Keeping Massachusetts Economically Competitive through the Massachusetts Competitive PartnershipSeptember 1, 2021 12:23 pm
Studies in US News & World Report put Massachusetts in the top three states for business employment opportunities as well as noted that the Commonwealth is highly ranked for innovation and entrepreneurship. The pandemic has challenged us all in a multitude of ways. Our state’s economy has struggled in recent months but will find an easier time with recovery and staying competitive with the leadership at the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP).
In a recent North Shore Conversations radio broadcast on 104.9FM, we had an opportunity to chat with Jay Ash, the President and CEO of Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP).
In our conversation with him, we were able to better understand what the MACP organization does and it’s main areas of focus on helping the Bay State recover from this past year of the coronavirus pandemic.
What is the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership?
The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership is a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(4) public policy group of chief executive officers of some of the Commonwealth’s largest businesses. In fact, Mr. Ash explained that the organization involves the active participation of 16 of the largest businesses in Massachusetts.
The ultimate goal of this organization is to promote growth and competitiveness by working with public officials, business leaders, and civic leaders in our great state.
The meeting of these CEOs and other C-level professionals allows for “a great opportunity to talk to very successful individuals about our collective interests in advancing the Massachusetts economy,” states Ash in our interview.
Jay Ash, a North Shore resident and Chelsea native has strong ties to our region even though his job now emcompasses the economic health of the entire state. At one time he was City Manager of Chelsea, considered the Gateway to the North Shore, as well as a member of Governor Baker’s cabinet as Economic Development Secretary. He has been leading the MACP for the past two years.
4 Focus Areas
As business leaders and professionals the MACP tries to focus their efforts on long term goals. Ash says, “we like to be looking way down the street and around the corner.”
Currently their collective mission is focused, first and foremost, on the recovery needs caused by the pandemic.
In this recovery, they concentrate their energy in four main areas: workforce, innovation, social justice, and state budgeting.
One of the main areas of focus for the MACP is the creation of jobs, especially given the struggles of the past year and a half. In the years leading up to the pandemic, the Commonwealth had more people employed than ever before, with an unemployment rate under 3%. Now Ash explains that we are focused on the goal of getting people back to work.
Ash clarified that this isn’t just a focus on finding jobs, but finding them for people in underrepresented populations to provide better gender, racial, and regional equity.
When asked how the MACP wants to help with innovation, Ash spoke of the major successes our region has seen because of our innovation even prior to the pandemic. For instance, he discussed how digital health was just at the infancy stages before the pandemic with less than 2,000 telehealth visits a year at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since the start of the pandemic there have been 2 million!
In the area of social justice and equity, Ash points out that we still have a long way to go with providing equity to underrepresented populations. His personal research showed that of the 500 Fortune 500 companies, only 41 were led by women and only 3 by minority owners.
The MACP hopes to accelerate the progress in equity as we all begin to reinvigorate the economy post pandemic.
The MACP is keeping a close eye on the enticement of businesses to other states, such as lower costs of living or low/no tax for businesses. As such, the MACP looks at ways to keep our state competitive regardless of tax structure and cost of living.