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Why do small businesses matter?

While a single, small business may not generate as much money as a large corporation, it is a critical component of and major contributor to the strength of local economies and local communities. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration :

n The 23 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales.

n Small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.

n The 600,000 plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40 percent of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people.

n The small business sector in America occupies 30-50 percent of all commercial space, an estimated 20-34 billion square feet.

n The number of small businesses in the United States has increased 49 percent since 1982.

Challenges

Adding to these statistics is the pessimism of small business owners. As reported in the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, one in five small business owners expects to decrease the number of jobs at their company over the next 12 months — the largest percentage since the inception of the index in 2003. One in four owners report a reduction in the number of jobs at their company over the past 12 months. This represents the largest percentage since the fourth quarter of 2010.

Solutions

Small business owners understand that there is a point of diminished returns where lost productivity due to a lack of labor negatively affects their profit margin. But, are small businesses aware of the “sweet spot” for hiring an additional worker and/or the public resources that are available to support that hiring process?

To return America to economic prosperity, it’s going to take a substantial collaborative effort to support small businesses in overcoming challenges in business expansion. This is where Just Add One can support small businesses in moving into expansion mode.

Just Add One is an initiative coordinated by the National Association of Workforce Boards that builds a collaborative “franchise-type” network of community members across the country that work collectively within their respective labor markets to provide small businesses with tools, strategies and solutions to help them “add just one” worker, whether that’s a full-time employee with benefits, a part-time, seasonal or contract worker, or an entrepreneur starting a new business. All of these contribute to getting America working again.

Every market has unique factors and needs. Jobs in demand are ultimately determined by the businesses that comprise a region. Some markets are highly seasonal, while others depend on full-time or contracted workers. Whatever the scenario, when businesses succeed and grow, so does their need to add workers, and grow the economy. Nevada’s economy is unique. Consider a comparison to the U.S. and an overview of the labor market as of April 2013. (See below.)

Nevada’s plans for economic development require a strong partnership with the state’s educational system and workforce training programs. This requires education and skills necessary to fill high-quality jobs. Nevada’s renewed focus on the development of a knowledge-based and technologically advanced economy presents great promise for good and sustainable jobs. Consider the following sectors targeted for growth, for growth by sector year-to-date and employment forecast:

n Agriculture

n Aerospace and defense

n Energy

n Health care

n IT

n Logistics and operations

n Manufacturing

n Mining

n Tourism, Gaming & Hospitality

While encouraging news, how do we address the skills gap for Nevadans who have never worked, have been displaced or are having to come out of retirement in order to survive? Imagine if every business in America would just add one worker

Enter Workforce Connections, the Southern Nevada Workforce Investment Board. Workforce Connections partners with a wide array of employers and agencies dedicated to investing in the future of our communities. We serve the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City, and the counties of Clark, Lincoln, Nye and Esmeralda.

Its vision is that all Southern Nevadans have the tools to succeed in the workplace. Its mission is to establish dynamic partnerships with employers and the community to connect employment opportunities, education and job training.

Workforce Connections distributes funds earmarked for training, apprenticeships and other viable approaches designed to couple the right workers with the right employers. It works with relevant agencies and organizations to connect those looking for a job with the best resources available so that they can make a difference in their own lives.

What Are The Benefits To Just Add One?

The ripple effect of each small business adding just one worker supports America’s need for job creation, building sustainable wages for American families, and reducing unemployment rates, while providing a mechanism to align businesses, industry associations, workforce investment boards, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, community colleges and community-based organizations to create unique strategies to help local small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed.

How Does It Work?

The Silver State Works initiative was designed to create an opportunity for employers to help strengthen Nevada’s economy while receiving incentives to hire pre-screened qualified workers to staff their businesses. To ensure employers have the broadest range of choices, the selection of one of three options is available:

1) Employer-Based Training

This component allows laid-off workers who qualify for unemployment insurance benefits to simultaneously receive on-site workplace training and regular unemployment benefits. It provides a special training allowance of $200 every two weeks for a maximum of $600.

