Welcome to The Carnation City!
The Alliance Chamber of Commerce, located in Alliance, Ohio, has been a staple in the community for over 100 years, providing leadership to its members, protecting their interests while promoting their businesses.
With a membership totaling over 400, the Chamber's tradition of community leadership continues strong into the 21st century.
**ATHENA SCHOLARSHIP NEWS**
With generous support from the Alliance community, the Athena Scholarship Fund was established in 2013 by the Woman of the Year and Athena award recipients. In collaboration with the Alliance Chamber of Commerce, a charitable fund agreement was set up with the Greater Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. Based on the same criteria as the Athena award, the scholarship is presented to a female graduating senior who exemplifies community service, academic achievement and leadership potential. The honoree must reside within Alliance City, Marlington Local, Sebring or West Branch Local School Districts, and must attend and anticipate graduation from one of those schools or from St. Thomas Aquinas.
The first scholarship was awarded in 2014 to Alexandrea Garrett, a West Branch senior who is attending Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED.) The 2015 scholarship recipient was Alexis Austin, an Alliance High School senior who is studying pediatric nursing at Capital University. In 2016, the award was given to Alyssa Powers, a Marlington senior. She is studying organizational psychology and business at the University of Akron. The scholarship is paid directly from the Greater Alliance Foundation to the college, university, or other educational institution in which the recipient is enrolled. Celebrate with us at the upcoming chamber annual dinner, when the next Athena Scholarship recipient will be announced.
It is hoped that this scholarship, awarded annually, will continue in perpetuity. Please consider this worthwhile initiative in your charitable giving. Your tax deductible check is payable to the Greater Alliance Foundation. Write "Athena Scholarship" on the memo line and mail the check to the Foundation office: 960 W State Street, Alliance, OH 44601. Or simply go to: www.greateralliancefoundation.org and donate online. Be sure to designate "Athena Scholarship." Your donation can be in honor of, or in memory of, a significant woman in your life, your grandmother or mother, a sister or daughter, perhaps a special teacher or mentor.
With sincere gratitude for your past support and your support now!
Woman of the Year/Athena Scholarship committee
Chamber News & Upcoming Events
Dr. W. Richard Merriman Jr., President of the University of Mount Union to Speak at the 2017 Chamber Annual Dinner
Dr. W. Richard Merriman, Jr. serves as Mount Union's 12th president, a position he began in July 2015 following the conclusion of a six-month nationwide search and the unanimous approval of the Board of Trustees.
Dick Merriman's professional background is rich with experience in higher education leadership. Prior to joining the Mount Union community, he served for 17 years as president of Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.
During his service at Southwestern, a private, United Methodist Church-affiliated institution of about 1,700 students, Merriman guided the college through a period of significant growth in enrollment, scope, and mission, transforming Southwestern into a strong comprehensive institution that serves both traditional-age students and adults. The college offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees and provides instruction in face-to-face, hybrid, and online formats that meet the needs of many kinds of students.
A native of Kansas, Dick earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in social science from Emporia State University and a Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University. He has worked for almost 30 years in private higher education, including nine years on the advancement team at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York and two years as a faculty member at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Outside higher education, he was executive director of the Jefferson Foundation and a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities, both in Washington, DC.
Dick is a member of the Board of Directors of Ohio Campus Compact, an organization that encourages civic engagement and service learning for college students. He will become the Board's Chair this summer. He is currently Chair of the council of presidents of the Ohio Athletic Conference. He is a member of the Boards of Directors of Alliance Area Development and the Stark Development Board, and is a member of the Economic Development Committee of the Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce.
Dick is married to Margot Kelman, who holds a Ph.D. in communication sciences and disorders and is a speech-language pathologist. Margot is currently the Board chair for the Early Childhood Education Alliance. Dick and Margot are the parents of two sons. Ben is married to Sarah Wilson and is a professor of public administration at the University of Kansas. Aaron is currently a sophomore at the University of Mount Union.
