It’s been a rebuilding year for business and politics as we rebounded from the pandemic. No doubt we were met with adversity, but we also saw many triumphs within the business community. As 2021 comes to an end, I want to reflect on the year’s impact on the Greater Phoenix community, businesses, and this Chamber.
Although businesses continue to emerge stronger, the Chamber saw some significant legislative wins to support business growth and recovery from the effects of the pandemic. The Chamber formally supported 130 business-friendly bills. Of the 130 bills we supported, the Governor signed 54 into law. The Greater Phoenix Chamber was instrumental in the passing of SB1377, which protects businesses and organizations from undue litigation as a result of the pandemic. In 2022, we will continue to advocate for you. I invite you to review the Chamber’s Public Affairs guiding principles for the upcoming session in the newly released 2022 Public Policy Guide.
In Spring 2021, the Chamber launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Employer Program with the assistance of some of our state’s top experts. This program supports Chamber members and the community at large in implementing and expanding diversity and inclusion efforts for Phoenix businesses. In addition to utilizing the toolkit, I invite employers to also participate in the program’s quarterly webinars and discussion forums.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation doubled down on its mission to develop a stronger workforce by providing enhanced opportunities for students, teachers, and employers. ElevateEdAZ has impacted nearly 20,000 students and connected 70+ businesses and educators through educator externships, networking events, interest and aptitude assessments, work-based learning, and career preparation opportunities. This year the Foundation added two new workforce initiatives, information technology and advanced manufacturing. The Foundation’s skilled trades initiative, Build Your Future Arizona, has helped 1,000+ Arizonans apply for a job in the skilled trades industry. Wellness AtoZ expanded its reach to help keep our community healthy and active during the pandemic with 128 employers, 11 informative webinars, and over 400,000 people reached. I am inspired by the life changing work we’re implementing within the Foundation and can see the difference it’s making in many lives. See the results for yourself, view our 2021 Foundation Annual Report!
Looking Ahead to 2022
Heading into the new year, the Greater Phoenix Chamber will continue to move our community forward, provide critical support for existing businesses, and advocate for pro-business, pro-recovery policies at the federal, state, and local levels.
The Chamber is looking forward to starting the new year by opening our new office doors in early 2022. As we adjust to our evolving workplace demands and prioritize our members’ needs, the Chamber is excited to move our office space to the Camelback Esplanade building in the Biltmore area of Phoenix. Once we get settled, we look forward to opening our doors and hosting all of you to see the new space.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber and Foundation have also been diligently working to develop a 3-year strategic plan, which will guide our day-to-day operations and influence the way we serve the needs of Arizona’s community–oriented businesses, resulting in a thriving, well-educated, diverse region.
I hope to see you in January at our annual Legislative Kick-Off event to provide insights into the upcoming legislative session and connect businesses with policymakers. And, of course, we will continue to serve as a trusted community resource with virtual and in-person connection and professional development opportunities available every month.
It’s amazing to see the work we’ve accomplished together in a year of many changes and uncertainty, and we have no plans to slow down our commitment to growing Arizona’s economy and supporting our members. As we get ready for a new year, you can rest assured that the Chamber will be there for your business!