By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce
Have you thought of a new career? One that might allow you more flexibility, the opportunity to work from home and one that has good financial stability? Remote working is certainly an expanding component of the work force, having been brought to the forefront with the COVID pandemic and staff needing to work remotely, people ordering more online, and companies expanding that component of their industry.
Two companies, the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) and Generation USA, have partnered to offer an amazing opportunity for those who want to upskill or reskill and learn a remote technician trade. Beginning in June, qualified participants will be able to engage in a free 12-week course. Unfortunately, this is not a self-paced training course similar to what was offered last year by Generation USA. These sessions will be held Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 12 weeks. However, the credentials offered at the end of this course (Comp TIA A+ certification) is advanced and will open many doors for course graduates. The organizations also help you to find remote working opportunities.
What do you do if you are interested in finding out more or want to take the classes? First off, you need to be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. You will need to have Internet and computer access. Don’t have that capability even to start out? Call Mary Jo Coulehan at the Chamber at (970) 264-2360. The Chamber is working with other community partners to gain Internet service at a co-working space and possibly a computer for your use during the training period.
Can’t make the training hours because of a current job? Through this program, students will be able to apply for unemployment assistance and there is a $700 stipend that is also offered. The stipend will need to be claimed against the unemployment benefits; however, this financial assistance could mean the difference between taking the course or not. There are only 10-15 slots available in all of southwest Colorado. Wouldn’t you want to be the person taking one of those slots and provide a secure, highly in-demand career for yourself and your family?
For more information, visit: https://usa.generation.org/cori/it-support-specialist/.
In addition, you can contact Mary Jo Coulehan with the Chamber or Robert Clark with the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation at (970) 264-2360 to discuss your options and needs.
There will be virtual informational sessions held this month on May 12 and May 24 where you can also learn more about this training program. Again, this is a great opportunity for young adults coming out of high school and looking for a career or an adult looking to upskill or re-skill. Don’t miss out if you really want to get into the high-demand world of an IT support specialist.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund now open
The Small Business Administration announced that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) application opened on Monday, May 3.
The Chamber encourages our food industry businesses to apply as soon as possible, as the funds are anticipated to go quickly.
The application allows for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) payments and Economic Injury Disaster Loan payments to be subtracted from your 2019 to 2020 gross receipts. These funds are forgivable, similar to PPP funds, if used for appropriate expenses such as rent, mortgage, payroll, debt service, construction of outdoor seating and many other categories.
Extra attention will be given to minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses. Remember that these funds are forgivable if used for the appropriate business expenses. This program is not a loan. That is an important component to consider should you need assistance.
The program extends to restaurants, food carts, caterers, bars or salons, brewpubs or tasting rooms (as long as you have 33 percent of sales on-site), bakeries (same 33 percent requirement) and more.
To find out more about this Small Business Association program, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/restaurant-revitalization-fund. This website will take you through a sample application, the actual application, Q-and-A, and much more. You can also check with the Chamber or the Small Business Development Center for more assistance.
Shuttered Venue grant
Theaters, production companies and museums should also consider the Shuttered Venue grant opportunity. Owners of operations under this category were also severely impacted by the closing of venues in 2020. Visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/shuttered-venue-operators-grant to see if you qualify. You need not have been in operation the entirety of 2020. This grant gives you the opportunity to have only been in business for a portion of 2020.