Dear Chamber Supporter:
 
This has been a little bit different week for me. First, I had a great Father’s Day weekend…here are a few pictures. Cherry and I had Royals tickets Friday night…saw a win and great fireworks on a beautiful evening. Sunday, the Florys and our son Todd came and barbequed…the picture is of me after lunch watching a Royals game with Patton John asleep on me! What a great way to spend an afternoon!
 
National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB):
 
I’ve been in Washington D.C. most of this week at the National Workforce Development Board (NAWB) Forum. Since my appointment to the Kansas District 2 Workforce Board (Heartland Works) in 2012, I’ve attended this conference several times over the years. Workforce Boards in all states oversee the distribution of Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds. The purpose of the funds is to connect workforce with manufacturing and industry by making sure this local workforce receives training for the skills needed in an area. Our District 2 office is in Topeka, but we have workforce centers in Topeka, Manhattan and Lawrence…along with a statewide mobile unit which comes to Ottawa on occasion.    
 
Usually there are about 1,000 in attendance at the NAWB Forum…last year canceled, this year 400 in person – but over 300 virtually. It feels good to be in person with other people…but not everyone, or every state as I’m finding out, is in the same place with the pandemic as Kansas. The comfort level of the people attending is good…there are a few masks, but not many. D.C., like Kansas is on the honor system with mask wearing…if vaccinated then no mask required. It’s always good to get firsthand information from national speakers and individuals on the ground in other states…networking has been one of the biggest things absent in the last 18-months. What we’re hearing from people who work in the Capitol every day is, for all their posturing about reaction and recovery, up until now, Congress has only been reacting…only now are they beginning to focus on recovery. 
 
Here are just a few noteworthy tidbits I jotted from the workshop, Reimagining Business and Community Outreach in a Post-COVID Landscape:
  • The Department of Labor is warning workforce boards nationwide to be prepared for the post-COVID employment surge to hit post-summer…about September. Coincidently this is when the stimulus money runs out.
  • The Federal Reserve hasn’t raised interest rates yet because they aren’t sure where the bottom of the economy is…there will be a significant number of people who, because of the pandemic, will retire early or choose not to go back to work. Many are already saying if they do not retain the right to work from home, they will look for another job. Many women are deciding to remain home with their families. The Feds aren’t sure just exactly what the workforce is going forward. This could major influences in initiate/speeding the beginning of the 4th Industrial Revolution…where technology replaces human workforce with automation (look it up on the internet…it’s a thing). 
  • Here’s a good one…currently there are 300 million participants daily on Zoom meetings. Pre-pandemic that number was 10 million daily.
 
I don’t know what you do with the above information, but it’s interesting…I’ll have a few more insignificant observations at the end. Now a few things from Sherri and Ryland who have been holding down the fort in Ottawa!!
 
Ribbon Cutting for Foot Pain Center of Kansas City:
 
Ryland – “We had a great turn-out for the Chamber Ribbon Cutting this morning for the Foot Pain Center of Kansas City at the corner of 3rd and Main Street in downtown Ottawa (pictures here). Dr. Jacob Goldstein was able to share the history of their building, the services he and his staff offer and how he plans to give back to the Ottawa community moving forward. He mentioned he is hoping to start a new program coined “Walk with a Doc”, where different local doctors take turns teaching the community about different topics while taking a walk through Kanza Park…another program this fall is called “Sock-tober”, a sock drive for those in need in the month of October. It is fantastic to see small businesses move into Ottawa and have the desire to make a difference outside their own services…thank you Dr. Goldstein for choosing Ottawa!”
 
Sherri – “Speaking from my personal experience, Dr “G” provides great services for your feet and ankles. My husband Dan and I are grateful for the services that he has provided for us both. Not only does he provide great care, he and his staff are very community-oriented and are very supportive of local businesses. We’re excited to have Dr. “G” and his staff in Ottawa. If you’re in need of services for your feet & ankles or need custom orthotics and or shoes, visit the Foot Pain Center of Kansas City at 302 S Main Street. You’ll be glad you did.”
 
Optimist Jr Golf Program:
 
Ryland – “Last week the community gathered around Rotary as this civic organization reached an anniversary milestone. This week we are highlighting another civic organization, the Optimists, as they reach the end of their annual Jr Golf Program. 42 kids throughout Franklin County gathered every Monday through Thursday morning for the past four weeks to improve their golf game and keep active. The Optimists conclude this program each year with a final tournament and lunch for the participants and their families (pictures here). It was great to see all of these kids and adults congregate at the Great Life, moments like these are something COVID took from us in 2020. We definitely do not take any gatherings for granted anymore!
 
I also want to note that our local Subway and Walmart donated the meal for the large group and prizes for the tournament respectively… big shoutout to these two companies for being community supporters and to the Optimists for providing quality of life programming for Ottawa and Franklin County, thanks for all you do!”
 
Travel with the Chamber:
 
Sherri – “Traveling with the Chamber of Ottawa is an experience of a lifetime. I had the privilege of having lunch on two different days this week with four different travelers that have traveled with us multiple times. Not only is it fun to visit international cities, the friendships, and relationships you build are amazing.
 
So, speaking of traveling internationally, is France or Ireland on your bucket list? It’s not too late to sign up for either or both. However, the deadline of July 16th to sign up for France is quickly approaching. You have until August 3rd to sign up for Ireland. Both brochures are available by clicking here. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have regarding either trip.
 
So many people are ready to get out and travel again. It’s so exciting to see places opening and having the ability to visit and experience different cultures. I’m currently working on our trip for 2022. To give you a hint of where we will be traveling to, there will be a lot of camels and pyramids to see. And part of the trip we will be cruising on the Nile. Stay tuned for more information regarding the 2022 trip that will be available soon.
 
Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call me at 785-242-1000.”
 
Chef Jeff:
 
One advantage of attending a national conference is you hear some amazing speakers. Chef Jeff (pictures here) was the keynote speaker at NAWB this year. Jeff Henderson is an American chef, bestselling author and a fantastic speaker…he is also a felon who served a decade in prison for cocaine distribution. He readily admits prison took him off the streets and saved his life…and since, he has done amazing things with the life given to him. He has several television cooking shows, was the first African-American Chef de Cuisine at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and also written the book, Cooked: My journey from the Streets to the Stove. 
 
He addressed the workforce boards because of his work with his non-profit the Chef Jeff Project which is a pre-vocation program for impoverished youth. If they complete the program, they are eligible for the Food Network Scholarship to culinary school…but in the course of training he works with them to install a value system and help them understand their morals matter. His point to the Forum…former prisoners and youth are an untapped labor resource…that money spent on training, education and youth programs is an investment far greater than an investment in prisons and maintaining prisoners. In my mind it’s a point well made!!
 
Just a Few More (Useless) Facts:
 
Of the entire world population, 52% is online…and of that 42% of the world is on social media:
  • 31% of the world in so Facebook
  • 25% of the world is on YouTube
  • 18% of the world is on Tik Tok
  • 13% of the world is on Instagram
  • 4% of the world is on Twitter
Here are the numbers generationally:
  • 90% Millennials are on social media
  •  77.5% of Gen Xers are on social media
  • 48% of the Boomers are on social media
 
As I said before…I don’t know what you do with the information. It’s mostly for your erudition. I will conclude, in my mind, it indicates 42% of the world gets their news from gossip sources…for what it’s worth. Talk to you next week back at home…
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000