Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles

United Diversity Business Summit Connects Top Valley Leaders with Minority Entrepreneurs

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Thinkzilla Consulting today announced that As Scottsdale Mayor David D. Ortega proclaimed Sept. 15 "United Diversity Business Summit Day," diverse business leaders and entrepreneurs from across Arizona came together to share ideas and innovations at the first United Diversity Business Summit, which was livestreamed by the City of Scottsdale. The proclamation was presented to Dr. Velma Trayham, organizer of the summit and founder of Thinkzilla Consulting Group. The 2022 summit will be held on Sept. 14, with registration forthcoming.

Highlighting the importance of "opportunity for everyone," Mayor Ortega shared his initial foray into business at age 14, when his dad announced that "I spent your college fund today" on a local business. Mayor Ortega also proudly shared two key accomplishments: establishing an anti-discrimination ordinance within his first two months in office and formalizing an agreement with the local school district and Scottsdale Community College to support educational health and attainment.

The programming for the summit was presented by Thinkzilla Consulting Group fulfilling its mission to help organizations create positive economic impact through cultural diversity. The only firm in the state of Arizona that combines program management resources with deep DE&I expertise, a network of thousands of minority-led business suppliers, and full service marketing capabilities. The theme of the all-day summit was "Enhancing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem," and it was designed as a recovery mechanism to grow small and medium businesses and provide opportunities to support diversification and inclusion initiatives.

"The first annual United Diversity Business Summit was a transformative day filled with innovative and dynamic programming, purpose-driven and vision-oriented entrepreneurs and business owners and illuminating and inspiring keynote speakers. We couldn't have asked for more," said Dr. Velma Trayham, CEO of Thinkzilla Consulting Group. "We look forward to introducing even more programs that enhance the ecosystem for small businesses and diverse entrepreneurs."

At the United Diversity Business Summit, Thinkzilla launched a new diversity, equity and inclusion assessment for businesses: The assessment was developed to help more organizations evaluate their efforts to create a sustainable diverse, equitable and inclusive culture, gathering data-driven insights and then identifying new opportunities and strategic planning around DE&I. Trayham invited companies of all sizes interested in making diversity, equity and inclusion "the core of your business values" to move forward with the assessment.

The event programming addressed critical topics that directly impact minority business owners and entrepreneurs. Chris Camacho, president and CEO, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, led a conversation on "The Road to Economic Recovery" that shared innovative business practices and pivot techniques that empower innovation in entrepreneurship. Marcy Tibbs, financial specialist with Country Financial, hosted, "Taking Control: Financial Challenges Women Face," addressing the importance of credit and maximizing social security benefits to help women strengthen their financial futures. Robin Reed, president, and CEO of the Black Chamber of Arizona delivered a powerful keynote presentation on scaling a successful business venture. Through these workshops, speakers highlighted innovative approaches and best practices that corporations and entrepreneurs could employ to enhance economic diversity.

The esteemed speakers included: David Ortega, Mayor of Scottsdale; Art Hamilton, founder of Art Hamilton Group, Kaley O"Kelley, News Anchor for ABC 15 Arizona, Eric Standifer, president and CEO of Blaylock Van; Dr. Velma Trayham, CEO of Thinkzilla; Robin Reed, president and CEO of the Black Chamber of Arizona; Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Monica Villalabos, president & CEO of Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tye Hayes, former Chief Information Officer for the City of Atlanta; Gia Rutledge, DE&I expert with Thinkzilla and more.

Sponsors for the event were: Blaylock Van, Arizona State University, Scottdale Art Center, Country Financial, Millionaire Mastermind Academy, SRP, and the City of Scottsdale. Additional community supporters were: GPEC, Black Chamber of Arizona, Arizona Informant, Herozona Foundation, and Maricopa Corporate College.

The United Diversity Business Summit can be viewed at

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Regional Events

Chelsea Groton Bank, in Partnership with NCDC and GNACC, Offers Free Business Seminars for Local Entrepreneurs

GROTON, Conn. -- Chelsea Groton Bank kicks off their 5-week "Cultivating Great Business: Small Business Bootcamp" on October 5, 2021. The FREE small business series, designed for aspiring and established entrepreneurs, is offered through the Bank's financial education program, Chelsea University, in partnership with the Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC) and the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce (GNACC). Participants will walk away with a wealth of knowledge and a strong foundation for starting or growing a business.

