About the Chamber
The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce is a local, community-based Chamber focused on serving residents and businesses in the Bethlehem hamlets of Delmar, Elsmere, Glenmont, Slingerlands, North and South Bethlehem, Selkirk and surrounding area.
Established in 1957, the Bethlehem Chamber is the voice of business, helping its members grow. We promote collaboration between business, government, and community groups. We strive to keep businesses informed about regulations and news pertinent to doing business in New York.
In addition, the Chamber works on a local and regional level to advance economic development for our town and the region. Through partnerships with local, county and state officials and community organizations, the Chamber works to foster a positive business environment in Bethlehem and the surrounding region.
The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce supports its members and the community creating a positive business environment through education, government relations, promotion and advocacy services.
In the fall of 2021 the board and staff of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce participated in a strategic planning retreat. Prior to the retreat the staff surveyed the membership about their needs and concerns facing their businesses. During the retreat the board learned that the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce is made up of 400 member businesses representing 27 different zip codes in the Capital Region. As the Chamber celebrates its 65th anniversary the board has adopted this strategic plan that will guide the Chamber over the next three years.
Goal 1: Maintain and expand a robust membership by providing relevant and valuable programs and services
Strategy A: Expand the Chamber’s member recruitment and retention efforts
Strategy B: Understand the number of businesses in our footprint
Goal 2: Provide excellent communication to members utilizing a variety of communication channels
Strategy A: Continue to provide relevant information to members while expanding our reach
Strategy B: Facilitate opportunities for member to member communication
Strategy C: Expand our communication with the greater Bethlehem community.
Strategy D: Improve the language we use in our communications
Goal 3 Revitalize the Chamber’s Government Affairs initiatives to provide our members with a voice in legislative affairs
Strategy A: Empower the Government Affairs Committee to determine and communicate legislative priorities
Strategy B: Provide members with opportunities to communicate with elected officials
Strategy C: Communicate to the community what the Chamber’s role is in legislative affairs
Strategy D Continue to be proactive in communicating with government officials
Goal 4 Provide a robust slate of varied, relevant, programs and services
Strategy A: Develop programs that drive consumers to local businesses
Strategy B Offer programs that assist businesses in operating in New York State
Strategy C Offer programs that educate the community on topics of importance to businesses
Strategy D Offer programs that provide members with information they need to make the most of their membership
Strategy E Continue to strive to provide relevant programming to members
Goal 5 Provide Workforce Development opportunities to create a robust pipeline of available employees to local businesses including manufacturers, trades, hospitality, and retail.
Strategy A Continue to enhance our relationship with local school districts so that students are educated on the variety of careers that exist
Strategy B Work with local businesses and school districts on soft skills development to lead to successful employment
Goal 6 Continue to have an effective and engaged board that represents our membership while providing exemplary governance
Strategy A Create an annual review of board member responsibilities
Strategy B Create financial reports that provide the information board members need
Strategy C Develop opportunities to utilize the experience and talent of the board
Strategy D Assist the president in creating diversified revenue streams
Strategy E Develop a pipeline of potential new board members
The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce favors policies that encourage employers to create market driven compensation packages that allow them the flexibility and creativity to recruit the best talent for their industry. It is the Chamber’s position that government mandated wages and benefits is a one size fits all approach that can stifle business.
The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce favors policies that allows individuals and businesses the opportunities to make choices in both their health care and their health insurance. Government run health care like the New York Health Act would negatively impact people’s access to healthcare, drive up healthcare costs, and negatively impact businesses’ ability to manage health care costs. In addition, the New York Health Act would impose massive tax increases on employers as well as individuals. For this reason, the Chamber is opposed to the New York Health Act.
The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce believes strong relationships between local government and business are critical to economic development. For this reason we support policies, procedures and programs that encourage relationships between business and local government.
The town of Bethlehem is experiencing unprecedented economic growth with 1600 new jobs being created at Plug Power and 700 new jobs coming to the Port of Albany. These new jobs are in addition to the current jobs that are unfilled in our local businesses. We believe the town of Bethlehem is both a great place to live AND work. We believe it leads to a better quality of life for employees when they can live in the communities where they work. We also understand that there are a wide range of people in the workforce from people just starting their careers to those wishing to retire. In addition today’s workforce is diverse representing people with all abilities. For these reasons we support a full range of residential housing options including multi family, supportive housing, senior housing and workforce housing. We believe that policies that allow for the creation of robust housing options will allow for economic growth in our community.
As those who run businesses in this community we are familiar with the regulations, taxes, and fees on industry in New York State. The Bethlehem Chamber favors policies that encourage businesses to operate in the state. We oppose additional taxes, fees, and regulations that make operating a business burdensome and provide an advantage to businesses in other states.