What Does the TechHire Grant Competition Mean for the Economy?

What Does the TechHire Grant Competition Mean for the Economy?


A team consisting of top US government officials has announced plans to broaden the President’s TechHire initiative, that is aimed at affording young Americans the opportunity to train and get employed into well-paying tech jobs. The initiative was unveiled by the Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, White House Cabinet Secretary, Broderick Johnson and the US Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. The event took place on November 17, 2015 in Baltimore, MD. The choice of Baltimore this time around was crucial, because the city’s economy has been underrepresented in the tech sector for many years.


The TechHire initiative

The TechHire initiative will ensure all Americans, specifically the youth and young adults between the age of 17 and 29; people with disability and criminal records and people with limited English proficiency get access to funding. Besides Baltimore, the program is also underway in other communities across the US, including; Nashville, Los Angeles, New York City, San Antonio, Detroit, Portland, Philadelphia and Albuquerque among others. The drive to push for this program is driven by the administration’s passion to promote middle class economics in order to ensure all segments of the American population benefit from the ongoing economic resurgence.

Promising employment outlook

Recent economic statistics indicates that in the last 68 months, businesses in the private sector have added 13.5 million jobs, to create the longest jobs streak on record. This growth has created numerous opportunities for tech talents, which is becoming increasingly difficult to find. The US labor statistics indicate that there are currently about 5.5 million open job opportunities in the US. Out of this number, half a million jobs are in the IT sector, in areas such as cyber-security, software development and network administration. In the same breadth, the average salary of jobs that require IT skills is now 50% higher compared to the average private sector job in the country.



The potential of the tech program

There are over 6 million Americans age between 16 and 24, who are out of school. This sober reminder indicates the existence of a huge untapped market that is ready to be co-opted in the IT sector. President Barrack Obama launched the bold TechHire initiative in March 2015, with the aim of reaching more than 40 communities before the end of the year. Since the initial launch, the program has already brought together 35 cities, states and rural communities and more than 500 partnering employers. The employers are keen to fast track training opportunities and perform staff recruitment based on the candidate’s actual skills.

The $100 million TechHire Grant competition

The Department of Labor (DOL) has already begun releasing the application forms for the $100 million TechHire Grant Competition grant. Under this award, a sum of $100 million or more in H-1B funds will be released along with about $50 million to support young Americans in the 17-to-29 age bracket, who have difficulty finding training and employment opportunities. The proposed partnership will help young people train and get well-paying jobs in various fields including advanced manufacturing, IT and healthcare sectors after only a few months.

The grant will be awarded to about 30 to 40 grantees; in a program that will see labor organizations, employers, community colleges, other training stakeholders, faith based organizations and state and local government join hands. The organizations that qualify are those that are well-positioned to:

– Expand access to accelerated learning options
– Provide specialized training strategies
– Use data and innovative hiring practices to open non-traditional training opportunities
– Link people to jobs that have hiring on-ramp programs

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Competition in business

The $20 million Training to Work Grant competition

The $20 million Training to Work Grant Competition is mainly targeted at rehabilitating and reintegrating formerly incarcerated persons. In mid-November, the administration announced it was launching the fourth round of DOL’s Training to Work grant competition. The award includes about 14 grants, which are all designated to help fast track the path to accessing tech sector jobs and other high growth jobs for individuals aged 18 and older, who have left the correctional facilities.

This initiative also aims to offer a well-coordinated set of customized services, including mentoring, case management, job placement training, education and post-employment services. The targeted areas will be the Promise Zones or areas with high levels of crime and poverty as defined by the initiators of the program.

Program summary

The primary objective of the TechHire initiative is to use the tech sector and other high value occupations as a spring board to bring the long forgotten segment of the population into the economic fold. Since its initial announcement early this year, the TechHire initiative has already attracted various communities across the country. The partnering employers have agreed to create new training opportunities and apply new recruitment and hiring strategies based on the candidate’s skills.




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These 7 Tactics Will Shift Your Start-up into High Gear Quickly

Kick Your Startup into High Gear With These 7 Tactics

Over thirty years ago, McKinsey & Co. introduced a concept commonly referred to as the 7-Ss. It is a combination of minor and major factors that management can manipulate to improve and alter the organizations they are in charge of. Even though McKinsey & Co. was well-known as an international consultation firm, they designed their framework to be usable by businesses both large and small.