"Chelsea Groton Bank is passionate about helping turn dreams into realities for businesses of all types. In addition to providing custom financial solutions, we proudly offer informational programs throughout the year to arm business owners with the tools they need to be successful," shared Miria Gray, AS, Community Education Officer at Chelsea Groton Bank. "As so many business owners learned in 2020, it is critical for businesses to have their financial house in order and to be able to market their services. We'll discuss these topics and more throughout the series."

The instructor-led curriculum was developed jointly by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Each class will be delivered by Chelsea Groton Bank team members and local professionals to provide aspiring or current small business owners a practical introduction to aspects of starting and managing a business.

All classes will be offered in person and via Zoom on Tuesdays from 12-1 PM at Chelsea Groton's Westside Branch, 444 West Main Street, Norwich, and Thursdays from 6-8 PM at Foundry 66, 66 Franklin Street, Norwich, from October 5 - November 4.

Class topics are: Is Owning a Business Right for You?, Banking Services, Business Plans, Time Management, Organizational Types, Tax Planning and Reporting, Record Keeping, Small Business Insurance, Risk Management, Social Media Marketing, Financial Management and Cash Flow, and an opportunity to Chat with the Experts.

Community members are invited to register for individual classes or the entire series. Registration is required in order to have accurate in-person headcounts and to receive log-in credentials if attending via Zoom.

To learn more and to register, visit

About Chelsea Groton Bank

Based in Groton, Conn., Chelsea Groton Bank is a full-service mutually owned bank with over $1.5 billion in assets. Chelsea Groton Bank's products and services include consumer banking, business banking, mortgage and business lending, cash management, financial and investment planning and financial education programming. With 14 branch locations throughout New London County and a Loan Production Office in Hartford County, Chelsea Groton Bank also provides online and mobile banking, 24-hour telephone banking, video banking, and nationwide ATM banking for individuals, families and businesses.

To learn more, please visit Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS Institution ID 402928.

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Aerospace and Aviation, Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government, Travel and Tourism

Southwest Airlines Adds Daily Austin Flight: Expanded Service at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport to Begin in March

AMARILLO, Texas -- Amarillo travelers will soon have extra options that feature the state capital as Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, has announced new daily non-stop service to Austin.

The new expanded service to Austin begins March 10, 2022 to Austin Bergstrom International Airport. On Sundays through Mondays, the Austin flight will depart Amarillo at 6:10 a.m. and arrive in Austin at 7:30 a.m. The return flight will depart Austin at 7:55 p.m. and arrive in Amarillo at 9:20 p.m. On Saturdays, the flight will depart Amarillo at 11:05 a.m. and arrive in Austin at 12:23 p.m. The return flight will depart Austin at 12:25 p.m. and arrive in Amarillo at 1:50 p.m.

In addition to the new Austin non-stop service, Southwest Airlines is adding a fourth daily non-stop flight from Amarillo to Dallas Love Field beginning March 10, 2022. This additional flight returns Southwest's number of non-stops to Dallas Love Field to pre-pandemic levels.

"This is exciting for Amarillo, and a reason for celebration as the travel, business and entertainment opportunities for the city and the Texas Panhandle continue to grow," said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. "As the Amarillo economy continues to expand, diversify and strengthen, we value working with partners like Southwest Airlines to expand their opportunities and service in Amarillo."

"I can't tell you how excited we are to not only get the daily direct flight back between Amarillo and Austin, but on a non-stop basis," said Amarillo Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jason Harrison. "Austin is such a valuable destination, not only from a business standpoint and with our legislators convening there, but for personal travel into the heart of Texas and all that has to offer those from the Panhandle and the Tri-State area.

"Southwest Airlines continues to be an irreplaceable partner with our Taking Flight - Amarillo Initiative. We appreciate their continuing dedication in maintaining and returning flights to and from Amarillo back to pre-pandemic levels, and now beyond, with the new Austin service."

"We are looking forward to continuing to strengthen our intra-Texas routes, giving more Texans access to key destinations throughout the state and bringing more access to our growing network," said Dave Harvey, Vice President of Southwest Business for Southwest Airlines. "Whether traveling for business or leisure, the expanded service from Amarillo will allow travelers to more quickly reach the people and places important in their lives, while experiencing Southwest's famous hospitality."

