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Digital Revolution Presents Challenges to Business

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 11, 2011 9:18:00 AM

In a short span of four years, American business will face a changed world in which consumers will use iPads and other mobile devices to enable two-thirds of all their purchases, demand two-way interaction with sellers and use real-time search to find the items they need, a Google executive told the AIM Executive Forum this morning.

Seth van der Swaagh, a National Industry Manager in Google’s Cambridge office, told more than 220 business leaders that the new electronic world will require successful companies to master the “four be’s”: - be relevant, be found, be engaging and be accountable to consumers who will have at their disposal an amount of information that will increase 50 times by 2020.

“So how, in this accelerated world, do you keep up? It’s not enough just to know the basics. Google believes that businesses need to get ahead of the trends get ahead of the consumer,” van der Swaagh said.

The digital revolution, according to van der Swaagh, means that all elements of business and life move faster than ever before - information is created faster, news travels faster, consumer trends change faster, and business is conducted faster. He said that the world now creates the same amount of information in two days as it did from the beginning of time until 2003.

The explosive growth of technology and information is everywhere:

  • The number of people on social networks has grown from 300 million people in 2008 to one billion today;
  • Twitter visitors have gone from 1.25 million in 2008 to 190 million;
  • More than 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute; YouTube serves 2 billion videos daily;
  • Android mobile devices did not exist in 2008; Google now ships 350,000 Android devices per day.
  • The number of mobile subscribers will double worldwide from 5 billion at the end of 2010 to 10 billion in 2020.

“But the biggest driver of all? The consumer.  Unlike other eras that were driven by science, or industry, our era is driven by people, consumers,” van der Swaagh said.

“Science fiction is already fact - we have computers in our pockets. The consumer has been first to figure out how this can benefit them: their behavior is evolving at breakneck speed/scale.”

Van der Swaagh said the digital revolution will put increasing pressure on companies to be engaging and interesting in a society saturated with information. He noted that 94 of the top 100 advertisers listed by Advertising Age have YouTube campaigns and that well-known Massachusetts employers such as Reebok, Biogen Idec and Philips Electronics have been leaders in online video communication.

Topics: Google, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, AIM Executive Forum

AIM Testifies at Packed Hearing on Municipal Health Costs

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 8, 2011 12:46:00 PM

AIM Associate Vice President Brad MacDougall testifyed at a packed Beacon Hill hearing today in favor of an AIM bill that would allow municipal officials to negotiate health insurance plan design outside of collective bargaining.

The hearing at Gardner Auditorium drew some 300 spectators to comment on competing proposals to help the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts manage the crushing cost of providing health insurance for employees and retirees. Governor Deval Patrick, the business community, municipal government officials and organized labor have all proposed strategies to address the crisis.

Absent meaningful reform, cities and towns will find themselves swallowed by accelerating health care premiums that are already diverting scarce money from the schools, police, fire, roads and bridges upon which business depends. Rising health premiums consumed two-thirds of all increases in state spending between FY 2000 to FY 2010 and are also diverting desperately needed state education funding from the classrooms where the future of our economy now sits.

"Health care costs are unsustainable," Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll told the hearing minutes ago.

AIM’s Brad MacDougall is at the hearing. Follow his updates on Twitter @aimbusinessnews.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Municipal Reform, Health Care Costs

Business Backs Municipal Officials in Bid to Control Health Costs

Posted by John Regan on Mar 7, 2011 10:45:00 AM

The spiraling cost of health insurance that threatens the economic future of Massachusetts is simultaneously eroding the ability of city and town governments to deliver educational, public safety and other services upon which that economic future depends.

Municipal Health ReformThat’s why Associated Industries of Massachusetts will testify at a legislative hearing tomorrow in favor of a bill we filed - H.2457, An Act Relative to Municipal Health Insurance Reform – that would allow municipal officials to negotiate health insurance plan design outside of collective bargaining.  AIM and a coalition of business groups called Mass Reform First believe that H.2457 provides meaningful short-term relief and long-term cost stability for municipal governments working to provide affordable and accessible care for their employees and retirees.

Absent meaningful reform, the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts will find themselves swallowed by accelerating health care premiums that are already diverting scarce money from schools, police, fire and the maintenance of roads and bridges. Rising health premiums consumed two-thirds of all increases in state spending between FY 2000 to FY 2010 and are also diverting desperately needed state education funding from the classrooms where the future of our economy now sits.

