Business, Housing & Economic Development

Legislative Chair: Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh (KY)

OVERVIEW: This Committee is currently focusing on identifying solutions that will rebuild financial strength in America by supporting financial literacy efforts, evaluating E-Fairness measures, building global partnerships and promoting the economic empowerment of women, promoting business continuity planning to aide in disaster relief efforts, and fostering economic growth by increasing access to broadband technology.

E-Fairness - Updating Sales Tax Laws to Create a Level Playing Field

During an era where state budgets are being stretched to the max, companies are working to sustain operations and avoid layoffs, and Americans are making the most of every dollar earned - NFWL recognizes the importance of fostering dialogue between policymakers and corporate and small business leaders to maximize the opportunity for an economic boom in every state. Currently, elected women across the nation are evaluating solutions that will bolster local economies, such as bringing sales tax laws up-to-date to level the playing field so that all businesses, both brick-and-mortar and online-only retailers can compete fairly.

Building Global Partnerships for Economic Prosperity

NFWL has been active in working to strengthen cooperation and coordination between women elected officials across the nation and the U.S. Department of State, to foster economic development by enhancing the U.S.'s international ties and the sale and distribution of U.S. exports across the globe. Members of this Committee are also committed to forming partnerships and strategic alliances with elected officials and businesses in other nations to share insights and lessons-learned and to foster economic development in underserved nations.

NFWL is currently building partnerships to remove barriers and promote the economic empowerment of women globally. At a time of economic constriction, many economists have discovered that the key to future economic growth will be to unleash the economic power of women globally. In 2010, 104 million women in 59 of the world's economies started and managed new business ventures, generating millions of jobs and contributing substantially to their domestic, as well as the world's, gross domestic product. Around the world when women start businesses, the ripple effects are tremendous - they create jobs for others, build up household income, and invest accumulated savings back into the community in the form of health care, education, and food.

Business Continuity Planning, Preparing for Emergencies and Disasters

NFWL's Disaster Relief and Preparedness Task Force jumps into action to assist elected women who serve communities that are affected by natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other emergencies. This Task Force has also launched initiatives that aim to create a culture of preparedness across the country so that businesses and communities are able to act quickly during crisis and bounce back soon after catastrophe hits. NFWL's Business, Housing & Economic Development Policy Committee is supporting the efforts of the Foundation's Disaster Relief and Preparedness Task Force by working with business leaders and industry experts to promote business continuity planning. Business Continuity is the ability to keep an organization up and running no matter what, and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it is a pretty hot topic. Robust continuity programs don't just help organizations recover after a catastrophic event, they also prepare public and private sector organizations to deliver services and continue to function in the face of any kind of crisis.

Empowerment through Technology

The digital age has taken hold and increased access to broadband technology is allowing for progress in critical areas such as health, education, job growth, and the economy. NFWL is committed to supporting elected women who are working to explore policy solutions that meet the growing demand for advancement in the Health IT arena, more affordable wireless services, and access to broadband technology and services.

This Committee has released a report concerning the importance of broadband to women specifically, by highlighting how women are using this technology to enhance family life, improve health outcomes, bolster their family's education, and pursue an array of economic opportunities. The report concludes that ultimately, a collaborative approach that leverages the core competencies and unique resources of local, state, and federal policymakers, private companies, and nonprofits is necessary to realizing the many important goals included in the National Broadband Plan and to ensuring that women are able to reap the wide array of benefits enabled by broadband.

2011 Policy Report Release:

"Winning the Future: A Policy Framework for Empowering Women with Broadband"

Audio Clip from March 2011 Tele-press conference for release of Policy Report

Numerous studies have concluded broadband is positioned to empower individual users and serve as the basis for fundamentally realigning whole industries. A collaborative approach that leverages the core competencies and unique resources of local, state, and federal policymakers, private companies, and nonprofits is necessary to realizing the many important goals included in the National Broadband Plan and to ensuring that women are able to enjoy the benefits of broadband access.

2009 Policy Report Release:

"Empowering Women in the 21st Century: Paving the Way with Broadband and Mobility"

In October of 2009 NFWL brought together elected women from across the country for the Women's Congressional Broadband Technology Summit in Washington, DC. The Summit was co-hosted by NFWL's High Speed Internet Caucus and the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women's (NOBEL) African American Technology Caucus.

Boosting Local Economic Growth with "Small Business Saturday"

NFWL's National Policy Committee on Business, Housing & Economic Development has partnered with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) in support of Small Business Saturday, a national initiative that marks a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. Now, Small Business Saturday is an event that drives shoppers to local, independently-owned merchants. The second-annual Small Business Saturday gave a boost to Main Street merchants and spurred millions of Americans to shop at independently-owned small businesses.

Rebuilding Financial Strength in America

The health of the nation's financial system depends on the ability of its people to effectively manage their own finances. The Committee is focusing on empowering all Americans, from 8 years old to 80 years old, with sound financial literacy practices that will encourage smart spending, resulting in an upwards economy.

Economic Development through STEM Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM fields are expected to add 2.7 million new jobs by 2018 and projected to grow by 17.0 percent, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. The Department of Labor identifies fourteen sectors that are "projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs to the economy or affect the growth of other industries or are being transformed by technology and innovation requiring new sets of skills for workers.

In conjunction with NFWL's Education & Training Policy Committee, this Committee has been working to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education initiatives. Strengthening STEM education initiatives will encourage innovation and enhance economic development. Establishing collaborative visions and relationships between state and local governments and industry leaders will allow educators to provide opportunities for students to pursue careers in growing STEM fields.

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