Learn more about Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport:

For more information, contact City of Amarillo Communications Manager Dave Henry at (806) 378-5219 or by email at

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Economic Development, Entertainment, Free News Articles, Government, Regional Events

Malcolm-Jamal Warner Joins Exit 36 Slam Poetry Festival as Celebrity Judge

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- Pompano Beach Arts is proud to announce that television icon Malcolm-Jamal Warner is joining the fourth annual "Exit 36 Slam Poetry Festival" as a celebrity judge. The famed star of "The Cosby Show" and current hit "The Resident" will also be performing his poetry at the festival and sharing thoughts about his career during an Artist Talk.

The three-day event attracts the premier spoken word artists in the country and will take place December 9-11, 2021 at the City's cultural venues. Event details and tickets are available at

"We are honored that actor and poet Malcolm-Jamal Warner will be a judge at this year's festival. His participation will shine the national spotlight on an event that is growing in prestige every year," said Phyllis Korab, Director, Cultural Affair Department. "Warner stole our hearts as a lovable Huxtable kid in the 80s and is now gaining raves as Dr. Andre Jeremiah Austin on the hit show 'The Resident.' But many do not realize the acclaimed actor is also a leading voice in the spoken word realm."

Warner, who is a Grammy(R) Award-winner, has tackled many important issues with his spoken word performances including problems with the penal system and in 2020 he chronicled life as a black man with his film "Word Warriors III."

Warner has said, "Poetry had always been a huge part of my life. My father went to Lincoln University with Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, so I literally came out of the womb listening to Gil Scott-Heron. So, poetry's always been a huge part of the expression of self."

The Exit 36 Slam Poetry Festival was founded by Eccentrich, one of the top-ranking female poets in the country. She developed the platform to serve the community through educational, theatrical, and literary performances. The festival showcases local, regional, and nationally recognized poets, while educating and encouraging self-expression in local youth.

"Now more than ever, spoken word artists are shaping the cultural and social dialogue in our country," said Eccentrich. "This form of expression empowers those who have felt unheard, providing platform to address both deeply personal situations and larger global issues. We are excited to return for our fourth year, and we look forward working with a dynamic group of participants."


Tickets are $10 a day or $25 for a festival pass, available at

* Thursday, December 9, 2021

Bailey Contemporary Arts Center

Artist Talk & Happy Hour 6p to 7p (In-person and virtually via zoom)

Prelim bout - 7p to 8p (In-person and virtually via zoom)

Artist Market & pop-up poetry - 8p to 9p

* Friday, December 10, 2021

Blanche Ely House Museum

Lunch Time Story Slam - 12p to 1p (In-person and virtually via zoom)

Pompano Beach Cultural Center

Artist Talk - 6p to 7p (In-person and virtually via zoom)

Prelim bout 7p to 8p (In-person and virtually via zoom)

Artist Market & Cyphers - 8p to 9p

* Saturday, December 11, 2021

Pompano Beach Cultural Center

Final Stage - 7p to 10p (In-person and virtually via zoom)

About the City of Pompano Beach Cultural Affairs Department

The mission of the Cultural Affairs Department is to provide cultural programming that includes visual arts, digital media, music, film, theater, dance and public art for the enjoyment and enrichment of residents and visitors to Pompano Beach, Broward County, and the greater South Florida area. The department programs and manages the City's premiere cultural arts venues including the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, Ali Cultural Arts Center, Bailey Contemporary Arts Center, and the Blanche Ely House Museum. The department also oversees the City's Public Art Program and the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts' Our Town grant awarded to the Pompano Beach Crossroads place-making arts initiative.


Kay Renz

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Advertising and Marketing, Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles

New Yiftee White Paper ‘Coming Back Stronger’ Illustrates Communities Banding Together to Support Local Business

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Today Yiftee published a new white paper based on its experience with more than 300 Community eGift Card programs across the country, 90% of which were started during the pandemic. The paper uses 16 short case studies to describe different chamber of commerce, main street, downtown and city programs all centered around simple digital gift cards. The case studies reflect the diversity of the communities themselves, all with the objective of helping residents and local businesses weather the pandemic storm and come back stronger.

Local partners drive creative community engagement

Community eGift Cards give people tens to hundreds of choices where to spend them while guaranteeing that the money stays local. Yiftee enables the cards, and the Company's local partners - the chambers of commerce, downtowns, main streets and city governments - come up with the creative programs to engage their communities. The "Coming Back Stronger" white paper describes diverse programs from scavenger hunts; to after-school activity programs for at-risk kids; to essential worker and employee appreciation; to large CARES Act-, American Recovery Plan- and tourism tax-funded bonus programs. There is virtually no limit on how Community Cards can be used to enhance the local economy.