Several communities have even taken the nearly unthinkable step of borrowing money to meet their health insurance obligations.

H.2457 proposes two important legislative reforms to help local governments control the cost of health insurance and preserve essential services:

  • Give local officials the power to design their health insurance plans outside of collective bargaining.
  • Require by statute that all eligible local retirees enroll in Medicare as their primary source of health insurance coverage.

The potential savings from these two changes dwarf those from all other municipal relief proposals.

The business community supports our municipal communities in this matter because employers realize that the financial underpinnings of the health care system must change to ensure the survival and growth of both private and public sectors. Four years after the passage of the landmark Massachusetts Health Reform Act, virtually everyone agrees that the Massachusetts health care market is unsustainable without fundamental changes to the way companies and consumers purchase medical services.

No one knows that better than the Massachusetts employers struggling to provide decent health insurance coverage to their workers in the face of 20 percent, 30 percent and 40 percent annual premium increases. A staggering 97 percent of AIM member employers who responded to a recent survey identified the cost of health care as the primary impediment to economic growth and opportunity in the commonwealth.

AIM commends the Legislature for addressing this issue early in the legislative session.  We also credit the governor for adding a sense of urgency to the issue and affirming our shared goal of lowering health care costs.  The time is now to offer relief and we cannot let the fact that the solutions are hard to implement or disruptive of the status quo be an excuse for not forging ahead to resolve the health care cost crisis.

Topics: Massachusetts Legislature, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Municipal Reform, Health Care Costs

U.S. House Passes Version of 1099 Repeal

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 3, 2011 4:49:00 PM

The United States House of Representatives voted 314-112 today to repeal a provision of the health reform law that would have required businesses to file 1099 tax forms for every vendor that sold them more than $600 worth of goods and services.

Seventy six House Democrats joined a unanimous group of Republicans in supporting H.R. 4, which would offset lost revenue from the repeal by increasing the amount of health insurance subsidies that could be recaptured in cases where a family's income exceed certain thresholds.

Freshman Congressman William Keating was the only member of the Massachusetts delegation to vote on favor of the bill.

The Senate approved a separate version of the 1099 repeal on February 2. House and Senate will now attempt to reconcile the different revenue offset plans contained in the two versions. President Obama has indicated that he supports a 1099 repeal, but has problems with the House bill.

The 1099 mandate, due to take effect in 2013, would require more than 30 million U.S. companies that currently only have to tell the IRS the value of services they purchase from vendors to also report the value of goods and merchandise they purchase. Lawmakers added the 1099 reporting footnote to the federal health reform bill in an effort to fund a portion of the massive overhaul.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts believes the provision would saddle employers with significant administrative and accounting expense at a time when many are already struggling with the soft economy.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Health Care Reform, AIM, U.S. Congress, U.S. House of Representatives

Study: Excessive Regulation Costs Thousands of Massachusetts Jobs

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 3, 2011 2:10:00 PM

Excessive business regulation deprives Massachusetts of more than 26,000 jobs and 1,655 business starts each year, according to a study released yesterday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

State RegulationMassachusetts is among 15 states to earn a “poor” ranking on labor and employment-law issues in the report, entitled The Impact of State Employment Policies on Job Growth: A 50-State Review. The study contends that the mandatory treble damages law in Massachusetts, restrictions on access to the criminal records of job applicants, and other issues inhibit the ability of the commonwealth to compete nationally and create economic growth.

The Chamber report concludes that states such as Massachusetts could boost job growth and encourage the formation of new businesses by creating a less burdensome regulatory climate.  The organization says it does not advocate the elimination of important employment laws, but rather elimination of the duplicative rules that states often pile on top of accepted national standards.

Release of the study came as Massachusetts announced that its unemployment rate remained unchanged in January at 8.3 percent, half a point lower than the national average.

The U.S. Chamber study features an “Employment Regulation Index” measuring the extent of labor and employment regulation in each state, based upon 34 characteristics related to employment (including treatment of covenants not to compete, existence of state minimum wages in excess of federal, and the existence of right-to-work laws). States were then placed into one of three tiers  -  “Good,” “Fair,” and “Poor” - based on their level of labor and employment regulation.

