Rapid Response - Solutions for Economic Transition

WV GreenWorks Plugs In EDISON.21 To Light Up New Breed of Entrepreneurs

WV GreenWorks Plugs In EDISON.21
to Light Up New Breed of Entrepreneurs

WVGreenWorks Creates Partnerships and 6-Month Pilot Program to Advance Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Charleston, WV (PRWEB) February 16, 2011

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WVGreenWorks.com, in partnership with the Region 1 Workforce Investment Board and the Southern Workforce WV Green Up Council, has created EDISON.21, a mentoring program designed to ignite a new generation of entrepreneurs.

EDISON.21 takes its name from one of the world’s most prolific innovators who succeeded in spite of little formal education, and for whom there was no expectation of success. The program is dedicated to the next generation of innovation for sustainability. It’s established to identify, cultivate and support the kind of creative action that resulted in the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera, just three of Edison’s thousands of inventions. Edison was a successful businessman as well as an inventor.

The pilot program begins on March 3, with the announcement of participants, mentors, and sponsors, at Tamarack Conference Center in Beckley, WV, and culminates in August.

“It’s appropriate that we announce the program this month, as the technological world celebrates Thomas Edison’s 164th birthday,” said Sarah Halstead Boland, executive director of WVGreenWorks. “Our group of potential young entrepreneurs will work alongside industry professionals as we all move forward in discovering business opportunities in growing green, sustainable communities.”

A group of 15 men and women aged 18 to 21 have been tapped for the six-month mentoring program that will result in internship and employment opportunities. Professional builders, architects, educators, community planners and leaders will work with the group as they explore cutting-edge concepts in sustainable community retrofitting and design.

“We’re specifically exploring opportunities in sustainable agriculture, conservation and recycling, green high performance building, energy efficiency, contracting, finance and marketing,“ Halstead Boland explained. “The plan is to cultivate creative thinkers who are capable of coming up with cutting edge concepts of their own.”

The Region 1 Workforce Investment Board has selected the program’s initial participants, who applied for the program and have met rigorous standards. Students and their professional mentors will work with sustainable community experts in Pittsburgh, PA, Richmond, VA, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC.

“We will expose these young people to world-class concepts and thinkers, innovators who have created systems that save money and energy, and designers and community planners who have changed how people live and conserve resources,” Halstead Boland continued. “A cool thing about the program is that our mentors will share these experiences with the young participants. We are building a comprehensive framework for opportunity that will allow rapid growth in many directions.

“By the close of the program, established building and design professionals will have the most up-to-date green building and energy efficiency certifications, and will be ready to meet growing consumer, commercial and municipal demand,” said Halstead Boland.

The Region 1 Workforce Investment Board encompasses 10 southern West Virginia counties. The Southern Workforce WV Green Up Council supports job expansion in energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative energy and advanced traditional energy fields. Supporters of the program to date include Bridgemont and New River Community and Technical Colleges, Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, EarthCraft House of Richmond, VA, the West Virginia chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and Modern Home Concepts of Hurricane, WV.

A complete list of sponsors and supporters of the EDISON.21 Project will be announced at the formal program launch at Tamarack. For more information, contact Halstead Boland at sarah@wvgreenworks.com.

Boomers Are Driving A New Entrepreneurship Boom

Boomers Are Driving A New Entrepreneurship Boom

By Marty Zwilling
Veteran startup mentor, executive

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Contrary to what most of you might guess, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity over the last few years is not Gen-Y young upstarts, but Baby Boomers in the 55-64 year age group. In fact, according to a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, these Boomers are actually driving a new entrepreneurship boom.

Some people are calling entrepreneurship the 'new mid-life crisis' for the 76 million-strong demographic once thought to be over the hill. Partially due to the economy, but also due to longer, healthier lives and changes in job tenure, 62% of working Boomers are now expected to stay in the labor force, with real power and influence, for at least nine more years, to 2020.

Here is a summary of indicative facts from the earlier study referenced, an update published last year, and others. These indicate that the correct icon for an entrepreneur may now have gray hair, rather than the warm glow of youth:

  • In every single year from 1996 to 2010, Boomers between the ages of 55 and 64 had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than Gen-Y, aged 20-34. The highest growth rate last year actually was the next echelon, Gen-X, 35 to 44-year-old's.

  • These trends seem likely to persist. In the Kauffman Foundation Survey of nearly 5,000 companies that began in 2004, nearly two-thirds of the founders are now between the ages of 35 and 54.

  • Additionally, Kauffman research has revealed that the average age of the founders of technology companies in the United States is a surprisingly high 39 -- with twice as many over age 50 as under age 25.

  • While people under 30 have historically jumped from job to job, another striking development has been a deep drop in the incidence of 'lifetime' jobs among men over age 50.

  • With longer life expectancies and greater health in later life, older generations are moving to start new firms -- and mentor young entrepreneurs. One new incentive is the falling transaction costs and barriers to entry for entrepreneurs of every age.

  •  Half of the Internet users age 50-64 use social media now, an 88 percent growth from the previous year. The number of Facebook users in the US age 55 and older grew from around 1 million in early 2009 to 10 million in early 2010.

  • The immigrant rate of entrepreneurial activity declined slightly in 2009, but remained substantially higher than the native-born rate. Business start-up rates in America increased the most in the Midwest and South.

In addition, the Boomer demographic is also creating a slew of new market opportunities, including improved healthcare facilities, construction of senior-friendly facilities, and technical support for seniors, by seniors. What all of this means is that boomers will have more impact and power in the marketplace for a lot longer than most people expected.

Since entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth, this should bode well for America, and for world economic growth as well. In terms of job creation, innovation, and productivity, entrepreneurs drive growth. Many Boomers have the purchasing power and become enthusiastic early adopters who help lead the way. They are becoming the new early adopters.

Of course no one has any idea what the next big thing will be, but more often than not innovation comes from entrepreneurs. If you are one of the Baby Boomers who wants to redefine retirement, now is your chance for real impact. Find an opportunity you understand, follow your passion, and join the entrepreneurial majority.

Unemployment Rate To Remain Above 9 Percent Through 2011,Will Remain Above ‘Natural Rate’ Until 2016

Unemployment Rate To Remain Above 9 Percent Through 2011,
Will Remain Above 'Natural Rate' Until 2016: CBO


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The jobs crisis isn't going anywhere, according to the latest forecast from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which puts the national unemployment rate above 9 percent through 2011 and 8 percent through 2012.

Unemployment will fall to a more "natural rate" only in 2016, when CBO estimates it will reach 5.3 percent -- a projection roughly in line with private-sector figures.

"The recovery in employment has been slowed not only by the moderate growth in output in the past year and a half but also by structural changes in the labor market, such as a mismatch between the requirements of available jobs and the skills of job seekers, that have hindered the reemployment of workers who have lost their job," CBO's report says.

The degree to which the unemployment crisis is structural, as opposed to cyclical, is hotly debated by economists, with progressives like Paul Krugman arguing that structural unemployment is a fake problem "which mainly serves as an excuse for not pursuing real solutions." Many argue that the even drop in employment across industries shows that lack of overall demand is the problem, with stimulus spending the answer. Others have said pay disparities between workers with different levels of education show the problem is at least partly structural.

James Galbraith, an economist who teaches at the University of Texas, says CBO's structural unemployment claim is an after-the-fact rationalization for previous failed forecasts. (CBO's 2009 forecast predicted 8 percent unemployment in 2011 and 6.8 percent unemployment in 2012. Galbraith's been beating up on CBO since before then.)

"There never was any reason to believe that employment would bounce back, as CBO had previously forecast, in the wake of the financial meltdown, and no reason now to think that the problem lies with deficient skills for any class of workers," Galbraith told HuffPost. "[The CBO forecast] is a purely mechanical exercise idea based on the fact that in the past we've always rebounded to a natural unemployment rate of 5 percent. What that means is you never take into account that the system broke in any serious way."

The most unusual factor of the jobs crisis is how long some people are going without work. Long-term unemployment has surged since the unprecedented mortgage meltdown that clobbered housing prices and launched the Great Recession in December 2007. Some 6.4 million people -- 44.3 percent of the 14.5 million unemployed -- have been out of work for six months or longer, and 1.4 million have been out of work for two years or longer. This is the worst long-term unemployment situation in the United States since the Great Depression.

Job Centers Change Focus from UNemployment to REemployment

Job Centers Change Focus from UNemployment to REemployment

Source: CarolinaLive.com  Click Here

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The goal is to put the jobless back to work in South Carolina. To help reach that goal, the state's unemployment centers will change their focus to become reemployment centers.

This week, professional staff from the state's One Stop workforce centers, plus their employees, elected officials and others are in Myrtle Beach for a training session, to learn how to improve workforce development in South Carolina.

Their focus is on helping put the jobless back to work in a hurry.

"Our goal is to reengage them very, very quickly," said Dr. Peggy Torrey, of the South Carolina Dept. of Employment and Workforce.

Torrey says the problem is, there's often a mismatch between the jobs that are available and the skills people have.

So Workforce Centers will start separating the unemployed into four categories, based on their level of education, to help them get the skills they need.

"If they don't have a GED or high school diploma, we get them that very quickly. If they have skills that have become outdated, we get them into some occupational skill training. If they are close to an associates degree, we can actually pay for an associates degree," Torrey said.

But that takes money and these are tight times for state agencies. Torrey says it looks like the workforce development budget will be OK this year.

"For the work that's going on here, the federal government has seen a need to keep a level funding or even increase the funding a bit to help with re-employment efforts."

Last year, the department took a 9-percent across-the-board cut in funding. Torrey says so far this year, funding looks stable.

Entrepreneurship: The New Buzz in Rural Economic Development

Entrepreneurship: The New Buzz in Rural Economic Development
Over the past several years the demand and interest in being an entrepreneur and business ownership in the United States and especially our region has been exploding. Everyone has what I term the “entrepreneurial buzz.”

By: Beth Pridday, Prairie Business Magazine

Source:Click Here

The small business owner and the wanna-be-business owner (aka entrepreneur) want to use their skills and education to jump start a business idea and are in control of their own future.

Minnesota has 464,946 small businesses, according to the most current federal data available. These small business statistics for Minnesota do not include all self-employed individuals working in Minnesota.

Additionally not only are new entrepreneurs popping up all over our region and state, but the interest in small rural towns getting into the “business” on entrepreneurship is growing. Business incubators, building improvement incentives, micro-loans and a more-user friendly attitude towards small business owners appear to be pervasive. As this trend continues, small business support services such as SCORE, SBDC, SBA, Rural Enterprise Centers and Business & Entrepreneurial Support organizations will become more in demand.

Michael E. Gerber, in the “The E-Myth Revisited” talks about business owners finding their “primary aim” and its importance to the success of an entrepreneurs business. He contends “with no clear picture of how you wish your life to be, how on earth can you begin to live it.”

With that in mind, the communities and cities that want to get into the “entrepreneurial game” will also want to step up and increase their support of entrepreneurial pursuits and economic development at a grassroots level and figure out what their “primary aim” is for their community and long-range economic development plan. This may well be the very thing needed to keep this “buzz” alive!

Shared Talent and Resource Program

VSP’s “STAR” Training Program
The Shared Talent and Resource program maximizes the time of VSP’s workforce.

Source: Click Here

By Margery Weinstein

As a result of the economy and to be fiscally responsible, VSP needed a solution to address reduced resources and its business decision to not increase its budgets.

To meet this challenge, the company created a new program to assist employees in expanding their careers while keeping down company operating costs. The Shared Talent and Resource (STAR) program is a talent pool comprising eligible employees from areas where work volume is temporarily decreased; such employees are available to provide temporary assistance in areas where work volume has increased.

Benefits of “STAR” include:

    * Ability to better maximize resources company-wide
    * Reduction of external agency/contractor costs
    * Assistance to departments needing additional resources
    * Enhancement of employee skills through temporary re-assignments
    * Accommodation for fluctuation in work volume and potentially avoidance of a reduction in force

“We’ve avoided the peak-time costs of hiring temporary workers and maximized the time of our existing workforce,” the company told Training. “The engagement of the employees in the program was high, and they learned new skills, developed new relationships, and expanded their knowledge of the company.”

White House Announces Startup America Partnership to Foster Innovative, High-Growth Firms in United

White House Announces StartUP America Partnership to Foster Innovative, High-Growth Firms in United States

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Entrepreneur Steve Case to Chair New Alliance; Kauffman Foundation CEO Carl Schramm Named Founding Board Member-- Commitments Secured From Major Corporations to Accelerate Entrepreneurship

KANSAS CITY, MO and WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - January 31, 2011) - Today, as part of President Obama's national strategy to stimulate economic growth and the creation of quality jobs, the White House announced the launch of the StartUP America Partnership. Chaired by Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, CEO of Revolution LLC and chairman of the Case Foundation, the Partnership will receive launch funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, and act as an independent private-sector alliance intended to dramatically increase the development, prevalence and success of innovative, high-growth U.S. firms. Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, will serve as a founding board member of the effort.

