At least 24 percent of small business owners say their single biggest problem is not finding customers, but finding qualified workers, according to a survey by the NFIB. The U.S. Small Business Administration is stepping up to help.
SBA Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton has launched a $1 million Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition to address job skills and placement gaps faced by U.S. businesses. Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development. They are places in which people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge.
There are a variety of Makerspaces throughout Texas like the Maker’s Edge Makerspace in Waco, the Fab Lab El Paso, ULabs Makerspace in Lubbock, TXRX Labs in Houston, Dallas Makerspace, 10BitWorks Makerspace in San Antonio, and many more.
“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,” Pilkerton said. “The MaTCH Pilot Competition reaffirms the SBA’s commitment to supporting new forms of vocational education, developing apprenticeships and independent work, and cultivating access to entrepreneurship.
The goal of this SBA competition is to have all program graduates immediately placed in positions with previously identified employers that need skilled labor.
To enter, applicants must submit a business plan that, among other things, details their team’s qualifications, experience, and resources; the proposed training curriculum; the nature and length of the training/certification program; and the number of trainees that will be accommodated. Proposals must be submitted by July 8, and winners will be announced on August 6. The entry form, rules and requirements are available online at https://www.sba.gov/match.
Justin Crossie is the regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Central Region, serving Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.