Thursday, July 1, 2010

Supporting Businesses and Keeping Doors Open

OAKLAND, Ca., June 28, 2010, A new public-private early warning network is coming together, hosted by Oakland’s Private Industry Council (PIC), to provide support in these difficult economic times for businesses in trouble – before they have to close their doors and lay off all their workers.

“This is a time to act to make sure these businesses can remain viable and can keep people employed,” said Lowell Rice, PIC’s Business Services Manager, speaking at the kickoff meeting of the group this week.

For several years the PIC has convened a Rapid Response Team, which brings services and resources directly to employees and employers when companies are facing large layoffs, moving out of the area or going out of business. However, given the present climate, PIC believes that a more proactive approach is needed, seeking to locate and support businesses before they actually close.

“What are we going to do for a business that might help turn it around?” Rice asked business, labor and civic leaders at the meeting. The idea is to put together a range of resources and strategic support from local businesses, public agencies, officials and others that can provide timely, concrete help, he said.

Averting layoffs saves money, said Rice. Every job lost costs an estimated $25,000 and up to $50,000 to create a new job. But it only costs between $200 and $4,000 to save a job. “That’s quite a savings,” he said.

Participants in the early warning network include the Oakland Private Industry Council—Business Services and Rapid Response Divisions, Employment Development Department (EDD), Alameda County Small Business Development Center, City of Oakland Community Economic Development Agency—Business Development Services Division, Community Bank of the Bay, Alta Alliance Bank, Bank of Alameda, One California Bank, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Pacific Gas &Electric, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Central Labor Council of Alameda County and the Office of Assembly Member Sandre Swanson. Other elected officials have expressed interest in participating.


Lowell Rice