Business Briefs: Pandemic recovery aid and workforce support program

Snohomish County launches small business COVID recovery program, and is now accepting NOFA grant applications.

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SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Snohomish County has launched a program to help small businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The county is partnering with Ventures to launch the Small Business Innovation Assistance program. Ventures is a Seattle-based nonprofit that assists small businesses.

Through the Small Business Innovation Assistance Program, Ventures will launch a full toolkit of services including business training, one-on-one coaching, loans, grants, and access to market opportunities to support small businesses in Snohomish County.

The program, which is funded through the American Rescue Plan, offers three types of assistance:

—The small business technical assistance program supports and serves small businesses and entrepreneurs.

—A start-up group training program aims to spur innovation and support small businesses and start-ups.

—Provide information about micro-grants and loans available to impacted small businesses and start-ups.

“Our small business community is the backbone of our main streets and local economy. They provide the goods and services that make our communities thrive,” Snohomish County executive Dave Somers said in a statement. “The Small Business Innovation Assistance program will boost economic growth and innovation across our county and help business owners and entrepreneurs build long-term resiliency.”

Ventures is hosting an eight-week Business Basics Course for local small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The course will meet once a week for three hours and will cover the basics of business marketing, sales, financial management, and operations.

Graduates of the course will then be eligible for access to small business loans and grants, along with a program that supports the development of startup businesses in the food and child care industries.

Ventures is hosting free information sessions for the Business Basics Course in English on June 22 and in Spanish on June 21. For more information go to:

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Snohomish County is accepting applications for a $6 million Workforce Recovery Notice of Funding Availability.

The program will fund projects that provide enhanced employment training and/or address challenges to employment, with the goal of connecting people to stable jobs or career pathways.

The program is funded through the county’s federal American Rescue Plan Act allocation.

An estimated 8,400 fewer county residents are working today than at the start of the pandemic, largely due to the increasing retirement rates of thousands of workers and the lack of child care availability. Despite countywide unemployment rates near historic lows, some groups are lagging behind.

The unemployment rate among people ages 16-24 is nearly 12%, which is more than four times the countywide unemployment rate of 2.6%.

“When we talked to the community about their priorities for pandemic recovery, supporting our workforce came up in nearly every conversation we had,” county executive Dave Somers said in a statement.

Right now, employers are struggling to hire the staff they need, and vulnerable populations are struggling to find good-paying jobs due to systemic challenges, Somers said.

Interested organizations can apply for funding between $100,000 and $2 million.

Projects proposed by a group of organizations working in partnership – can apply for up to $3 million.

The Workforce Recovery program has three key priorities:

—Scaling, expanding, or replicating existing workforce development, job placement, and/or youth career exploration programs.

—Enhancing existing workforce development, job placement, and/or youth career exploration programs by providing support services that boost access to transportation, financial assistance, mentorship, and child care.

—Serving highly impacted populations including youth, justice-system involved individuals, individuals with disabilities, individuals with behavioral health challenges and immigrants and refugees.

Organizations interested in applying for the Workforce Recovery program are encouraged to attend a virtual information session on May 11 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. For more information go

Snhohomish County is accepting applications until May 26. Questions about the program can be sent to Office of Recovery and Resilience at

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097;; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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