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June 28, 2021

New Fayette County Coalition Featured on KVUE

New Fayette County Coalition Featured on KVUE

A new Fayette County Coalition aimed at tackling pandemic unemployment concerns was spotlighted on KVUE Austin News on Saturday, June 26, 2021. Here's the story:



Across Texas, people are still looking for jobs coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. To help their residents find those jobs for which they qualify, Fayette County launched a new coalition to identify barriers to employment.

"As far as hiring, I didn't have applicants coming through the door. One thing I would always brag about is I never have run an employment ad," Missy Rusek, the owner of Texas One Stop in La Grange, said. Rusek needs to fill positions for her gas station/general store. Lately, she's turned to Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area looking for new employees. Earlier this year, WFSRCA connected her with David Valdez, whom Rusek hired through their On the Job Training Program.

Valdez, who was laid off during the pandemic and forced to find "side jobs ... to keep a roof over my head," has worked consistently for Rusek in every facet of Texas One Stop except cashier – his next goal. "Missy opened the door for me a bit, you know, and start going through the program," Valdez said. "It took a little time but, eventually, everything started falling [into place]."

Fayette County's Workforce Matters Coalition brings together the county, WFSRCA, and local business leaders to identify the barriers to employment and how to overcome them. "That's going to include kind of bigger picture things like access to housing, access to child care, access to transportation and broadband," Diane Tackett, the Chief Operations Officer for WFSRCA, said.

Other state leaders say another obstacle to getting people back to the workforce has been unemployment benefits. Starting Saturday, June 26, Texans will no longer receive the additional $300 in federal unemployment benefits initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Greg Abbott joins nearly 20 other governors ending the program early in their state. As part of the American Rescue Plan, the additional funds were set to expire in September.

"There's a lot of different support and community partners that work to make that employment connection and help job seekers be able to be aware of what those employment opportunities are there," Tackett said. "We wanted to make sure that [jobseekers] were positioned so that they could be kind of really proactive in their job search and be at the front of the line when an employer is hiring so that they're not they're not competing with everybody else."

"I know that people have maybe been motivated to stay home because they're getting a lot in unemployment," Kim Newton, a leader in the La Grange Economic Development Corporation, said. "That could be one of [the reasons for slightly higher unemployment], but on the other hand, the employers need to be able to pay a living wage. So it's kind of like both sides maybe need to give a little bit."

While the coalition is just getting underway, members hope to have started the process of overcoming those barriers by the end of the year.

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Texas One Stop Spotlighted on TWC Jobs Now Webpage

Texas One Stop Spotlighted on TWC Jobs Now Webpage

As part of their continuing efforts to help connect skilled Texans with great Texas employers, Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area (WSRCA) has launched a new video feature to spotlight local businesses within the nine-county region, to help them showcase their open positions and the skills they are hiring for. In the latest Rural Capital Area Jobs Now Employer Spotlight, they spotlight Texas One Stop in La Grange! Click here to watch the spotlight video on the WSRCA website.

If you are an employer who is hiring and would like to have your business showcased, please email the WSRCA Business Services Team at businessservices@ruralcapital.net.

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Business Resources for COVID-19



The City of La Grange’s Office of Community Development is committed to providing you information and resources to assist you during this current unprecedented situation. As we weather the coronavirus pandemic, we know both individuals and businesses are seeing economic impacts. We want to let you know that we're here, we're open, and we're ready to support you.

LGEDC UPDATE
January 25, 2021

Shuttered Venue Grant Program: The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, 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 Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible entities include:

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives

Click here for more information.

At Your Side Small Business Grant Program: As small businesses continue to weather the challenges of the pandemic, Main Street America has teamed up with Brother International on a grant program to provide support. The “At Your Side” Small Business Grant Program will provide funding to brick-and-mortar small businesses in designated Main Street districts as they work to adapt to COVID-19 and prepare for the next phases of reopening across the country, while also helping to revitalize and strengthen older and historic commercial corridors. Applications will open 11 am on Thursday, January 21 and continue to be accepted through Thursday, January 28 at 6:59pm. Grants of $5,000 to $10,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis. Applicants must operate in a “brick and mortar” storefront located in an Accredited or Affiliate Main Street America community. In La Grange, businesses in the downtown Main Street district qualify. Click here for small business eligibility requirements, judging criteria, and a preview of the application.

PPP Loans Round 2 Now Available: The latest COVID relief bill has provided funds for a second round of PPP loans. In a nutshell, you may be eligible for a forgivable PPP loan in this round whether you took advantage of the first go around or not. If this will be your first time to apply and receive a PPP loan, this will be considered your first draw. If you applied for and received a PPP loan during the spring, summer or fall of 2020, this will be your second draw. All of our local banks are participating and currently taking applications. For all the information on this forgivable loan program, click here.

Key Updates Include:

  • Hotels, Restaurants and Bars can now receive a loan equal to 3.5x their monthly payroll. Other small businesses and non-profits can receive 2.5x monthly payroll;
  • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;
  • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
  • The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations; 
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:

  • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
  • Has no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

EIDL Loans Application Deadline Extended: The SBA has extended the deadline to apply to EIDL loans for COVID to December 31, 2021 with the new COVID bill that passed in December. The grant/advance portion of the program is no longer available as they didn’t allot any additional funds for this part. However, small businesses and non-profits can still apply for the EIDL loan using a streamlined online application. The interest rate is 3.75 % for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. Also, payments can be deferred for up to 1 year. Click here for all the details and application.

