Job seekers are not the only ones to benefit from the Peninsula Job Center.
By using several available programs and tools aimed at encouraging more diverse hiring practices, businesses can also benefit greatly, according to Jackie Garcia, the job center’s director of employer connections.
Speaking at the Soldotna Chamber luncheon on Tuesday, Garcia detailed several programs available to employers, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credits.
The program provides federal tax credits to companies as an incentive to hire people from specific target groups. For up to two years, companies can collect thousands of dollars in tax credits if they hire eligible people such as veterans, food stamp recipients and ex-felons.
In 2013, Alaskan employers saved over $2 million through the WOTC program, according to a press release from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The job center can also help employers sign up for the Fidelity Bonding Program. The employer friendly program allows companies to hire workers with checkered pasts without the risk of having the business being taken advantage of.
“If this person is a felon, or has committed some type of crime, and you as an employer want to hire this person, then I can offer you Fidelity Bonding,” Garcia said.
She said coverage from the free service, which is part of a federal-state partnership, can begin immediately after helping job center staff complete a short application.
Garcia said a typical employee can have $5,000 worth of coverage, but that number is flexible.
“If you, as an employer, tell me at any one time this employee can walk out of (your business) with $10,000 worth of goods, then Fidelity Bonding would start out at $10,000,” she said.
The bond protects against job related crimes such as theft for up to six months.
Garcia said that while extensions are possible, they are not common.
“Very seldom have employers asked me for an extension,” she said. “(Employers) are pretty happy, and things have gone smoothly.”
While there are many programs created to help incentivize hiring new employees, there are also tools available to help retain them.
Garcia said employers struggling to keep workers can use the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development website to find labor statistics, in order to get a better idea about how much to pay an employee.
“Maybe you’re paying them a bit too low, and if you can just bump up the wage, you might get a better employee,” she said.
Garcia said that continually having to find new employees is not only irritating for companies, but expensive as well. If companies don’t pay competitive wages, employees will not stick around.
“You get what you pay for,” she said
Reach Ian Foley at Ian.firstname.lastname@example.org