The report attributes Massachusetts’ poor ranking to several factors:

  • Extensive restrictions on pre-hire background checks;
  • Wide-ranging state employment discrimination laws beyond federal requirements;
  • Extensive wage-hour regulation beyond federal requirements;
  • Presumption against independent-contractor status and aggressive enforcement;
  • Three-hour reporting pay requirement;
  • Prevailing and living wage laws; and
  • Notice payment law that can require severance for change in control.

Read the Chamber study here.

Topics: Regulation, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Employment Law

Workers Compensation Success Offers Hope for Health-Care Cost Debate

Posted by Rick Lord on Mar 3, 2011 9:28:00 AM

An intractable problem. Rate increases of 30 percent threatening the stability of employers. Inefficiency and lack of oversight. Multiple groups pushing the system in different directions.

Health care costs in 2011? Nope. Try workers compensation issues in Massachusetts two decades ago.

Workers CompensationLong before health insurance premiums became the defining challenge facing Bay State employers, the Massachusetts workers compensation system reached the point of collapse and nearly took with it a significant portion of the Massachusetts economy.

The close parallels between the workers compensation crisis of 1991 and the health insurance crisis of 2011 provide a glimmer of hope that the same business, government, labor and  professional communities that joined together to resolve workers compensation at the start of the Weld administration can do the same with health care at the dawn of the second Patrick administration.

The workers compensation/health care comparison came to mind this week as the insurance industry and state officials announced an agreement that will keep workers compensation rates unchanged for 18 months. The industry’s Workers Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau initially sought a 6.6 percent increase, but reached an accord with the state Division of Insurance and the attorney general to hold rates steady through August of 2012.

That’s great news for employers struggling with a balky economic recovery. It’s even better news when you consider that average rates paid by employers for workers compensation insurance – which covers the medical treatment and lost wages of employees injured on the job – have dropped more than 60 percent since Governor William Weld signed the landmark reform law on December 23, 1991.

It’s easy to forget that the workers compensation crisis of 1991 was as pervasive and seemingly hopeless as the current discussion surrounding health costs.

Workers’ compensation insurance costs had surged more than 100 percent from 1988 to 1991, raising the cost of insurance in the private marketplace to approximately $1.6 billion, not counting the self-insured market. The substantial benefit increases and sharp rise in claims throughout the late 1980s, coupled with the Division of Insurance’s resistance to providing insurers with the rate adequacy they sought, caused insurers to stop writing voluntary policies.

Companies and workers fled Massachusetts seeking more predictable cost structures in other states. Massachusetts ended up bearing the brunt of a recession that washed away 11.6 percent of the commonwealth’s employment from 1989 to 1992 (365,000 jobs).

The severity of the workers compensation crisis ultimately prompted employers, government and labor to undertake a remarkable reform that became a model for the rest of the country. The 1991 reform act limited benefits that in many cases had exceeded what workers earned while on the job and made administrative reforms to improve the efficiency and fairness of workers compensation cases.

In the interests of full disclosure, as part of our effort to address the crisis, AIM developed a workers compensation insurance company named A.I.M. Mutual. The company  now provides workers compensation coverage to thousands of  employers in Massachusetts representing almost 10 percent of the insured marketplace.

By the mid 1990s, the insurance commissioner began to reduce insurance premiums. Initial claims at the Department of Industrial

Accidents fell from nearly 41,000 per year in 1991 to fewer than 19,000 in 2000. More and more insurers began to offer policies in Massachusetts, helping to create a dynamic market that further reduced costs and enhanced efforts to improve workplace safety and protect employees.

John Gould, my predecessor as president of AIM, wrote at the time that "Passage of the workers' compensation reform in late 1991 was the turning point in what had been the most severe recession our state had seen since the Depression of the 1930's. It is highly encouraging to see that those responsible for this important business overhead area continue in a spirit of cooperation that will serve our economy in the periods ahead."

The same spirit of cooperation will be required to solve a health care cost spiral that is eroding the economic foundations of the commonwealth. Massachusetts again served as a national model with the Health Care Reform Act of 2006, but addressing the costs faced by employers looking to provide health insurance to workers is a daunting challenge filled with doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, world-renowned research institutions and individuals struggling with premiums that seem to accelerate faster each month.

