March 11, 2021
ABILENE CITY COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA - MORNING OF 3/11
Abilene City Council will meet this morning at 8:30 am at City Hall. You can find the full agenda here and watch online here.  
FEBRUARY JOBS NUMBERS INDICATES WE’RE HEADED BACK IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the February jobs report. It showed the economy added 379,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.2% from 6.3%. The labor force grew by 50,000 and wages rose 0.2%. Given the slowing of the labor market in recent months, this was an encouraging report that indicates we are headed back in the right direction.
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the February jobs report. It showed the economy added 379,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.2% from 6.3%. The labor force grew by 50,000 and wages rose 0.2%. Given the slowing of the labor market in recent months, this was an encouraging report that indicates we are headed back in the right direction.

By the numbers: The report was even stronger than the topline data. BLS revised up December and January job growth by 38,000. Further, private sector job growth in February was 465,000. Government shed 86,000 jobs, mostly at the state and local government level in education (-69,000). The drag education is putting on the labor market is compounded by the fact that school closures are also keeping many parents, mostly women, out of the labor force. It is absolutely essential to open the schools for faster healing of the labor market.

But: With the 379,000 new jobs in February, there are still 9.5 million fewer jobs in the economy than there were in February of 2020, prior to the pandemic. The unemployment rate will decline faster than this gap because the labor force will remain smaller than it was before COVID-19. It will take several years for total employment to match the 152.5 million jobs that existed just a year ago.
—Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
SBA SHARES PRELIMINARY APPLICATION CHECKLIST FOR SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATORS GRANT PROGRAM
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has shared its preliminary checklist for the new Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program. The SVO Grant program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020. The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Learn the program details, eligibility requirements, and much more!

NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE SMALL BUSINESS FOR THIS YEAR'S SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS
You interact with hundreds of businesses each week. Now, think of those that are doing exceptional work, whose contributions to our community are elevating our region and who make your life just a little bit better. Got them in mind? Nominate them for the Small Business Awards Luncheon sponsored by America's SBDC at Texas Tech, Keep It Local Driven by First Financial Bank, Star Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and Hyundai.

Deadline is March 31

NEW BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD The New Business of the Year Award is to recognize a new business Chamber member operating for more than one year and less than three years that has gained an expanding positive reputation. Nominees must have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees. Judging for this award will be based on potential community impact, use of innovation and technology as well as business growth.

SMALL BUSINESS YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR Chamber member, business owner who has owned their business for more than one year, under the age of 40 who has taken risks in business – started a new venture; expanded into a new area; taken on a difficult project; someone whose thinking is “outside the box”; an astute businessperson with a vision for the future.

THE COMMUNITY INVESTMENT AWARD is to recognize a local Chamber member business with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, for its outstanding community service contributions such as special programs, partnerships, in-kind support of goods and services, employee volunteerism or other activities that have resulted in a positive impact on our community and citizens. Judges will consider all nominees for their impact, creativity, commitment and employee participation.

FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD This award honors a family-owned and operated business with less than 25 full-time employees. The owner must also serve as a majority owner and operator or bear principal responsibility for operating a small business with at least 10 years. They must demonstrate increased employment opportunities for family members and non-family members.

ASSISTANCE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES FOR MUSIC INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS AFFECTED BY COVID-19
We've updated our master list of Grants, Loans, & Resources List to include the City of San Antonio's Individual Artist Grants. Launching today, March 9, 2021, this grant program provides $5,000 to San Antonio artists of all genres for the creation of new works presented to the San Antonio community. Link to full details and grants, loans, and pandemic assistance grants can be found via the "learn more" link below. 

You don't want to miss these upcoming events for
your business.

MARCH 17 BUSINESS EDGE: Remote Work: Infrastructure Needs
Most companies in the last year were thrust into the decision to have more flexibility when it came to remote vs office work. In this month’s Business Edge, we’ll explore the infrastructure needs businesses need to be successful with our partners from Datroo Technologies. Register here.

MARCH 18 BUSINESS BEFORE AFTER HOURS SPONSORED BY TOLAR SYSTEMS, INC. Monthly evening social business networking event. Open to sponsor employees and guests, Chamber members and prospective members. Features a short presentation and update on Chamber activities. Register here.

MARCH 24 SECURITY AWARENESS Did you know your team is your first line of defense when it comes to your business’s cybersecurity? Learn how to boost your defenses by training your team on Security Awareness. This virtual webinar is free and open to the public. Register here.

MARCH 25 & 26, APRIL 1 & 2 ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL PHILANTHROPY VIRTUAL TRAINING SERIES The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission are leading this series on development training suited for large and small organizations from any discipline with limited development staff. They will highlight the best practices while facilitating dynamic group interactions to help attendees build and strengthen their fundraising "tool-kit" so they can more effectively and sustainably achieve their mission. Click Here to learn more and Click Here to Register Now.

APRIL 13 GOVERNMENT CONTRACT TRAINING Have interest in working with the government? Want to learn more about proposal writing techniques and pricing methods? Join us for this full day workshop on April 13 8:00 am - 4:00 pm featuring Sandra Burns, CEO, and Greg Hansen, CFO, of Project Solutions, Inc (PSI). Register here.