Community Cards benefit the shop local movement

In most cases, these programs and Community Card sales in general represent new revenue sources to the local businesses in an area. While COVID-19 has drawn a focus on small business, the white paper shows that Community Cards are becoming entrenched in employee rewards programs, restaurant weeks, farmers markets and thoughtful everyday gifting among consumers. No doubt, some of this new downtown business would have previously gone to national brand gift cards, but much of it is from new growth in the gift card industry.

"We are excited to bring more of the $171 billion US gift card industry to Main Street shops and restaurants," said Donna Novitsky, Yiftee CEO. "The power of the Community is far greater than any one store. For example, we see 51% of Community Card holders try new places. With digital gift cards driving much of the 8-9% per year increase in US gift card sales, Community Cards are a huge growth opportunity for the shop local movement." (*Citations: see notes 1 and 2.)

The 17-page white paper covers city partnerships, designed to jumpstart pandemic recovery; unique gifting programs that generate increased revenue for local businesses; and how some groups have recruited local sponsors who have gained recognition for their generosity and community spirit.

You can download the free white paper here (PDF):

About Yiftee, Keep Local Dollars Local

Yiftee ( serves more than 300 communities and 10,000 local businesses with simple, secure, point-of-sale system-independent eGift Cards that keep millions of local dollars local. The company works with Chambers of Commerce, Downtowns, Main Streets, Business Improvement Districts, city governments and other local organizations to create "Community Cards," branded for the community and redeemable at 10s to 100s of local businesses. Organizations and individuals purchase them online and send them via email, text or print to friends, family and co-workers to support their local businesses.

There is no cost to the organizers or merchants for the program and it can be set up in just a few days. Yiftee also provides custom-branded cards for individual merchants, franchises, and chains.

More info at, email:, Twitter: @Yiftee, Facebook:

Works Cited:

[*Note 1] (January 2021). The "United States Gift Card and Incentive Card Market Intelligence and Future Growth Dynamics (Databook) - Spend Analysis by Digital / e-Gift Card, Retail and Corporate Consumers, Top Retailers, Distribution Channel, Occasions, and Demographics. Dublin, Ireland:

[*Note 2] Claremont Consulting Group Survey of Yiftee Customers. (April, 2021). Customer and Community Analysis and Recommendations. Claremont, CA: Yiftee, Inc.


*Image link for media:

*Caption: New Yiftee white paper "Coming Back Stronger" illustrates many creative Community eGift Card programs led by local organizations to help their small businesses thrive.


Donna Novitsky, CEO, 650-533-0938

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Boating, Marine and Maritime, Business, Economic Development, Environment and Ecology, Free News Articles, Sciences

Pompano Beach to Test SEAHIVE Shoreline Protection System at Wahoo Bay

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- Scientists, government officials and citizens concerned about climate change and sea level rise will soon have a new source of data when Wahoo Bay in Pompano Beach launches. This underwater marine park will become a global incubator for the ocean's ecosystem and will test the SEAHIVE™ marine and estuarine shoreline protection system, a research project funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) in collaboration with FDOT.

The team at Wahoo Bay collaborated with scientists and engineers from the University of Miami's College of Engineering and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science with the hope that green engineering solutions will prove to be superior to traditional measures such as the controversial U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' proposal to wall-off Miami against water.

"There are a variety of potential solutions being discussed to combat sea level rise and protect areas like South Florida from the impacts of flooding, erosion and wave attack," explained Rob Wyre, Chairman of Shipwreck Park. "However, many of the options can be detrimental to the overall ecosystem. Wahoo Bay will play a critical role in helping scientists and government officials test the SEAHIVE system, while the park itself will create an environment for local, national and international scientific experiments and collaboration."

The SEAHIVE™ configuration for Wahoo Bay combines a modular concrete structure with adequate complexity and material composition with mangroves. The projection is that the system will not only reduce flooding and erosion in the area but will be hospitable to sea life, creating an eco-laboratory for Wahoo Bay visitors.

"We are very excited to be collaborating with the team at Wahoo Bay, said Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, an assistant professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the University of Miami who is part of the SEAHIVE™ development team. "They were very enthusiastic about implementing our research in Pompano Beach, and our discussions with Rob Wyre led to the idea of utilizing red mangroves in the design, resonating our ideas towards a 'green-gray' approach. Wahoo Bay will be an important test for the SEAHIVE system and will provide invaluable data as we search for the most viable solutions to preserve coastal areas."

