Approximately 275 employees at more than 60 Southern Nevada small businesses and nonprofits will remain on the payroll thanks to an innovative Layoff Aversion Pilot developed by Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Local Workforce Development Board. The pilot brings together public and private funding to support employers and employees impacted by COVID-19.
The Layoff Aversion Pilot utilizes $344,000 of federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds provided by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). An additional $100,000 was donated by Bank of Nevada, which significantly extends the reach of the initiative.
The pilot is a wage reimbursement program, in which:
- Employers are reimbursed up to 50% of a current employee’s wages from April 20, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
- Each employer can receive a maximum of $1,600 per individual employee, for up to five employees.
- No employer will receive more than $8,000 in total.
- Employers do not receive a lump sum check, rather the business will be reimbursed per payroll period after submitting proof of paid wages.
“Because the funding is limited, we knew this pilot could not help every business that deserves assistance. That is why we enlisted our local chambers and economic development partners to identify businesses where this type of funding could be maximized and distributed quickly,” said Workforce Connections executive director Jaime Cruz. “The additional funding from Bank of Nevada showcases the way our private and public sectors are coming together to assist employers and employees during this pandemic.”
“We are proud to work with our partners throughout the community to find innovative ways to help small businesses avoid, or delay layoffs,” said DETR Director Heather Korbulic. “Keeping Nevadans on the payroll is one of DETR’s primary goals. We are pleased to be a part of this collaborative effort.”
“Small businesses have taken a direct hit as a result of the sudden economic changes and many can’t continue to pay employees without help,” said John Guedry, Division CEO, Bank of Nevada. “We understand the impact these businesses have on our economy and are proud to join with Workforce Connections to provide a $100,000 donation to the Layoff Aversion Pilot and assist 275 employees at more than 60 Southern Nevada businesses receive a paycheck in these challenging times,” said Guedry. “Additionally, Bank of Nevada is available to help those businesses that have not yet sought relief through the Paycheck Protection Program and require assistance with their application,” he added.
Each business selected to participate has less than fifty employees, is current on unemployment insurance (UI) taxes, and is in good standing with the Nevada Secretary of State and its local jurisdiction. The participating businesses proportionally represent the jurisdictions Workforce Connections serves.
“The level of partnership in our region we have seen in response to COVID-19 has been unprecedented,” said Jonas Peterson, president & CEO of LVGEA. “Together, our organizations know supporting our businesses and residents is crucial to taking steps toward recovery. There are many great federal and state initiatives to help, but we know every program makes a difference. The Layoff Aversion Pilot is another great way to fill in those gaps and help employees.”
“Any assistance we can give small businesses and nonprofits to preserve jobs helps limit the harm the Coronavirus is having on our economy. The Vegas Chamber is proud to join with Workforce Connections, the LVGEA, and chambers of commerce throughout Southern Nevada to offer this lifeline to small employers,” said Mary Beth Sewald, president and CEO of the Vegas Chamber.
Quotes from businesses participating in the Layoff Aversion Pilot:
“During these challenging times we feel a responsibility to help our employees provide for their families by keeping their income steady even though we are experiencing a serious deficit in our usual cash flow. The assistance we have received will allow us to maintain wages for the next few weeks, letting us use the little bit of income we do have to keep our bills paid helping us remain solvent and giving us a better chance at weathering this storm.” – Danielle Atkinson, Danielle’s Chocolates and Popcorn
“Having assistance from the Layoff Aversion Pilot will help us as a small business in ensuring that we are able to continue to grow into the second half of the year. It will also allow us to assure our staff that their jobs are not temporary, but that we will recover completely and live on to thrive, grow and give us hindsight beyond 2020. We are thankful to this pilot as it allows us to continue sharing happiness throughout the Las Vegas Valley.” – Michelle Joy Howard, Flora Couture
“This pilot program has provided a sense of relief. Nonprofits are employers, too. When we found out we did not receive PPP money in the first round, we immediately reached out to the Vegas Chamber for help. This is truly an example of the local community taking care of the local community. These reimbursement funds will help keep our employees on payroll so we can continue to support families with autism. The funding actually creates a trickledown effect; we are able to keep our employees on the payroll, they in turn are available to support the families going through tough times in this crisis.” –Terri Janison, Grant a Gift Autism Foundation, President and CEO