock in the advance-purchase discount

Cleveland’s premier political event—the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s 51st annual Public Officials Reception—is only four days away on Friday, November 21! This can’t-miss event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Windows on the River in the historic FirstEnergy Powerhouse, 2000 Sycamore Street in the Flats.

Online registration closes Wednesday at 5 p.m.

If you’re planning to attend and haven’t purchased your ticket(s), don’t wait! Online registration will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 19. Take advantage of the advance-purchase discount and save $25 per ticket off the cost of registering at the door.

The Public Officials Reception is your opportunity to interact with decision makers on policy issues of importance to you, your company and the region. We hope to see you there!

Click to purchase your ticket(s).

Thanks to our sponsors:

New strategy announced to accelerate regional job growth, boost competitiveness

Last week, Northeast Ohio's business and philanthropy leaders who comprise the Regional Competitiveness Council (RCC) announced a new economic development strategy aimed at accelerating the pace of job growth and increasing the competitiveness of the region.

According to a press release announcing the new strategy, (it) is “designed to enable the region to compete globally and adapt rapidly to changes in the economy.” The new strategy’s focus will include an increasing emphasis on business retention and expansion.

“This approach is broadly supported by us and our Northeast Ohio chamber partners,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Joe Roman. “A ramped-up and proactive retention and expansion program will be led by the chambers to make sure that the most promising local companies are matched with the many innovation assets in the region's universities, intermediaries and industry sectors.”

The RCC strategy also includes:
  • Making larger commitments to fewer industry clusters – evaluating biomedical and one or two others that will be identified.

  • Continuing and enhancing support to start-up entrepreneurship and extend innovation and business assistance services to "scale-ups" – established companies with significant growth potential.

  • Addressing pressing workforce issues by connecting job provider networks with growing industries to align development around specific employer needs.
Under the proposal, the functions of both Team NEO and NorTech, along with new functions such as workforce integration, retention/expansion support and strategy coordination, are being folded into the new organization, which is expected to be launched by year-end and initially adopt the Team NEO name until more thorough branding work can be done. The boards of both Team NEO and NorTech have voted to approve the plan.

Business leaders intend for the organization to follow JobsOhio's example of developing, designing, and creating economic development strategies to attract jobs and investment to Northeast Ohio.

The region's corporate, chamber of commerce and foundation leadership created the RCC in 2013 to set goals and identify actions to strengthen the region's economy. The council based its conclusions on findings that indicate Northeast Ohio continues to underperform the rest of the country on three key metrics of economic development – job creation, gross regional product and per capita income.

Resources focused on middle-market growth deliver results

The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), the strategic partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Initiative, is widely known as the foremost expert and leading resource on the U.S. middle-market economy.

A collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and GE Capital, the Center set specific goals for its third year of operation, which are detailed in its 2014 Annual Report:
  • Growing mid-sized businesses

  • Providing a mid-market voice to policymakers

  • Being a source for middle market expertise for the media

  • Enabling rigorous middle market study for academics.
The Center reports that it progressed toward each of these goals through several key initiatives including initiating the first comprehensive study of Ohio’s middle market and sharpening the research focus on key middle-market issues: talent, strategy and innovation, operational excellence, governance/finance, and policy/economy

“Our participation with the Center’s study of Ohio’s middle-market companies provided us with the opportunity to make sure that Northeast Ohio businesses were well-represented in the research sample,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Joe Roman. “We’re pleased to support this important work and look forward to strengthening our relationship with the Center to help us better serve this important segment of our economy.”

The Center’s research focus on key middle-market issues will help inform GCP’s approach to providing programming that addresses the interests and challenges of middle-market companies, said Bernie Moreno, president of The Collection Auto Group and chair of GCP’s Middle-Market Committee.

“Our goal is to provide resources and information to help create and sustain long-term success for Northeast Ohio's middle-market companies,” said Moreno. “The Center’s research provides timely data that we can use to shape our middle-market agenda for 2015 including plans for our signature middle-market event to be held on May 8th.”

Click to read or download the NCMM 2014 Annual Report.

Middle-market perspectives: Affordable Care Act regulations and your company

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significant implications for businesses, particularly when it comes to hiring practices.

Since many middle-market companies are likely to have more than 50 full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees (defined as working an average of 30 or more hours per week for more than 120 days in a year) and will have to meet mandated health care coverage requirements in order to avoid a penalty, it's imperative that these businesses know the ins and outs of the regulations.

Erik Sherman, a National Center for the Middle Market contributor and author, recommends that middle-market executives be aware of:
  • ACA deadlines and changes: Growing midmarket companies should be on top of their employee headcount and know who they need to cover.

  • Does your coverage meet the requirements? Coverage must reach a 60 percent minimum value requirement (meaning a health plan should be set up to pay at least 60 percent of the total cost of medical services for a standard population). In addition, to be considered affordable, employees’ contributions cannot exceed 9.5 percent of their household income.

  • Calculating future costs and potential risks. When hiring personnel, companies should understand the long-term financial implications.

Click to read more.