Wahoo Bay is a Shipwreck Park initiative that will be run by the City of Pompano Beach's Parks and Recreation Department and supported by community volunteers.

This educational initiative is expected to begin construction this September and will cost more than $1 million to complete. Additional funding is required, donations can be made at


*PHOTO link for media:

*Caption: Rendering of Wahoo Bay.

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Transportation

Indiana 5G Zone to Host Panel Discussion and Demonstrations on Revolutionary ‘Smart Transportation’ Technologies

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indiana 5G Zone will host a virtual afternoon dedicated to innovative "smart transportation" technologies on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 2 p.m. ET. The event, which features speakers and demonstrations from leaders in the field, will highlight the potential advantages of adopting these technologies and their impact on the US economy.

"If the United States is going to maintain its lead in the global economy, it will need to adopt many of the 'smart transportation' technologies that we will highlight this week," said Sean Hendrix, managing director of the Indiana 5G Zone. "Our goal is to give these companies, universities and institutions, large and small, the opportunity to highlight their innovations and give interested parties a sense of what is coming down the pike in the near future."

"Smart transportation will revolutionize the way we move people and goods," said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, House Judiciary Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "Our challenge, as a country, is figuring out how to provide an environment that allows institutions working in this field to bring their innovations to market. I look forward to hearing from and meeting with the innovative companies working with the Indiana 5G Zone that are making these groundbreaking technologies possible."

The three-hour afternoon event will feature presentations and demonstrations over three hours from the following leaders in the field, including:

* Advanced Renewable Power LLC (ARP)
* Autonomous Indiana
* City of Los Angeles
* Hawaii 5G Zone
* Indiana 5G Zone
* Indiana Economic Development Corporation
* May Mobility
* Mobility Insight
* Performance Defense
* Puerto Rico 5G Zone
* Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), member of the House Homeland Security Committee, House Judiciary Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Smart transportation advocate.
* Verizon
* Wovenware
* XQ

"Our goal is to highlight the work we are doing with self-protecting data and our partnerships with other companies that are making important contributions to smart transportation," remarked Brian Wane, CEO of XQ. "By doing so, we are highlighting the opportunities that exist for companies to adopt technologies, such as perimeterless zero-trust 5G, that will bring today's transportation into the 21st Century."

For more information or to register for the event, visit the IN5GZ's website:

Kasia Chaberski
Indiana 5G Zone
Phone Number: 503-388-1963

*LOGO link for media:

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Advertising and Marketing, Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government

Local Community Gift Card Program Shows up to 8X ROI on Federal Funds Invested to Help Small Businesses in Pandemic Recovery

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- As communities strive to help their local businesses weather the pandemic storm, Yiftee has grown to more than 270 Community eGift Cards across the United States and executed 74 "Buy-One-Get-One" programs. These programs enlist entire communities in purchasing eGift Cards that can only be spent at local businesses, where the card buyers also receive free bonus gifts for their own use.

Yiftee and Whatcom County, WA teamed up to measure the revenue impact of their program for small businesses in Whatcom County. Between money spent on community card purchases, bonus cards funded by the CARES Act, and overspend on the gift cards and bonus cards, the analysis found that the bonus program investment was returned by 2X in its first month, 4X after 3 months and could return up to 8X over the next year when the majority of the purchased cards have been redeemed.

Data shows more than 30% is typically spent over the card value

Derek Long, Executive Director of Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, WA, who worked with Whatcom County government to fund the bonus cards and marketing to support it said, "The card buyer survey showed that on average, people spend 34% more than the purchased cards and 31% more than the bonus cards. We returned 2X our bonus card investment in the first month, and now we are at 4X with potential to double that as more cards are redeemed over the next year or so."

Sandy Ward, President and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism added, "The Whatcom County community has really rallied to help our small businesses and we are thrilled with the results. The bonus funds sold out quickly in December, and people have continued to purchase the Whatcom County Think Local First cards, with thousands more purchased after the bonus ran out."

Besides the CARES Act in Q4 2020, Yiftee is seeing funds for similar programs coming from corporate sponsors, tourism offices, city and county governments, and most recently federal funds from the American Recovery Plan all helping small businesses come back.

