The Small Business Bridge Program offers incentives ranging from $3,000 to $4,000 to small businesses that create new jobs prior to June 30. A possible $500 incentive is available if the new employee was receiving unemployment benefits at the time he or she is hired, said Kelly Thornton, workforce development specialist for the Moab DWS office.
But employers should plan ahead and reserve the funds as soon as possible, Thornton said.
“I’d like to see local businesses be able to take advantage of the program. If they anticipate hiring for new positions before June, they really should apply now so money can be set aside for them,” Thornton said. “As long as the person is hired by the end of June the business is eligible.”
The Bridge Program is funded entirely by penalty and interest payments collected from the unemployment compensation fund and will not require any new funding sources for its operational or administrative costs, DWS officials said. The funds will be reinvested back into the Utah workforce and businesses, Thornton said.
Businesses who employ two to 100 people may apply for the one-time grant. To be eligible, the business must be creating additional permanent, year-round positions that pay at least 80 percent of the average wage for the county in which the business operates. In Grand County that means the new employee would have to be paid at least $18,264 per year, Thornton said.
The Bridge Program incentives range from $3,000 to $4,000 per position, with a possible $500 incentive if the new employee was receiving unemployment benefits at the time he or she is hired, Thornton said.
“The program is meant to be streamlined and easily accessible,” said Ben Hart, director of employer incentives with DWS.
To apply for the program employers submit a one-page application. Once approved, employers must sign an agreement before filling the position. Applications will be accepted until all funding has been obligated or until Feb. 28, 2013. Positions must be filled and payment requested by June 30, 2013.
Additional information is available online under the Bridge Program link at jobs.utah.gov, or by contacting Thornton at 435-719-2630.