By Michael Vallante
American’s workforce is 157 million strong, with over 7 million job openings. Entrepreneurship continues to fuel hiring, creating more job openings than the number of people looking for work.
This labor shortage, particularly skilled labor, is a top concern for small businesses. That is why a year ago, the Trump administration made a commitment to America’s workers to create new economic opportunity for the American people.
Hundreds of companies have pledged support for this initiative, committing to millions of new opportunities for American workers through apprenticeships, education and on-the-job training.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is committed to supporting efforts to develop America’s workforce. The SBA is hosting a competitive million-dollar grant competition for Makerspaces; funding innovation clusters, such as Arizona’s hub of the optics industry; and providing intensive executive-level education and training to small business owners seeking to accelerate and grow their business through the Emerging Leaders Initiative.
I’m amazed to learn about the innovative ways entrepreneurs are growing their business while at the same time providing on the job-training for skilled jobs.
For example, VetPowered, a small business located in San Diego, trains transitioning service members through its nonprofit Workshops for Warriors. It’s the only 501(c)3 in the nation that prepares veterans and wounded warriors for advanced manufacturing careers through training, certification and job placement at no cost to service members.
VetPowered reached out to the SBA to obtain funding and get support from SBA lending and resource partners. The company recently received certification as a federal contractor under the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, which helps disadvantaged businesses compete for federal contracts.
The growing company has its sights set on providing skilled technicians to work on building and maintaining Navy ships.
The SBA is committed to supporting entrepreneurs who are educating, training and creating jobs for skilled workers. SBA district offices and resource partners such as Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Development Centers, SCORE chapters or Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers can be found at sba.gov.
Michael Vallante is regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region IX. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam.
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