By MICHAEL VALLANT
The September jobs report noted that the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% and in September alone, 136,000 new jobs were added, a total of over 6 million jobs since January 2017. This rapid job creation growth requires a creative approach to training a workforce to fill newly created jobs.
Just a day before the jobs report’s welcoming news, Google joined the White House Job Training Initiative by pledging to help train a quarter of a million people for technology jobs. The goal of the initiative is to increase the number of skilled workers at a time when many businesses are expanding yet facing a gap of qualified help.
The U.S. Small Business Administration continues to prioritize economic expansion through new business startups, assisting small business as they scale up their business, export to international markets, and train America’s workforce for on-demand skilled jobs.
SBA’s approach includes providing competitive grants to organizations training today’s workforce. Recently, SBA awarded $150,000 to Workshops for Warriors, located in San Diego, to provide quality training, accredited STEM educational programs, and opportunities to earn nationally recognized credentials to veterans and transitioning service members in their chosen advanced manufacturing career field.
SBA counseling assistance also supports businesses that are opening up e-commerce shops and scaling up their business. For example, businesses like All Industrial Tool Supply, a full-service distributor of metalworking tools and industrial supplies headquartered in Huntington Beach, started out of Jeffrey Perry’s spare bedroom and a corner of his garage in 2010.
With exploding e-commerce sales during the 2012 holiday buying season, Perry and his two employees were not prepared to deliver on the strict online retailer fulfillment schedule and manage the local business at the same time. This motivated Perry to leverage free and low-cost resources such as SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program, Orange County SCORE’s mentoring services and their CEO Forum. These programs provided professional support tools, business training, and management education to unleash the company’s potential leading to considerable growth across the company.
All Industrial Tool Supply has since grown into an e-commerce leader and a partner to Southern California manufacturers with an outside sales staff. The company now supports 17 employees and 9,000 square feet of inventory space to provide metalworking tools and industrial supplies worldwide. In addition, Perry donates tools to local vocational schools and nonprofit organizations.
SBA understands that each small business has unique needs. 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 www.sba.gov.
— Michael Vallant is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s associate administrator for the Office of Field Operations, overseeing the 68 district offices and nine regional administrators; and regional administrator for Region IX, overseeing the agency’s programs and services in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam.