A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business uncovers the single biggest problem facing many small businesses today: finding qualified job applicants. The U.S. Small Business Administration is stepping up to help.
SBA Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton recently launched the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring Pilot Competition. The MaTCH Competition seeks to address the job skills and placement gaps faced by U.S. businesses. It does so by providing funding to create or expand programs with job-specific and soft skills training within existing makerspaces.
“In today’s booming economy, our nation’s employers are searching for qualified workers to fill the increasing amount of positions currently available,” said Pilkerton. “The MaTCH Pilot Competition reaffirms the SBA commitment to supporting new forms of vocational education, developing apprenticeships, independent work, and cultivating access to entrepreneurship.
“This pilot competition will help empower a stronger connection between the maker’s community and job creation, and ultimately provide an added economy boost to communities across our nation.”
The MaTCH Pilot Competition challenges individual organizations or teams to utilize existing makerspaces to create or expand programs. The programs must provide the job-specific and soft skills training within existing makerspaces, including industry or trade certifications when feasible. The goal is to have all program graduates immediately placed in positions with previously identified employers that are in need of skilled labor. The SBA will award up to $1 million in total prizes to fund winning proposals.
To enter, applicants must submit a business plan that, among other things, details their team’s qualifications, experience and resources. It must also showcase the proposed training curriculum and the nature and length of the training/certification program. The number of trainees it will accommodate is also a must.
Application acceptance is through July 8, with a winner announcement following on Aug. 6.