Workforce Assistance 

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Businesses are facing increasing pressures to maintain operational margins. Previous articles have looked into various ways to maintain margins through recording and measuring financial performance. These have all been related to cash flow, market acquisition, accounting and analyzing financial statements to determine specific areas where entrepreneurs can improve operations in order to regain healthy margins. These internal operational adjustments are important steps to take, but may not be enough to fully make the needed profitability goals. It is heartening that external sources of assistance are available as well. It is important to take advantage of all the available resources in order to survive the economic weaknesses currently being experienced.

Assistance programs from the public sector are available and currently funded to aide employers to hire and retain employees. This article explores some of these programs made available to companies that wish to take advantage of the opportunities to reduce the costs involved with hiring, training and retaining employees, regardless of company size.

To start with, I would like to highlight the services the SOU Small Business Development Center (SBDC) brings to the hiring process as well as compliance with the rules and regulations for hiring and retaining employees in Oregon. The SOU SBDC has an HR specialist on staff who can work with you 1:1 to help you with your employment questions. They can be reached at:

Contact WorkSource Oregon Rogue Valley for job postings, wage analyses, labor market information, and for assisting in the recruitment, incumbent work training and programs, and with the interview process. The business team can also assist with various programs for training, layoff aversion, tax credits, hiring and retention. Many opportunities are becoming available for diversity and inclusion and working with distressed and/or underserved populations, such as minorities, women-owned businesses and veteran employment services.  The business team is your contact to other industry and community partners, they assist in making connections vital to your business.

For employees, they can assist in training, assessing skills, and provide work experience opportunities and partial wage reimbursement for OJT employees. WorkSource Oregon Rogue Valley can be contacted through their website:

Contact them to see what kinds of internships and training options they currently have funding to support. Look  HERE to see the programs they list on their site.

Through Equus Workforce Solutions, the JOBS Plus program assists employers and entry-level employees to be able to afford and support workforce development needs. Participating employers are reimbursed at the Oregon minimum wage, plus payroll taxes and workers compensation costs, for the first month of the six month JOBS Plus period, and minimum wage minus one dollar for the remaining five months. If you are considering hiring and would like some assistance with bringing-on affordable employees, the JOBS Plus program might be a good solution for your needs. The dollar per hour is placed into a separate education fund that the JOBS Plus participant can access after the program for continued education expenses. For additional information and to connect with the JOBS Plus program, please contact Daniel Scotton at: or directly at:

Regardless of how you plan to staff your business, the resources mentioned in this article are available to you, in many cases without cost, to assist you in hiring and retaining qualified employees. Typically, these programs are accessed by larger companies, but they are available to all businesses, and may actually be of higher value to smaller employers than larger ones. They are worth looking into and considering as part of any well-rounded HR plan.

Bringing a strategic approach to business development through the leveraging of public funds for employee recruitment, training, and retention can be a sound strategy for maintaining viability and profitability through the upcoming year, if you take a moment and connect with these programs for assistance. Good Luck!

Marshall Doak is the Director of the Southern Oregon University Small Business Development Center and a huge supporter of innovation and the community that forms around innovation in the economy. In private practice, he works with businesses that plan to transition to new ownership within the next five years, assisting them to build value that can be converted to retirement income when the business sells. He can be reached through: or 541-646-4126.

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