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2021 Public Policy Priorities

The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) is a national collective of chambers of commerce across the Great Lakes region that jointly advocate on core policy issues, including water quality, immigration reform, trade, and transportation and infrastructure. Since its founding in 2008, the coalition has become a leading and effective voice on federal policy impacting the Great Lakes region.

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TALENT ATTRACTION

  • Reform the H-1B visa system to boost American innovation and address the shortage of high-skilled workers by raising the overall cap on H-1B visas while also implementing stronger wage and displacement protections for U.S. workers.
  • Create a new visa pathway that is place-based, allowing immigrants to compete on the open labor market or start their own business in regions experiencing population decline.
  • Streamline the process for international students by creating a path for international student graduates with degrees in STEM, healthcare, business, and other key fields to apply for permanent residency in the U.S.
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PREPARING THE WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE

  • Advocate strategic investment in K-12 and postsecondary education that builds critical thinking, problem-solving, and digital skills necessary for success in a rapidly changing, technology-infused workplace.
  • Build industry-relevant coursework—like computer science and digital literacy—in partnership with K-12 and postsecondary institutions to prepare students with the skills, knowledge, networks, and experience needed to enter emerging industries.
  • Invest in and scale workforce development programs with proven track records of success, create more opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals to find meaningful employment, and build pathways to grow the number of opportunity youth entering emerging industries.
  • Expand Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in quality, short-term education and training programs that lead to employment in high-demand industries.
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INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • Invest in our region’s public transit infrastructure, including rail and bus rapid transit, to improve connections between people and jobs.
  • Close the digital divide through infrastructure investment, ensuring students and families have access to high-speed, affordable broadband.
  • Bring our roads, bridges, tunnels, ferry systems, and other transportation assets to a state of good repair through federal investment.
  • Advance the passage of key water infrastructure bills that authorize funds for the shipping channels, harbors, and breakwaters of the Great Lakes, the system of locks and dams along the Upper Ohio River, and the vulnerable drinking water systems within the Great Lakes Basin.
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GREAT LAKES RESTORATION INITIATIVE

  • Reauthorize the GLRI with annual incremental increases to its original funding level of $475 million per year.
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TARGETED COVID-19 RELIEF

  • Ensure future COVID-19 relief funding is targeted toward and accessible to small, micro, and minority businesses that make up our region’s Main Streets and which face severe impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic fallout.
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GREAT LAKES INNOVATION ECONOMY

  • Support increased investment in research and development spending at universities across the Great Lakes and support programs that build regional innovation ecosystems to spur growth in artificial intelligence, medical technology, advanced manufacturing, and other vital technology sectors.
  • Encourage the growth of water tech businesses—an industry commercializing water research to produce smart and sustainable water use, water efficiency, cleaning, and other new water-technology products and services.
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BALANCED TRADE POLICY

  • Advocate for legislation and trade deals that provide stability and predictability in the cost of doing business, facilitate secure and efficient trading between the U.S. and Canada, and ensure fast and reliable border crossing and clearance procedures.