Small Stanislaus businesses can get help

mrowland@modbee.comMay 7, 2013 

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— Small businesses on the verge of laying off workers can apply for free consultation from the Stanislaus Economic Development & Workforce Alliance.

The alliance has restarted a program through its Small Business Development Center to help Stanislaus County employers with three or more employees avoid layoffs. The program first was launched in 2010 and helped 51 employers over a 19-month period in the region.

The return of the Employer Assistance Program comes courtesy of $50,000 in federal and state Rapid Response funding through the Workforce Investment Act.

The money will go toward providing free business consulting services to employers in need. The Small Business Development Center contracts with 25 regional business consultants. The funds will go to pay for 1,000 hours of one-on-one consulting in a variety of professional services. These include strategic planning, market development, profitability analysis, cash flow improvement, human resource management and technology solutions.

"If businesses are considering going in the direction of letting people go, we want to try to help salvage their company," said Alliance public relations manager Alisha Cruz. "This is a great way for them to not have to consider doing layoffs."

The program will continue until the funding for consulting is exhausted.

The 2010 program provided 3,790 hours of professional consulting and more than 100 hours of business training. SBDC Director Kurt Clark said it helped some 4,200 employees who were identified as at-risk retain their jobs and added 86 jobs. Four of the 51 businesses helped went out of business by the time the program ended in September 2011.

To receive more information on the Employer Assistance Program, contact the Alliance SBDC at (209) 567-4910.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on Twitter, @TurlockNow.

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