More than half of card holders tried out new shops or restaurants

Yiftee and Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism jointly sponsored the survey and were pleased that the extensive card buyer survey, conducted by the Claremont Consulting Group Inc.*, also found that 51% of card buyers tried new shops or restaurants with their Community eGift Cards, and cardholders liked being able to use them at multiple places around town. The bonus program drew attention to the new Whatcom County program, launched in November 2020, with 50% of people saying they would be significantly more likely to purchase a $50 card if they got a $10 bonus.

"Shopping local has always been popular but now it's essential, and Community Cards are a simple way for consumers, companies and local governments to keep their local dollars local," said Donna Novitsky, Yiftee CEO and co-founder. An incredible 92% of card buyers surveyed said they prefer to support their local business with a Community Card vs buying national brand gift cards.

Ann Marie Cooper, Owner of Good Earth Pottery in Bellingham, WA commented, "The gift card program definitely brought extra/new traffic to our shop. Several customers told me so. I know some local folks sent these gift cards to friends and family out of town, to bring their business to us/Whatcom County. The incentive program (bonus spending money) was big motivation for people to purchase the Think Local First Gift Cards... I am very thankful for the program."

About Yiftee, Keep Local Dollars Local

Yiftee serves more than 270 communities and 10,000 local businesses with simple, secure, PoS-independent eGift Cards that keep local dollars local - more than $13M in pandemic year 2020. The company works with Chambers of Commerce, Downtowns, Main Streets, Business Improvement Districts, city governments and other local organizations to create "Community Cards," branded for the community and redeemable at 10s to 100s of local businesses. Organizations and individuals purchase them online and send them via email, text or print to friends, family and co-workers to support their local businesses.

There is no cost to the organizers or merchants for the program and it can be set up in just a few days. Yiftee also provides custom-branded cards for individual merchants, franchises, and chains.

More info at, email:, Twitter: @Yiftee, Facebook:

(Note: * Claremont Consulting Group Inc. study included 197 survey responses for purchases made November 2020-March 2021.)


CAPTION: The Whatcom County, WA Think Local First gift card promotion held in Nov/Dec 2020 multiplied federal government funds with consumer purchases that exclusively support local shops and restaurants in the area as they come back from closures due to COVID.

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government

The City of Pompano Beach Parks and Recreation Department Announces All-Inclusive Playground

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- The City of Pompano Beach Parks and Recreation Department has enhanced the Sergeant Kip Jacoby Park with a new all-inclusive playground that features equipment that will encourage side-by-side play for all children. The new pieces by the Kompan Company improve physical, cognitive, creative and social skills for all children, while offering a welcoming atmosphere for children with special needs.

"We recognized the need for an all-abilities park in Pompano Beach and felt that Sergeant Kip Jacoby Park would be an ideal choice," said Mark Beaudreau, Recreations Program Administrator. "This new playground, with its state-of-the-art equipment, will improve the quality of life for families throughout our City and the region and will encourage inclusion and foster new friendships."

During the past few months, the playground has been redesigned to include a custom-built play structure with ramps, special swings and an array of accessible equipment that encourage fun, interaction and learning.

Responsive to children's movements, the TIPI apparatus spins when pushed or pulled. Apart from being a fun negotiation and turn-taking game, the pushing and pulling build muscles and cardio. In the TIPI, children can lie, sit or stand with the support of the side bars or the top frame. This welcomes children with mobility disabilities to be part of the play, too. The spinning movement trains the sense of space and balance. The Robinia Percussion Music Panel is an invitation to play for children featuring a variation in drumming sounds and tonal responses to movements. The drums can be played alone or together. The Xylophone Music Panel trains hand-eye coordination while the tonality of the music panel stimulates logical as well as creative thinking. And the Spinner Bowl allows children to adjust the spinning speed with their body movements. This trains logical thinking and trains the sense of balance, which is mandatory for concentration skills and the ability to sit still. Pushing or being pushed by others trains social-emotional skills such as turn-taking.

"Thank you, City of Pompano Beach! There are so few inclusive playgrounds for children with disabilities," said Myrna Miott, Director of Development and Marketing for the Broward Children's Center. "We are thrilled that our city has taken this proactive and innovative step so that children of all abilities can play together. We look forward to the many friendships and connections that will be made in our community as a result of everyone being able to safely let loose together in this space."