The stakes are enormous. A recent article in the Boston Globe about a Franklin company detailed the degree to which skyrocketing health insurance premiums and other high employment costs discourage small companies from hiring new workers.

But the example of our response to the workers compensation issue makes me optimistic that Massachusetts will again roll up its sleeves to solve a problem that stands in the way of economic opportunity for all our citizens. Leading the nation is nothing new for Massachusetts. Here’s hoping that commentators writing in this space 20 years from now will look back with admiration at the business and political leaders of 2011 who had the courage to create a health-care delivery system that keeps both patients and employers out of intensive care.

Topics: Workers Compensation, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Health Care Costs

Massachusetts Employer Confidence Slips Amid International Concerns

Posted by Andre Mayer on Mar 1, 2011 10:29:00 AM

Confidence among Massachusetts employers dropped last month as political uncertainty abroad stoked concerns about rising energy costs and weaker exports.

AIM Business Confidence IndexThe Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index dropped four points in February to 51.2, leaving it up 7.1 points since February 2010 and 17.9 above the all-time low registered in February 2009. On the Index’s 100-point scale, 50 is neutral and a higher reading indicates predominantly positive sentiment among Massachusetts employers.

“February’s results look much like those of last May, with employers a bit less positive about current conditions but more hopeful for the immediate future,” said Raymond G. Torto, Global Chief Economist at CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. and Chair of AIM's Board of Economic Advisors (BEA).

“The lack of sustained progress since then reflects the long, hard work of repairing a badly damaged economy, and without strong forward momentum any unsettling news or signs – such as the recent global turmoil that could affect exports and energy costs - will drive confidence down. That doesn’t mean conditions aren’t improving – we’re in much better shape than we were two years ago, or even a year ago – but this remains a slow recovery at best.”

Torto added that other indicators are also yielding ambiguous results. “We’re getting mixed messages from the housing market; and while the Conference Board and Mass Insight consumer confidence indexes are up, Bloomberg’s down,” he noted.

Every component of the Business Confidence Index fell in February. The Current Index, assessing overall conditions at the time of the survey, was down 4.9 to 47.5, falling below 50 for the first time since September. The Future Index of prospects for six months ahead shed 3.2 points to 55.1.

Employers' confidence in their own operations likewise weakened. The Company Index, was off 4.5 points to 54.6; the Employment Index lost 1.5 to 52.8; and the Sales Index shed 6.8 to 54.3.

“Employers remain very sensitive to uncertainty, so world events only magnify concerns about the unevenness of the domestic recovery,” noted BEA member Sara L. Johnson, Senior Research Director, Global Economics, at IHS Global Insight.

There were no clear differences between confidence levels among manufacturers (51.9, -3.0) and other employers (50.6, -5.0). “Where we do see a difference is by size,” said Johnson.

“Small employers – but not others – were markedly less positive in February about business conditions for their operations, both current (down from 45 percent ‘good’ to 20 percent) and prospective (down from 53 percent ‘good’ to 29 percent). Small companies are of course more likely to be dependent on conditions within Massachusetts, where growth has slowed, and in many cases they may face more difficulty in waiting out a slow recovery.”

“When we hear that the Fortune 500 companies are bringing in record profits, we must bear in mind that Massachusetts is predominantly a small-employer economy,” commented Richard C. Lord, President and CEO of AIM. “Most of our employment is in smaller companies, and they will have to produce most of the new job creation we hope for. That’s why the negative perspectives of small employers, highlighted by these survey results, are of the utmost concern.”

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, AIM Business Confidence Index

Business at Warp Speed - Get Ready for the New Digital Revolution

Posted by Seth van der Swaagh on Feb 28, 2011 8:30:00 AM

Editor’s note: Seth van der Swaagh is a National Industry Manager for Google. Join us for the AIM Executive Forum March 11 as Seth speaks about the ways companies will survive and prosper in a digital world changing at breakneck speed.


GoogleAll around us, things are accelerating.  People, data and information are moving faster than ever before, accelerating at a pace that defies our understanding of the world and what is (or was thought to be) possible.