Business Start-up Success
Business Start-up Success

The 7-S’s

Each of the 7-Ss are factors that constitute any business, no matter its size or how long it has existed. The 7-Ss stand for:

–    Strategy: which subset of customers a company has chosen to serve and how it plans to do so better than its competitors.
–    Structure: how employees are organized. They can be organized based on such criteria as by function or by product.
–    Systems: these are used to measure the company’s performance and to determine how best to motivate and reward employees.
–    Skills: these are what a company is good at and can mean anything from manufacturing to selling to marketing.
–    Staff: the men and women who make up a company’s workforce.
–    Style: how administrators prefer to run their area of management. There are countless management styles, from the traditional “command and control” standpoint to guided employee autonomy.
–    Shared Values: the organization’s purpose and the common ideal that links its employees together.


Critical Factors
Critical Factors

Hard and Soft S’s

The 7-S’s combine core factors, referred to as “hard S’s,” and lesser factors, called “soft S’s,” based on which factors are more critical to the business’s infrastructure as a whole. This is not to detract from each category’s importance, however, as it is recommended to start with the softer S’s: staff, style and shared values.

One example of the effectiveness of this approach is the story of Gary Ambrosino, who joined the company TimeTrade in 2010 as CEO. TimeTrade is a matchmaking service that matches unresolved customer issues with a matching service expert who can solve the problem. Ambrosino’s idea was to transform TimeTrade into something similar to Apple’s “genius bar,” which is designed for people who need technical help with their devices.

The Genius Bar allows customers to mingle with other customers and Apple Store employees or watch videos with technical tips on television nearby while they wait for service. Over the course of five years, TimeTrade sold the service to seven of the largest banks and eight of the largest retailers in America. This was also a time of great expansion, with the company growing from 20 people to 100 in the same timeframe.

How Did Ambrosino Do It?

G Bar
G Bar

Ambrosino is well-educated, having studied in both Cornell and Harvard. He also has more than 30 years of experience running electronics companies under his belt, over which he developed the 7-S’s, divided into structural and leadership elements. The most important point for Ambrosino was the Shared Values, which he also referred to as a common vision.

This is because the most important aspect of the company was why it even exists. What it was trying to accomplish and how it was going to accomplish it was essential to improving employee performance as they get lost in the daily routine.

Ambrosino focused more on communication than dominance. By doing so, employees feel they have a say in what the company does, even if it is to a small extent. By communicating, listening and adapting, this places some faith in employees and makes them feel like they actually matter.


Positive Company Culture
Positive Company Culture 

This approach also helps when hiring staff as well. TimeTrade benefits because its employees will actively search for new talent to work at the company and TimeTrade now has a bargaining chip with new hires: a positive company culture. This establishes the difference between the soft Ss and the Hard Ss. The soft Ss help unite and optimize employees while the hard Ss help employee efficiency through motivation and rewarding exemplary staff.

A company can use structure and systems to help it stay on track as it hires new people from outside sources. This is especially helpful the larger the company gets. If you have a workforce of 500 people, not all of them are going to agree on how business should be conducted. An effective communication system is especially important.


Explosive growth in business
Explosive growth in business

TimeTrade is not a particularly large company, but its explosive growth in such a short time span is still worth examining. The best way to boost your company’s growth is to first change its staff, style and shared values to motivate your workforce and point them in the right direction, then change your company’s strategy, structure, systems and skills to make obtaining your company’s shared vision easier and more efficient.

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Improve Your Business’s Efficiency with Easier Policies

Improve Your Office’s Efficiency with Better Procedures and Policies





In How to Improve Practice Efficiency with Effective Policies and Procedures, Sandra Curd urges medical practices to employ some widely used business and human resources measures to enhance their efficiency. Her advice could probably apply to virtually any professional practice arena.

Motivation for Establishing Personnel Policies

Several of the protocols she recommends help busy offices enhance revenue streams through tighter organization. She maintains that medical practices benefit by adopting these simple ideas, designed to reduce staff confusion and enforce better adherence to rules on a day to day level. Employees will cooperate, learn their duties more quickly, and gain empowerment by understanding the full scope of their individual position responsibilities. Written guidelines also reduce employee litigation involving personnel matters.