The Startup America Partnership will work closely with the White House to advance the goals of its Startup America initiative. The Partnership will bring together top entrepreneurs, start-up firm funders, CEOs, university presidents, foundations, and other leaders to help entrepreneurial companies start or grow. Partners (including corporations, foundations, startup funders, CEOs and others) will contribute funds to existing proven models or develop new programs and efforts to help entrepreneurs.

"America's story has been forged in large part by entrepreneurs who have against great odds created innovative products and services that have changed the world -- and created millions of jobs," said Steve Case. "Our nation once again looks to these creative risk-takers to unleash the next wave of American innovation, and I am pleased that President Obama has made supporting and celebrating entrepreneurs a major priority of his economic strategy. I am honored to chair the Startup America Partnership, and look forward to working with the White House to champion the creation of new start-ups, and help accelerate the growth of speed-ups."

"We are pleased to help lead this partnership," said Carl Schramm. "At Kauffman, it is our mission to develop and fund programs to support entrepreneurs, and to help educate policymakers about the role entrepreneurship and innovation play in our society. This partnership will bring together partners from across the private, public and non-profit sectors, working together toward a common goal: supporting the entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our economy."

To date, more than a dozen firms and organizations have joined the Startup America Partnership. They include the following commitments:

Increased corporate investment and support for startups from companies such as Intel, HP, IBM, Facebook, and others, including:
  •  Intel Capital will commit $200M of new investment in U.S. companies. Senior Intel leadership will also serve the Startup America Partnership and share best practices from years of successful programs designed to support Intel portfolio companies.

  • IBM will invest $150 million in 2011 to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and new business opportunities in the United States.

  • HP is investing more than $4 million in 2011 in the HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE), a global program launched in 2007 that uses educational and technology outreach aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small business owners create and grow commercial opportunities.

  •  As part of Facebook's ongoing commitment to encourage entrepreneurs, the company will launch Startup Days, a new series of 12 to 15 events around the country designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to expertise, resources and engineers to help accelerate their businesses.

To foster entrepreneurship through higher education, as part of its overall $50 million commitment to entrepreneurship, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced a $5 million expansion of the Blackstone LaunchPad program piloted at two Detroit colleges. Based on a model created by the University of Miami, LaunchPad will be replicated over the next five years in five other distressed regions around the country.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurship education for at-risk high school students from low-income communities, is launching new programs supporting young entrepreneurs and their teachers. Ernst & Young LLP will honor NFTE youth entrepreneurs at regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award? galas across the country, bringing important attention to the next generation of young entrepreneurs. The Pearson Foundation is working with NFTE to build its Digital Teacher Network, a free online community for teacher collaboration and training that will be used not only by NFTE's 5,000 certified teachers but also by any educator interested in entrepreneurship. Google is sponsoring two new efforts in NFTE's Bay Area programs: The Flat Classroom Exchange will allow local educators to team-teach the NFTE program in real time and leverage each teacher's individual expertise, while the Makers Class project will integrate NFTE's curriculum with invention and engineering lessons. New Markets Education Partners is providing NFTE with seed capital to launch in 2011 an interactive, online business planning course and social network connecting mentors, teachers and students.

The Startup America Partnership will continue to marshal private-sector resources to spur entrepreneurship in the U.S. with a focus on three key areas:

  • Acceleration and Scale: Replicate successful community-based entrepreneurship accelerator programs; encourage increase in experienced mentors to support startups and encourage partnerships with large companies to serve as customers or funders of current firms.

  • Education: Identify resources to help expand high-impact entrepreneurship education throughout the country

  • Commercialization: Increase the number of colleges and universities committed to commercialization outcomes, through efforts that include clearing the path to market for primary research, supporting the extension of successful accelerator programs, and spurring regional ecosystem development, faculty engagement, and streamlined technology licensing.

For more information about the Startup America Partnership and to see a full list of partner commitments, visit www.startupamericapartnership.org and follow the Partnership on www.twitter.com/startupamerica and www.facebook.com/startupamerica.

