SBA to Increase Maximum Limit for Disaster Loans Starting Next Week

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Opens April 8

National Skills Coalition Leads Push for $100 Billion in Workforce Investments

Main Street Now Virtual Conference for Small Business

Rubicon Connects Jobseeker With Training That Leads to HR Position

Labor-Market Update

WDB Board Member Kwame Reed Expanding on Economic Development Role
Funding opportunities for small business are opening up and expanding this month, as state and national organizations push for an infusion of money for job training, layoff aversion and other workforce development efforts. We share that information, along with other helpful resources, in this edition.

Patience Ofodu, Interim Executive Director, WDBCCC
Starting the week of April 6, the U.S. Small Business Administration will raise the loan limit for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program from 6 months of economic injury, with a maximum loan amount of $150,000, to up to 24 months of economic injury, with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.
Small Business Disaster Relief
Learn more about the increase and where to direct questions about SBA COVID-19 EIDL and disaster loan payments by visiting the SBA website
The SBA will begin accepting Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) applications April 8. Check out the grant portal in advance of the application opening.

Before you apply, be sure to take advantage of these tools to help you prepare:

A group of 70 state and national organizations – led by the National Skills Coalition – sent a letter to President Joe Biden, calling for $100 billion in workforce investments in the next coronavirus response package. The letter requests $35 billion for job training as part of any investments in infrastructure, manufacturing or clean energy; $15 billion for layoff aversion strategies; and $50 billion for teaching new skills to unemployed and underemployed workers and those at risk of losing their jobs. 

Click here to read the press release.
To support small business owners as they look ahead to recovery, the virtual Main Street Now Conference on April 12-14 will offer an engaging and informative day of sessions with content designed uniquely for small business owners.
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Small Business Day, held April 13, will provide attendees with guidance and actionable insight to help entrepreneurs move forward in our continuously changing commerce landscape. Small Business Day attendees will have access to sessions ranging from live, interactive workshops with retail experts and plenaries with thought leaders to a happy hour with fellow entrepreneurs. Visit the website to learn more and register.
Other Upcoming Events:

  • April 15, 2021 – East Bay Leadership Council Signature Event with Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Gould, about how employers can lead successful equity initiatives and create better, more human organizations coming out of COVID-19. Register

  • April 15, 2021 – WDB and California Economic Development Department’s laid off/furloughed employee resources webinar for individuals who have lost their job or been furloughed because of the pandemic. Get your questions about insurance workforce services, unemployment insurance (UI) and healthcare coverage answered. Register
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Rubicon Success Story
Prior to connecting with Rubicon for employment and training assistance, Afshin Azarmanesh was applying for job opportunities in human resources with no success. After enrolling in the Workforce & Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) program through the Concord America’s Job Center of California (AJCC), his Career Coach helped him identify an approved training program in human resources management through the University of La Verne. 

In the program, he was able to increase his knowledge of California labor laws, which allowed him to become a more qualified and competitive candidate for opportunities in the HR field. This led to his being offered an opportunity as an HR generalist with an engineering consulting company soon after completing training. 

While he would eventually like to pursue further certifications in the field, Afshin plans to focus on his job for the time being. 

“With the great help of Rubicon and my Career Coach (Victoria Clark), I got the support needed to find the path that would reach my goal,” Afshin said. “I count myself lucky that in the toughest times there is a star that keeps you going, which I am grateful for.”
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April 2021 LMI Graphic
Board Spotlight
Kwame Reed headshot
Kwame Reed, Economic Development Director for the City of Antioch, joined the WDB Board last summer to support the workforce and help bring greater recognition to East Contra Costa County. 

“I wanted to take it upon myself to really try to bring emphasis to our region, not just Antioch but to East Contra Costa County,” he said.

To his role on the board, Reed brings a career’s worth of economic development experience, which helps as he works to ensure that employers and employees are getting the right information they need, whether a company is preparing for a hiring surge or preparing to downsize - or close their doors. Important to Reed is that the Contra Costa County workforce knows that the WDB offers readily available information – often for free – to help meet their needs.

Having worked in the public sector for most of his career, Reed said transitioning to the WDB to work with private-sector businesses took some transitioning. Through his economic development work, he had become familiar with smaller businesses and their needs and being in his current role on the board has allowed him to expand and learn more about the needs of larger enterprises.

“It’s really interesting to learn, being in my role, how I can support the private industry,” he said. “As working for the city, we do work with the private companies, but seeing the makeup of the people who are on the workforce development board, I'm getting an understanding of how we can support the larger aspects of a company, whether a company is retracting or expanding on a much larger scale.” 

When he isn’t working or serving on the board, Reed, a husband and father of three, enjoys time with family and playing the role of “Dad Chauffeur,” with the family’s Giant Schnauzer, Abena, in tow.
Bounce Back Contra Costa