From the June 1998 issue of Entrepreneur

Finding qualified employees is often a time-consuming process. But a new Internet-based system could simplify your search. The system, which debuted in March, is comprised of the following services:

  • America's Job Bank is a listing of available jobs filed at the offices of state employment services nationwide. Employers may also list available positions directly on the site. There is no charge to list a job opening; visit http://ajb.dni.us to register.
  • America's Talent Bank (also at http://ajb.dni.us) consists of job seekers' resumes you can access to find potential workers. According to its organizers, people in this databank tend to be highly skilled professionals.
  • America's Career InfoNet (http://www.acinet.org) provides advice on job-search techniques. Employers may also find its labor market data and trend information useful.

Skills Training For Manufacturing

National -- A new program expanding nationwide will help manufacturers hire workers with guaranteed levels of skills training.

The program, called Building Linkages Among Academic and Skills Standards for Manufacturing Occupations, operates in 18 states. Organizers are developing a common curriculum that schools can use to teach manufacturing skills with the goal of training future workers and making sure that what is taught in one state meets the requirements for other states.

Eventually, individual states will give workers a portable manufacturing certificate (one that is recognized by both the industry and the academic community across state borders).

For more information on how to get involved, contact your state department of economic development or vocational education. You can also visit the program's Web site at http://www.mfglink.org

Exporting Assistance

New York -- Small businesses that want to get into international trade can find technical, financial and marketing help through the Global Export Market Service (GEMS) in New York City.

Coordinated by the New York State Department of Economic Development, GEMS is open to manufacturing, service or agricultural companies that produce at least 51 percent of their goods in the state and have 500 or fewer employees. You can apply for funding through the program to access consulting services that determine whether your company is ready for exporting or help create an export market development plan.

GEMS will pay for up to 50 percent of the total acceptable project cost. Participants are required to provide matching funds in the form of cash and in-kind contributions.

To find out if you're eligible, contact an Empire State Development office or GEMS at 633 Third Ave., New York, NY 10017, (212) 803-2346.

Microloan Fund For Entrepreneurs

California -- The city of Irvine has joined forces with the Bankers Small Business Community Development Corporation (BSBCDC) of Orange County to provide micro-business loans and one-on-one technical assistance to local entrepreneurs. Irvine has established a $100,000 fund for firms located within its city limits and will guarantee up to 50 percent of each loan. However, the BSBCDC also has a $1.6 million loan pool open to all Orange County-based firms.

Under the program, companies that are at least 1 year old and are considered nonbankable can borrow from $5,000 to $50,000 for three-year terms. The entrepreneurs must have low to moderate incomes or be willing to create jobs for individuals in those income brackets.

Entrepreneurs are charged a $250 application fee only if they are approved for a loan, and they must pay for any out-of-pocket expenses the BSBCDC incurs during processing. A 3 percent fee is also added to each loan. For additional information, call the BSBCDC at (714) 978-1182.