4G speeds, Google Instant, Tweets and check-ins, Facebook sign-ups, mobile device activations, video uploads – everything around us is growing and moving at exponential rates.  Consider some of the statistics. In 2008, 300 million people were on social networks.  That number is now more than 900 million.  In 2008, 1.5 million people had visited Twitter.  Last year more than 190 million.  In 2008 Google’s Android mobile platform had just launched.  There are now more than 300,000 Android device activations every day, and that number is growing.  (Check out a really fun video showing the growth of Android here).
 
And consider what has been happening in Middle Eastern countries.  Via mobile phones and social networks, information is spreading and people are organizing at rates never before possible, allowing for rapid mobilization of ideas and massive social change.
 
In this world of constant connectivity, there is no doubt that fast is better than slow.   From a consumer standpoint, you reap the benefits directly – connect to friends all over the world on Facebook, video chat with them on Skype, watch videos of the Grammy awards on YouTube, download Eminem’s latest to your iPod, search on Google for the shoes he wore, buy them on online…wait, sold out online?…check your local retailer’s inventory on Google Product Search, have your Android phone give you directions to your local mall, text your friends that you’ll meet them there, check in on Foursquare when you arrive… and on and on it goes, the flow of digital information accelerating at a rate that seems almost unimaginable.
 
So how do businesses keep up and take part in this digital evolution, nay, revolution?  How do companies make use of this acceleration to reach consumers in meaningful ways?  How do they change their own behaviors to keep up with the world around them?
 
Companies should look to get ahead of the consumer and these digital trends by focusing on 4 key characteristics: Google calls them the "4 Be’s"…

  • Be relevant – mobile is how the world will connect to the Internet in the future.  Mobile will be bigger than desktop in 5 years. Mobile searches grew 500 percent in the last two years.  Mobile is what is relevant for today's and tomorrow's consumer. What is your company’s mobile strategy?  Do you have one?  Can it scale for the future?
  • Be found – Search is still the web’s killer app.  With the proliferation of information, Search is how people find it and make use of it.  Can people find you?  Can they find your business and the products or services you offer? 
  • Be engaging – We no longer live in a push advertising world.  Consumers want and expect a dialog with companies.  Social media like Facebook and Twitter make this possible.  Online video has not only changed the face of entertainment but also the way companies can communicate. Companies and brands need to figure out how to be part of the conversation and how to effectively engage users across the entire spectrum of social media.  What is your social media strategy?  How are you effectively using online video to engage users?
  • Be accountable – the Internet has made real-time marketing a reality.  You can constantly and continuously improve your digital efforts by using powerful analytical tools and the data they provide to make smart decisions.  Things like Google Analytics, Insights for Search and others offer more data than ever before.  How are you using it to make the best decisions for your company?

Success or failure in these four areas will determine your future.  As “screen time” becomes mostly digital, as mobile becomes the norm for the masses, as consumers take more control of the dialog with companies and brands, and as everything becomes more real-time, businesses will need to evolve to keep pace…or run the risk of getting left behind.

Register for Seth's AIM Executive Forum speech here.
 

Topics: Google, Information, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM

NSTAR Finds Inexpensive Wind Power, Bypassing Cape Wind

Posted by Robert Rio on Feb 24, 2011 9:44:00 AM

A proposal by NSTAR to purchase power from three wind energy companies confirms that Massachusetts utilities can provide plentiful amounts of renewable electricity without saddling ratepayers with expensive projects like Cape Wind.

Energy costsNSTAR sought state approval Friday to buy 109 megawatts of electricity from Hoosac Wind of Massachusetts,  Groton Wind of New Hampshire and Blue Sky East of Maine. The competitively bid contracts range between 10 and 15 years and together represent 1.6 percent of the total demand from NStar’s 1.1 million customers in 81 eastern Massachusetts communities.

A price was not disclosed, but independent estimates put the cost at less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

NSTAR did not purchase electricity from the proposed 130-turbine Cape Wind project, which last year signed a contract to sell power to the utility National Grid at an average price of 24 cents per kilowatt hour over 15 years. AIM has aggressively opposed the Cape Wind deal with National Grid because it would add thousands of dollars to the monthly electric bills of Massachusetts employers when less expensive alternatives exist for renewable power.

AIM is currently appealing the commonwealth’s approval of the Cape Wind/National Grid agreement to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Submission of the three proposed power agreements by NSTAR was made under The Green Communities Act of 2008, which requires all utilities in Massachusetts to seek and sign long-term contracts  of 10 to 15 years for electricity from “renewables” for up to 3 percent of total demand. NSTAR used an arm’s length competitive bidding process with strict criteria to evaluate bids received and was not biased to any specific renewable technology or siting location.

