Funds available for small businesses

By Brandon Martin

Assistance for small businesses is being offered by the West Piedmont Workforce Development Board through a $29,585 Rapid Response grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Small businesses with fewer than 250 employees can apply, according to the press release from Virginia Career Works (VCW) West Piedmont.

The release states that funds are to be used solely on job loss mitigation techniques due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Some examples of how the funds may be used are “paying for cleaning services so companies can remain open, paying for cleaning supplies, or purchasing items that can assist employees in teleworking,” according to the release.

There are some items that the funds can’t be used for as well. Equipment with a per unit value of $5,000 or over is not allowed and neither are employee wages.

The funds are available on a reimbursement basis, meaning the business must incur the expense and present proof of payment to receive reimbursement. Reimbursement is available for allowable costs incurred March 1-Aug. 31, 2020.

Henry, Patrick and Pennsylvania counties all have a proportionate share of the funding based on labor force data. Funds are based on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the release.

The West Piedmont Region of VCW also includes the cities of Martinsville and Danville. The organization provides employer and job seeker services.

This includes existing worker professional development and on-the-job training which both provide a 50 percent reimbursement to employers. Internships are also available through VCW.

VCW provides job seekers with workshops, resume development and interview preparation.

For more questions about the Rapid Response grant, contact VCW Business Services Manager Robbie Knight at (276) 656-6190 or by email at Rknight@vcwwestpiedmont.org.

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