Three Essential Personnel Manuals

Ms. Curd strongly recommends that every professional practice spend time preparing three essential types of manuals. First, a clearly written job description manual covering every position in the organization allows employees to comprehend the full scope of their daily responsibilities. Second, a policy manual provides guidance concerning carrying out job duties. Third, a manual delineating office policies and protocols can offer guidance to staff members when questions arise about the way they should handle a recurring issue.


Employee manual
Employee manual

Preparing Each Manual

Professional practices can benefit by first creating a template and then delegating the responsibility for manual preparation to those most impacted by the final documents. Insights gained through networking and discussing job-related issues allows the participants to gain a broader perspective concerning the job duties of everyone in the office. A medical practice should accord from six months to a year for the completion of this group assignment.


Suggested Manual Format

Ideally, every manual should include certain basic material, in addition to its specific subject content. For instance, by specifically numbering and dating every page, members of the drafting committee expedite future revisions. For the sake of clarity, the finished product should include a description of the subject matter, the name of the individual approving the new document, the designation of the impacted department and a manager’s signature conferring approval.

Periodic Review and Revision

It remains vital to include a protocol for periodically reviewing and revising the three personnel manuals. Why? Practice environments do not remain static. As changes occur, the staff members should take steps to keep their manuals up to date and fully current.


Updating information
Updating information

Several Benefits of Maintaining Written Manuals

Written manuals reduce administrative stress in nine specific ways. These issues merit some individual attention. Although not all of the benefits will pertain in every single instance, professional practices may encounter each of these advantages at some point.

Benefit Number One: Maximize Training Efficiency
The manuals reduce training time in many ways. For one thing, redundancy during training is eliminated.

Benefit Number Two: Enhance Clarity
Manuals establish clear policies. This step eliminates conflicting verbal directions.

Benefit Number Three: Establish Job Performance Criteria
The presence of written guidelines lets employees know very clearly the specific criteria by which their job performances will be evaluated. This step empowers them.


Training employees
Training employees


Benefit Number Four: Train New Employees Faster
By giving every employee copies of all three manuals, the professional practice offers new hires an invaluable resource. These guidelines can assist them in learning their jobs faster.

Benefit Number Five: Streamline
Written protocols help promote uniformity. Therefore, they can help streamline operational activities in an office environment.

Benefit Number Six: Promote Fairness
The manuals can eliminate the administrative stress experienced by employees who are asked to perform certain tasks. Managers will not unfairly delegate roles outside of employee job descriptions when duties are set forth clearly in writing. Additionally, the practice will not expect individual employees to perform work for which they are not compensated.




Benefit Number Seven: Better Accountability
By outlining a specific role for each position, and enumerating its duties, managers establish a clear chain of command in the organization. This situation often encourages employees to accept greater accountability for their actions; everyone in the office will understand who is responsible for performing a particular task.

Benefit Number Eight: Clarify Position Descriptions
A clear description of every position in the organization lets employees know the specific boundaries of their duties much better. It eliminates management problems that can sometimes arise when one employee endeavors to intrude onto another’s job responsibilities, for instance.

Benefit Number Nine: Resolve Staff Complaints More Easily
A set of clearly written office protocols and procedures allows managers to address staff complaints more easily. An administrator can simply direct the attention of employees to a particular manual provision in order to resolve workplace disputes. Written rules also reduce instances of formal grievances.





Taking the effort to empower employees through the creation of formal written guidelines, professional medical practices can reduce administrative stress and enhance workplace morale. They also massively increase efficiency!

Many thanks for skimming our post. Please share any thoughts in the comments box below. If you need the new cms 1500 form to file insurance claims, head over to Justcms1500forms.com. Personally, I prefer to purchase cms 1500 form 02/12 forms for my practice from a manufacture (like they are), instead of a re-seller who doesn’t guarantee their product. If you staff prefers software filing for claims, they provide software for this too.

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Are Your Tax Clients Really Prepared for Obamacare?

Are Your Tax Clients Truly Ready for The ACA Rules?



As a CPA, you provide your clients with guidance and advice on a wide range of topics that have an impact on their tax liability. For example, you may provide them with knowledge about tax deductions that they could put to use that could help them lower their tax liability. From preparing taxes to offering structured insight on financial planning, you may provide many services to your clients. When it comes to a recent change with regards to healthcare, you may be wondering if you have the knowledge and insight to properly guide and advise your clients in this area. More than that, you may be wondering if your clients are prepared for the changes brought forth by Obamacare.


Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act
Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

The Passage of Obamacare

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act along with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Acts were passed in March 2010. These acts included an Individual Mandate that went into effect on January 1, 2014. This means that the tax consequences of those changes will begin to be felt when taxpayers file their returns in the coming year. As a CPA, it is important for you to understand more about Obamacare. This will help you to better serve your clients.

Minimum Essential Coverage

As part of the legislation that was passed, clients are required to purchase a minimum amount of coverage. Many will qualify for this through their government or employer-sponsored plans, but others do not. It is important to note that this is for health insurance, so plans for dental insurance, vision coverage, workers’ compensation and other discount coverage options will not meet this requirement.

Minimum Essential Coverage
Minimum Essential Coverage

Shared Responsibility

When the rule for Minimum Essential Coverage is not met, your clients may be required to pay a penalty for this, known as the Shared Responsibility payment. The fact is that the calculation for the Shared Responsibility payment is actually complicated, and because of this, it can be hard for your clients to estimate it on their own. This may catch some of your clients off-guard, and the penalty for some may equate to hundreds or thousands of dollars. It is important to note that the penalty may apply for them as well as any dependents that they claim on their tax return.

Shared Responsibility Exemptions

There are some exemptions in place for the Shared Responsibility rule, and understanding these exemptions may help your clients to qualify for savings on their tax bill. There is a lengthy list of questions that have been developed to help taxpayers determine if they qualify for an exemption. Some of these include having a low household income or having other documented hardships. Some also include being a part of a group, such as some religions or a federally-recognized Indian tribe. There are special forms that must be completed in order for these individuals to qualify for an exemption, and you may help your clients to fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for an exemption to the Shared Responsibility rule.

Shared Responsibility Rule
Shared Responsibility Rule

Obamacare Tax Credit

Some taxpayers have taken advantage of the opportunity to purchase affordable health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace that was established under the recently passed legislation. Those who have purchased their coverage through the marketplace may qualify for a special tax credit that can be used to lower their tax liability. You should be aware that there are special rule in place for applying and qualifying for the credit. For example, married taxpayers typically must file as married filing jointly in order to qualify, but there are some exceptions in place.

The New Tax Forms

While all CPAs should take time to familiarize themselves with these special tax rules, it is important to also be aware that the Obamacare changes have also resulted in changes to the tax forms. The standard 1040, for example, has additional lines for these credits. There is also a Form 1095-A that must be filled out by taxpayers who bought coverage through the marketplace. These are just a few of the changes in place regarding how compliance with the legislation should be reported to the IRS.

Form 1095-A to be filled out by Marketplace Buyers
Form 1095-A to be filled out by Marketplace Buyers

The Impact on Tax Liability

Many taxpayers will be impacted by the next laws that are in place under the Obamacare legislation. While some taxpayers may qualify for a tax credit, others may be required to pay a penalty for failure to comply with the legislation. Still others who have employer-sponsored coverage in place may not be impacted by the legislation at all. Clearly, there are some considerable ramifications associated with this legislation for taxpayers. Because the legislation has entwined taxes with healthcare, it has fallen onto the shoulders of CPAs to learn more about the healthcare act and to help their clients make affordable decisions about their healthcare and their taxes.

This year, you also need to consider the safety and security of your clients’ data. When filing tax forms like the 1040 and W-2’s, you need to find services that are as safe as possible.  Especially when you want to file 1099 online for contractors, you need to make sure they have a record of having safety measures in place so data breaches aren’t a concern. One site you can review quickly as a standard bearer is eFile4Biz.com. They will efile 1099 forms on your behalf, as well as print and deliver the tax docs to the required recipients.  This alone makes them – or anyone doing this for you – a massive support system for you, especially during heavy tax filing periods.

If you are a CPA, you should be prepared to answer any questions that your clients have about Obamacare and their options, and you may need to help your clients determine if they will be required to pay a penalty or qualify for a credit or an exemption. In some cases, this can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars of difference in tax liability or taxable income, and this means that taxpayers may need to be prepared for this tax change. While some taxpayers may have an unfortunate surprise when filing their taxes this year, you can decrease their stress and can help them to avoid surprises by providing them with guidance and advice in this area.

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