Sergeant Kip Jacoby is named after a longtime Pompano Beach resident who lost his life on June 28, 2005 in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wings. To honor his sacrifice, the City renamed the park, where he loved to skateboard, in his honor. The park is located at 620 S. Cypress Road in Pompano Beach.

The City of Pompano Beach is a vibrant multicultural community located in the heart of Florida's Gold Coast. We are known for our warm welcome and beautiful beaches, listed 9th in the 2021 "Best Beaches in the World" by Travel Addicts Life Magazine. This All-America City is one of the largest beachfront cities in South Florida with a four mile stretch of pristine shoreline, over 700 acres of parks, and a commitment to arts & culture. Key industries include marine, manufacturing, distribution, tourism and entertainment.

For more information visit us at

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government, Manufacturing

Rural Iowa Manufacturing Jobs Surplus Means Big Opportunities

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- It's been a year since the manufacturing industry was hit by the COVID-19 crisis forcing businesses to get creative to manage their workforce assets. In April of 2020, the rural Clarke County, Iowa's unemployment rate jumped from 3.4% to 11.8%, and more than 100,000 workers across the state were displaced, laid off, or simply let go when businesses had to close their doors, says Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC).

Now COVID restrictions have begun to lift and the economy is picking up again, especially for manufacturers in Osceola, Iowa. Unfortunately, many businesses are still struggling in their search for the right candidates to fill key positions.

"We've got 4,700 non-farm jobs and our major manufacturers continue to grow and add staff," said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation. "Now is a great time to find a job in Clarke County."

Major Clarke County employers have a variety of positions available and are casting a wide net to entice the right candidates to the region. Full of lucrative job opportunities, Osceola boasts easy access from Des Moines, Indianola, Norwalk, St. Mary's, Martensdale and many other South-Central Iowa and Northern Missouri cities via I-35 and highways 34 and 92.

"We're certainly in a position where we have more jobs than people to fill them, so we're recruiting from across the state to find the right fit," said Susan Miller, Human Resources Recruiter for the Altec body plant. "While our pay is more than competitive with most Des Moines metro employers, and our benefits package is outstanding, we've found that it's our unique company culture that really makes working here desirable."

In an effort to fill essential manufacturing positions, companies are finding new incentives to draw in applicants, encourage referrals from current employees, and reward retention among the staff. For example, The Paul Mueller Company, manufacturers of stainless steel, food-grade refrigeration and transportation tanks, offers an incremental referral bonus as well as new employee sign-on bonuses awarded at ninety days, six months, and one year.

Altec body plant helps employees attain Bachelor or Masters degrees in the industry by funding online courses through The University of Alabama and offers wellness benefits to employees and their spouses for completing fun and easy challenges. And Iowa Steel gives their regional sales team the opportunity to work from home or remotely as they travel the country to meet with customers, offering an excellent base salary as well as commission.

"We're in the process of growing, locally and nationwide. On top of filling regional sales positions around the country, we're also adding to our Osceola facility in the fall of 2021 and hiring more skilled labor," said Kate Patton, Human Resources Director at Iowa Steel. "Clarke County is full of employers offering diverse opportunities with competitive pay and an excellent work-life balance. We're just looking for the right applicants."

While unemployment rates are relatively low, there is still a lot of work available in rural Iowa, especially in Clarke County. Employers are finding that top pay and benefits aren't the only tools needed to draw in a workforce.

"Money isn't the most important thing people are looking for these days. People are looking at our culture, and finding a place they enjoy coming to every day, and positioning their family to do more than just make ends meet," said Lauren Robins, Human Resources Generalist II for Paul Mueller Company. "On-site training, and a safe and healthy work environment are all important to prospective employees. Most of all they want to know that they're valued and able to be productive and growing for years to come."

Clarke County's manufacturing industry has advantages not found in bigger cities across the state. Factors like job security, educational incentives, and unique, diverse opportunities for advancement are all part of what draws in a workforce that drives the success of the entire community.

For more information about the availability of jobs mentioned in this press release, feel free to reach to the Human Resources department at each company:

- Altec Osceola Body Plant, HR Recruiter, Susan Miller, 641-223-8807, email:

- Iowa Steel Human Resources Director, Kate Patton, 641-342-2134, email:

- Paul Mueller Company, Lauren Robins, Human Resources Generalist II, 641-342-5521, email:

If you'd like to learn more about the manufacturing industry and development opportunities available in Clarke County, Iowa, please reach out to Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation, at 641-414-1884 or email:

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