Industry Associations Talk with Labor Department

I was a little disappointed when I read a press release about ASAE and MPI's latest salvo in their ongoing efforts to elevate the meetings profession in the public eye. It's great that American Society of Association Executives President and CEO John Graham IV, and Meeting Professionals International President and CEO Colin Rorrie, Jr., PhD, met with officials at the U.S. Labor Department last week to try to make them aware of the economic value of meetings, and that that value is delivered by those who plan the meetings.

According to a press release, “Labor Department officials expressed interest in continuing a discussion on this issue, adding that the hospitality industry, with its close ties to meetings and conventions, is one of 12 sectors identified as part of the Bush administration’s ‘High Growth Job Training Initiative.’ This initiative was launched on Labor Day 2003 to prepare workers to take advantage of new and increasing job opportunities in high-growth, high-demand sectors of the U.S. economy.”

I guess I was hoping that meetings/conventions biz would have more stature on their own in the Labor people's eyes, not just as a tie-in to the airlines and hospitality. We still have a long way to go, obviously.

But it is a good sign that MPI contributed to the Meeting and Convention Planners statement for the 2006-07 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This will be the first time a statement from planners will be included in the handbook. MPI and ASAE also are speaking with the recently-named president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), Roger Dow, to look for ways to continue to collaborate on efforts to keep the U.S. travel and meetings business healthy.

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