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Find and keep good employees

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If you want your business to be successful, you must have loyal and hardworking employees — and you must work to keep them. Establish a deliberate method to hiring workers. It is imperative that you select the right employees and avoid the pitfalls that come from hiring a bad employee. It is especially important for small businesses, where each employee has a large share of responsibility for success of the company.

To streamline your hiring process, follow these steps:
•Create an established recruitment process.
•Make the benefits package easy to understand.
•Train managers and supervisors in interviewing techniques.
•Do multiple reference checks.
•Conduct a new-hire program.

Virginia offers a variety of work-force programs to help employers find high quality workers and to train and develop their work force. Each program differs in eligibility, cost and services offered. A list of many work-force incentives in Virginia can be found at the Virginia Workforce Network Web site at http://www.vwn.virginia.gov. 

Get to know your local work force
It’s important to understand the quality of the work force where you want to start your company, especially if you have a specialized business. The Virginia Employment Commission is a good place to start.

The VEC provides detailed labor market data and census data on its Virginia Electronic Labor Market Access (VELMA). The stats are located online at http://www.vaemploy.com Click. on “Labor Market Information.” VELMA data include employment and unemployment statistics, current economic indicators, area demographics and industry and occupational wage data. It is divided by regions, metropolitan statistical areas, localities and work-force investment areas. This information can be vital for employers in making hiring and wage decisions.

Check out your local economic development offices to understand the demographics and skill sets of local employees. See if there are any local organizations that facilitate connecting workers with employers. An example is the Return to Roots program (http://www.returntoroots.org), run by Virginia Economic Bridge, which matches employers in Southwest Virginia with former residents who want to return the region.

The VEC also provides businesses with hiring services free of charge. Employers can easily post job vacancies to the VEC’s Virginia Workforce Connection Web site at http://www.vaworkconnect.com The s.ite also allows employers to search through the list of job candidates.

Virginia Workforce Network
A business of any size can use one of the Virginia Workforce Network’s Virginia Workforce Centers located around the state. The network includes 40 one-stop career centers, as well as satellite and informational centers.

Each center provides one-stop access to the work force, employment and training programs of partner organizations. Local Workforce Investment Boards run the centers, which are required by federal legislation to meet the needs of the local community. To find the closest one-stop center, visit http://www.vwn.virginia.gov

Most of the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) locations have been designated as Virginia Workforce Centers. VEC employment services are available at one-stop centers, as well as state and local resources from departments of Social Services, the Adult Education and Area Agency on Aging, the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services and local community colleges, career and technical schools and higher education institutions.

Virginia Jobs Investment Program
This program, run by the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, offers work-force assistance to qualified businesses. The program provides customized training and recruiting programs. It also provides consulting and funding to reduce upfront costs of the recruitment and training process. For-profit businesses eligible to apply for the program are manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, corporate headquarters, technology services, call centers and research and development facilities. http://www.vdba.virginia.gov/vjip.shtml. 

Department of Rehabilitative Services
The department provides a variety of services to help people with disabilities prepare, find and keep a job. Visit http://www.vadrs.org for more information.

Community colleges
The Virginia Community College System can be a great resource for employer’s work-force training needs. Each of the system’s 23 colleges has a Workforce Development Services division that can
develop custom training programs for employers. The programs can be held at local community college campuses or at the employer’s workplace.

A variety of training programs can be offered. Examples of skills programs can focus on, include:
•Computer skills
•Customer service
•Management and leadership
•Manufacturing
•Job-specific skills

Visit http://www.vccs.edu for more information on the Virginia’s community college system or contact your local community college.

Four-year schools and career and technical schools can also offer recruitment and work-force training possibilities. Visit your local schools for information on any programs they offer.
Career Readiness Certificate

Since 2004, a variety of work-force training groups in the state have worked together to offer a career readiness certificate — a statewide certification that ensures employers that certificate holders have an employer-recognized level of work-force literacy, including reading and applied math skills.

The certificates are awarded at three levels — gold, silver and bronze — depending on the score on the certificate exam. The certificate is especially useful for areas of the commonwealth where skill levels of many members of the work force are inadequate. The certificate allows employers to identify workers who are interested in increasing their value for a company.

All Virginians are eligible to take the basic skills exams, which are administered in a variety of settings, including One-Stop Career Development Centers, community colleges and local Social Services departments.


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