2) Employer Incentive Job Program

Under this component, employers enter into a contract that establishes the agreed upon wage, number of hours to master the tasks and the maximum amount of reimbursement based on the wage paid. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of 50 percent of the participant’s initial agreed upon gross wage for the contract period and a maximum of 40 hours per week.

3) Incentive-Based Employment

This component supports employers who hire and retain eligible individuals in full-time employment by providing a wage and training subsidy based on the total amount of time the qualified individual remains actively employed. Upon completion and satisfaction of certain requirements, the employer may receive a wage retention supplement — on average up to $2,000 — payable in four equal increments of $500 after each 30 days of successful employment, up to 120 days.

Who Can Just Add One?

How do we sustain the growth? What if every business in America did just add one worker?

Workforce Connections can help define future business by supplying candidates who possess the skills and training needed and training services designed to upgrade skills to help retain qualified employees. It focuses on workforce development to save business owners time, money and effort in building a team that will support business goals. How?

n Recruit or refer candidates

Workforce Connections partners with educational, training and service agencies who prepare candidates for the workplace. Businesses can take advantage of programs for upgrading skills, obtaining equipment certification and industry specific initiatives.

n On the job training

Shorthanded? Bogged down with administrative tasks instead of growing your company? Looking for a work ready employee with specific skills? It’s possible to take your business to the next level by participating in Workforce Connections’ On the Job Training programs that place workers with subsidized wages for a defined period to help you get back to work and give them hands-on experience. Consider the following success stories of Workforce Connections partners:

Foundation For An Independent Tomorrow (FIT)

When David first came to FIT he was working part time at a local convenience store as a cashier, making minimum wage. David’s goal was to find employment with a high enough wage so that he could pay his monthly bills without assistance from his family, but he lacked the skills needed to do so. After assessing David, completing vocational research and developing a case plan, he made the brave decision to go back to school.

David decided that pursuing a career in HVAC would provide him with the best opportunity to achieve his goals. David has not only been able to start training, but after just a few weeks was hired at a local heating and air conditioning company making $10 an hour. After he successfully completes training and gets his certification, David has been told that his wage will increase significantly. So David is not only being trained by his school, but is also getting hands-on experience at his job.

Nevada Partners Inc.

Mr. Jarman came to Nevada Partners seeking employment assistance, so he met with a counselor and staffing consultant to conduct an initial assessment and discussed additional job interests. Mr. Jarman indicated at his last job he was employed as a cashier/cook earning $ 8.25 an hour. Mr. Jarman informed our staff he is currently in bachelor’s program for psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is living with a family member until he is able to become self-sufficient. The client was in need of immediate employment to continue his education and establish sustainability.

Nevada Partners’ staffing consultant was able to provide an on-the-job training opportunity as a behavioral aide by paying 50 percent of the wages for a short period of time. Once Mr. Jarman completed the program, he was hired as a full time employee earning $15 an hour. Mr. Jarman stated this position not only provided him with a good salary but also helped him gain additional skills to utilize once he receives his degree. Workforce Investment Act services are changing lives.

Where Can You Get More Information?

Whether you are affiliated with a business and industry association, city and county government, chamber of commerce, regional development authority or education, Nevada’s first comprehensive One-Stop Career Center can assist with training and employment needs. Via a network of employment, training and educational programs in Southern Nevada, the One Stop Career Center will bridge the gap between employer and job seeker by providing skills assessment, training and connecting qualified applicants with job openings.

Scheduled to open June 28, the One Stop Career Center will help employers with:

n Financial incentives for training

n Hiring events

n Labor market information

n Training for new and incumbent workers

n Testing and assessment

n Labor market information

n Rapid response for plant closures

n Unemployment insurance

n Prescreening job applicants and referral

The One-Stop Career Center is located at 6330 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 190 . For more information contact a member of the staff at 702-822-4200.

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