More Chamber News...
Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation - BWC Reform
Over the last 5 years the Bureau of Workers' Compensation has made many changes to improve its service to both companies and injured workers and dramatically reduce costs for employers. Here is a list of many of those changes.
Reduced rates and issued rebates, credits and grants, resulting in $4.8 billion in combined savings for Ohio's public and private employers over the last five years.
- Returned $2 billion to Ohio private and public employer taxing districts over the last two years through rebates made possible by prudent management and smart investing.
- After tripling funding for Safety Grants, further increased BWC's commitment to workplace safety by up to $35 million over the next two years to support expanded statewide efforts to protect Ohio's workers.
- Reduced private employer average base rates, bringing rate levels 28.2 percent lower than those in effect at the beginning of 2011.
- Reduced average rates for public employers to their lowest level in more than 30 years. These reductions are resulting in a total decrease of 26.5 percent for local governments since 2011.
- Issued $1.2 billion in credits to Ohio employers as part of a transition to a modernized billing system.
- Non-group rated employers are now eligible for both a 2-percent discount for participating in Safety Council programs, and both group and non-group employers are eligible for a 2-percent rebate for demonstrating improvements to employee safety.
- Increased funding that supports Ohio's 83 safety councils by 10 percent.
- Since the creation of BWC's first-ever (closed) formulary, there has been an ongoing reduction in prescriptions for opiates, as well as commonly overused drugs. Total drug costs were lowered by $46 million and opioid doses have decreased by 18.9 million, or 47%, since 2010.
- Initiated measures to ensure BWC will only cover drugs related to the specific injury.
- Changed rules to prohibit decertified providers from prescribing drugs for injured workers.
- Established a lock-in program to improve the safety of medication prescribed to injured workers and limit the practice of doctor and pharmacy shopping.
- Created a "first-fill" program to ensure injured workers get their first prescription without waiting until their claim is approved.
- First-ever attempt to close a non-compliant business through an injunction.
- Decertified one of the state's most prolific providers for inappropriately prescribing narcotics.
- From January 2011 to present, BWC's special investigations department obtained 792 convictions, identifying a total of $333 million in savings for the State Insurance Fund.
Provided Ohio employers for the first time the option to purchase workers' compensation coverage that protects them when their workers leave the state.
Introduced the Grow Ohio program, which helps new businesses by offering discounts during their startup. The program has saved businesses more than $25 million. Businesses have the option of taking a 25% discount for their first two years, or joining the group rating program immediately, saving up to 53% off their premium.
Established as part of the Lt. Governor's Common Sense Initiative a one-time forgiveness program that waives penalties and interest for first-time lapsed premium. More than 600 businesses used this option to become eligible for their part of the $1 billion rebate after being contacted by BWC.
Created Destination: Excellence, a new program that rewards employers for their efforts to create safer work places and to transition injured workers back into their job. More than half of all Ohio employers are taking part in at least one aspect of the program, helping the business community save more than $38 million since 2012.
Initiated pilots to improve the claims management process by helping BWC understand which claims are most likely to become complex and identifying exactly the right point at which to introduce vocational rehabilitation and/or transitional work plans.
Expanded the safety council rebate program
Established the first annual Safety Innovations Award competition recognizing Ohio companies that excel in introducing safety innovations to increase awareness and encourage employers to make keeping their workers safe and healthy on the job a top priority.
Unveiled the new Wellness Grant Program to help employers meet the challenges related to rising incidences of obesity and chronic disease, as well as an aging workforce-all factors that contribute to workplace injuries and slow the recovery of injured workers.
Improved Pharmacy Management to ensure workers are being prescribed drugs that help, not hinder, their recovery.
Emphasized fraud department efforts and broadened the focus to all types of fraud.
Due to careful, conservative management, BWC investments have outperformed expectations, achieving an annualized return of 7% over the past three fiscal years (period ending 6/30/16).