New Program Available for Women-Owned Businesses: SBA has announced Ascent, an interactive digital platform packed with resources women business owners need to set, and achieve, their business goals. Ascent is designed for the “missing middle” — growth-oriented women entrepreneurs who are beyond the start-up phase and already generating revenue yet looking to grow and scale. Most learning resources for business owners focus on either start-ups or mature businesses. Ascent is here to change that! During these challenging times, SBA’s Ascent can also help you elevate your business with research-backed tips and strategies. Within Ascent, you can examine both internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats) that may have arisen because of COVID-19 to help you set up a comprehensive recovery strategy. And Ascent is a resource you can turn to again and again, as your business grows and your needs change. Click here for more information and to join Ascent today!

Top Business Trends for 2021: For small businesses across America, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in history. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners have been resilient, pivoting, and adapting their business models to navigate continually changing conditions. With the new year on the horizon, there are potential new opportunities to take advantage of and ways to adapt to challenges you may face. Here are a few business trends that are likely to dominate in 2021, along with tips on how to position your business for growth. Click here to learn more.

VISA Business and Economic Insight Reports: VISA’s latest US Economic Outlook – Click here to download the report. Also, VISA says that consumers show optimism about the future, but remain bogged down by the present. Click here to learn more

Free Small Business Tools and Resources through SCORE:

What is SCORE?
For over 50 years, SCORE has served as America’s premier source of free business mentoring and education. As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964.

SCORE Locations Near La Grange:
SCORE Austin 
and SCORE Houston (Katy, TX)

SCORE Small Business Reopening Toolkit:
 
Coronavirus Small Business Reopening Checklist, a complete toolkit to ensure that small business owners can reopen successfully while keeping employees and customers safe.

SCORE Small Business Resilience Hub:
Disasters and economic downturns bring unprecedented challenges. SCORE Small Business Resilience Hub offers training, resources, and remote mentoring to help your small business adapt, succeed, and thrive.

Upcoming SCORE Webinars and More: SCORE offers FREE live and recorded webinars & interactive courses on demand on small business topics. Click here for more information and to register for upcoming events.

NATIONAL RESOURCES

CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

Businesses Community ORGANIZATIONS COMMUNITY EVENTS

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

GUIDELINES FOR SMALL BUSINESS

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE
For more resources and learn how the federal government is responding to COVID-19.

Visit usa.gov

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
The U.S. Department of Labor provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to influenza, pandemics, or other public health emergencies.

Employment Resources Preparing Workplaces


STATE AND LOCAL RESOURCES

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Visit their website for a comprehensive list of resources and important COVID-19 updates.

VISIT

TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION
At the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the health and well-being of our employers, employees, and communities is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive to the needs of our customers as the situation evolves.

Visit

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
Visit their website for a comprehensive list of resources and important COVID-19 updates
.

VISIT

WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS - RURAL CAPITAL AREA
Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area is available to assist with outplacement services or layoff aversion strategies. They offer a no-cost service to re-connect affected workers to new employment and provide information on Unemployment Benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

VISIT 

BCL of TEXAS
BCL of Texas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit economic development organization providing lending, homeownership, entrepreneurship, and community development programs to fulfill our mission of Building Strong Communities across Texas.

VISIT

TEXAS STATE - SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER NETWORK
The Texas State University SBDC provides information on resources for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

VISIT

OTHER RESOURCES

MONITORING COVID-19

STATE OF TEXAS
Governor Abbot updates State response to coronavirus. 

VISIT

FAYETTE COUNTY
County information and up to date information orders in response to COVID-19.

VISIT

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES
DSHS is monitoring the coronavirus pandemic. For prevention tips, symptoms, case counts, traveler information, and healthcare provider resources visit the DSHS website. 

VISIT

Please contact the Community Development office at 979-968-3017 if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do to help.

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New Business Grants

New Grant Programs for La Grange Businesses

 

La Grange EDC Introduces Two New Grant Programs

The City of La Grange’s Office of Community Development has introduced two new business grant programs to encourage commercial development in La Grange.

The Second Floor Development Grant Program is funded by the La Grange Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and is designed to encourage the conversion of upper floors of existing commercial structures in the Historic District to residential units. Applicants who qualify may receive a grant with a reimbursement of up to $7,500 per unit developed for up to four units with a maximum reimbursement of $30,000 over the life of the project. To qualify for grant funds, the applicant must match the grant amount by an equal or greater investment of private funds for the conversion.

The Second Floor Development Grant Program supports the implementation of the adopted 2018-2038 Comprehensive Plan for the City of La Grange. The purpose of the program is to enhance the character and vitality of the Historic District by promoting infill and adaptive reuse of properties. Encouraging private investment in the improvement of commercial properties will help to create a mixed use environment which promotes a business, consumer, family, and resident friendly atmosphere, improving quality of life for both residents and visitors. Click here to apply.

The GAP Redevelopment Grant Program is also funded by the La Grange EDC and is designed to encourage businesses to fill a gap in products or services available within the City of La Grange. The goal is that the GAP grant recipient will directly benefit the La Grange community by strengthening the local trade area and reduce the need for consumers to find products and services outside of the community. Applicants who qualify may receive a reimbursement grant of between $5,000-$30,000. No business owner may receive more than $30,000 from this program over the life of the project. To qualify for grant funds, the applicant must match the grant amount by an equal or greater investment of private funds.

The GAP Redevelopment Grant Program supports the implementation of the adopted 2018-2038 Comprehensive Plan for the City of La Grange and is designed to incentivize the opening of businesses within the City limits of La Grange. This will help to create opportunities for different types of businesses in the City of La Grange which fill gaps in available products, services, entertainment, and other amenities, thus improving quality of life for both residents and visitors. Click here to apply.

For more information about these grant programs, email Kim Newton at knewton@cityoflg.com or call 979-968-3017.

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