8 October 2020
Great North Woods Region, NH – The three northernmost Chambers of Commerce in New Hampshire are excited to announce that they are partnering together in a dual-pronged response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Gateway Chamber of Commerce, and the North Country Chamber of Commerce are grateful for $265,000 in state funding from the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA) in response to the pandemic and are actively pursuing two initiatives to put these funds to use immediately.
One of the two initiatives is to present businesses with much needed personal protective equipment (PPE), which is to be purchased by the Chambers as a Region and dispersed to those members who have a stated need. “Our members have demonstrated an amazing ability to respond to the current pandemic,” stated Beth Cape of the Northern Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce, “and it’s up to us to support their endeavors to adapt, overcome, and even grow their business in various ways while this turmoil ensues.”
The Region will ask businesses to report back on financial savings and hours open or services rendered that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible without this PPE donation. The goal is to further the success of businesses in the Great North Woods while tourism is strong and COVID-19 has caused a lack of workforce, difficulty obtaining valuable and necessary PPE, and other challenges to be overcome.
The second initiative is a direct response to requests from the Region’s businesses to help gain and maintain a workforce. The Chambers have partnered in order to create and execute a targeted and in-depth workforce development program through the capabilities of Hearst Communications (parent company for WMUR, Channel 9) which will allow the Chambers to encourage the workforce to move to the Great North Woods and remain engaged.
“This campaign will serve as a direct initiative to encourage people to move to, work in, and live in the Great North Woods,” said Paula Kinney of the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It’s similar to the state’s ‘Stay Work Play’ program and we believe it will have a positive effect on our Region as an immediate response to what our businesses are saying they need from us right now” added Jodi Gilbert, from the North Country Chamber of Commerce. The program will involve a centralized web page for job postings within the entire Great North Woods Region and will seek to engage job seekers from other areas in New Hampshire and surrounding states.
The three Chambers acted quickly to secure a plan for each initiative and funding from the NH BEA through the Coronavirus response funds to further these plans. They are actively pursuing each initiative and will continue to do so in order to support their Chamber missions and the health of the Region. $65, 524.00 of the funding will be allocated to the Workforce Development Program and the remaining $199,476 is slated to be devoted to PPE purchasing.
Each Chamber of Commerce can be reached directly through their Chamber of Commerce websites. More information on the programs will be shared in the coming days and weeks as PPE becomes available and the Workforce Development campaign goes live.
For further information, or to participate in these programs, please contact:
Program lead: North Country Chamber of Commerce: http://chamberofthenorthcountry.com/
Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce: https://androscogginvalleychamber.com/
Northern Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce: https://www.northerngatewaychamber.org/