The company received 23 times more in bids for supply than was needed, reflecting ample competition to develop and build cost effective renewable generation.

“AIM applauds NSTAR for its approach in soliciting the bids for renewable energy, for its attention to the needs of and impact of such contracts on ratepayers, and for the excellent price and terms it got for the renewable supply,” said Robert Ruddock, Special Counsel for AIM.

“The price is firm and fixed for the length of each of the three contracts with no annual cost increases. That means no surprises for businesses and residents when the open their electric bills.”

Ruddock said the NSTAR filings show that the contracts are cost effective against expected costs for renewable power now and in the future – some $111 million less than projected future renewable costs.

By contrast, the National Grid/Cape Wind contract is $1.2 billion above the projected costs of renewable power in the future, has an annual escalator for the 15 years of the contract, was not the result of a transparent open competitive bidding process, and is focused on one specific technology and location. 

AIM has argued for months that customers of National Grid face needless increases in their monthly bills because the utility has decided to pay a premium price for electricity from Cape Wind instead of buying much cheaper renewable power available from other sources.

The numbers confirm that AIM has been right on the money to identify Cape Wind as an overpriced  project that represents one the largest potential transfers of wealth from productive sectors of the economy to a single private developer. The recent competitive electricity bids provide the good news that Massachusetts can move toward a future of wind and renewable power without bankrupting the rest of the economy and the jobs that go with it.

Why is all this so important?

The Beacon Hill Institute, the research arm of the Department of Economics at Suffolk University in Boston, recently confirmed AIM’s ongoing concerns about the cumulative cost of mandated green-energy programs in Massachusetts. The report, entitled The High Cost of Green Energy Programs in Massachusetts, estimates  that the commonwealth’s “green” policies will increase the electric bills of Massachusetts ratepayers by $9.8 billion, or 2.6 cents per kilowatt hour, over the next decade.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Energy, Cape Wind

Massachusetts Seeks to Improve Math, Science, Technology Education

Posted by Andre Mayer on Feb 23, 2011 9:22:00 AM

The Massachusetts economy relies upon a workforce of world-class science, technology, engineering, and math professionals, yet every year thousands of promising young people – particularly black and Hispanic students, female students, and students from low-income families - leave high school without having taken the challenging courses required to succeed in these fields.

Science Technology Engineering & MathAIM has signed on as a lead association partner of the Mass Math + Science Initiative (MMSI) a five-year, $30 million initiative to expand access and improve outcomes in college-level Advanced Placement high school courses.  MMSI is the state's largest high school math and science program aimed at underserved students, involving 45 public high schools across Massachusetts. The MMSI approach includes extensive teacher training and mentoring, tutoring and other academic supports for students, as well as privately-funded financial awards for teachers and students. Schools participating in the program sign performance agreements with MMSI, which include annual enrollment and achievement targets.

MMSI was launched by Mass Insight Education in partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as part of the National Math and Science Initiative.  Massachusetts is one of six states selected to participate in this innovative privately-funded program.  In its first three years, MMSI has increased AP enrollments in participating schools from about 4,000 to more than 8,000 today.

The challenge we face is highlighted by a recent report from the College Board showing that while Massachusetts ranks high (5th) among the states in overall Advanced Placement (AP) participation and performance, it lags on measures for equity for Hispanic (48th) and African-American (17th) students.  These two groups accounted for 18.1 percent of the class of 2010 in the state’s high schools, but only 7.3 percent of successful AP test-takers.

Researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, analyzing the AP data, found that the 21 high schools that have participated in the Mass Math + Science Initiative over the past two years demonstrated significant progress toward closing achievement gaps with regard to race, income and gender. The race gap in performance between non-minority and minority students, conditional on gender and income, more than halves for MMSI schools; the gender gap is nearly halved; and the effect of income is reduced by almost two-thirds.

AIM believes that the continuation and expansion of such efforts throughout Massachusetts must be a priority as we consider the long-term future of our commonwealth.

For more information about MMSI, visit www.massinsight.org/mmsi.

Topics: Science Technology Engineering & Math, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Education

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