About the Kauffman Foundation
 The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

About the Case Foundation
The Case Foundation, created by Steve and Jean Case in 1997, invests in people and ideas that can change the world, with the ultimate goal of making giving back a part of everyday life. The Foundation creates and supports initiatives that that leverage new technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to drive innovation in the social sector and encourage individuals to get involved with the communities and causes they care about. For more information, visit www.CaseFoundation.org, follow us at www.twitter.com/casefoundation and www.facebook.com/casefoundation.

Workforce Investment Board Gets State Grant for Early Warning Network Project

Workforce Investment Board Gets State Grant for Early Warning Network Project

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The Workforce Investment Board of Stark and Tuscarawas Counties has received a state grant of $250,000 to develop a new initiative that will identify and assist companies at risk of closure or downsizing.

The Early Warning Network grant will fund a business retention program called the Regional Business Network. The network will cover both Stark and Tuscarawas counties and will expand and enhance the retention and expansion efforts under way.  

“Many economic and work force development organizations and programs are currently in place in Stark and Tuscarawas counties and representatives are contacting businesses and offering their assistance to them on a daily basis,” said Alice Stephens, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board/The Employment Source.  “However, working singularly rather than together somewhat limits the scope of outreach and services because of each individual organization’s manpower and resources.  The establishment of a comprehensive and coordinated network of all programs would exponentially increase our two counties’ success rate in retention and expansion efforts.”

A concerted effort consistently focused on layoff aversion will assist with maintaining the work force in both counties.  The Regional Business Network will give employers, network partners, the community and the region the ability to access a comprehensive set of services, programs and organizations through one entry point.

The following chambers of commerce, businesses, economic development, work force, education and community organizations are among groups committed to partner in administering the Regional Business Network:

  • American Electric Power
  • Buckeye Career Center Adult Education
  • Dominion East Ohio
  • Kent State University Stark and Tuscarawas
  • Workforce Directors  & Business Services Reps of Economic Development Regions 9 & 10
  • Small Business Development Centers of  both Kent campuses
  • Stark State College of Technology
  • Tuscarawas County Community Improvement Corporation
  • Tuscarawas County Chamber and its Port Authority
  • Walsh University and the Workforce Investment Board No. 6 — Workforce Initiative Association/ The Employment Source

Fairchild Employees Upset By Layoffs

Employees at Fairchild Semiconductor in Portland, Maine said they were upset with how the company announced that it is laying off 120 workers. One key complaint is that the layoffs were announced before the workers were informed.

Click on the link below to see the story.

Watch Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbWZEJBKS8c


Comment and let us know what you think:
  • What do you do when a WARN notice is not given?

  • What early-warning indicators may have been present?

  • What actions are required in such a situation?

District says furloughs would avert layoffs

LAKE ELSINORE: District says furloughs would avert layoffs
2:27 AM PST on Friday, January 21, 2011

The Press-Enterprise

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The Lake Elsinore Unified School District won't need to issue layoff notices this year if employees agree to take six furlough days in 2011-12, Assistant Superintendent George Landon told the school board at a meeting Thursday.
The furloughs would be needed only under a "worst-case" budget scenario, Landon said. If voters approve the tax measures the governor is proposing for the June ballot, the furloughs wouldn't be needed, he said.

"I don't know what the voters are going to do in June," he said. "We're going to assume the worst-case scenario."
The district would face a roughly $11 million shortfall next year if the measures fail, Landon said. The district can use reserves of about $5.5 million to cover a portion of the shortfall, and officials expect to save about $1 million more through an early-retirement incentive for employees.

The furloughs would reduce expenditures by about $3.8 million.

District and teachers union officials are scheduled to meet for a negotiating session today, and representatives for both sides said an agreement could be reached before March 15, the date by which school districts must notify teachers if they may not have a job next year.

"We're very optimistic we can reach another satisfactory resolution," Superintendent Frank Passarella said.
Terry Harris, president of the Lake Elsinore Teachers Association, said such an agreement would likely look similar to the two previous years' deals, which included a provision to restore cuts if the budget improved.

"We've been building trust" through those agreements, because the district did restore cuts when money became available, Harris said.

In other business, the school board gave administrators the OK to move forward with creation of a virtual school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The district already offers some virtual classes for high school students; the new program would expand offerings to all grades.

Passarella said he expects the virtual school to open by August, in time for the 2011-12 school year.

Such a school could bring additional students, and additional money, to the school district, board President Sue Scott said.

Reach Michelle L. Klampe at 951-375-3740 or mklampe@PE.com