October 29, 2009
Alaska Business Monthly
Federal grants are now available to help Alaska companies compete in changing global markets
Congress has again funded Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs aimed at assisting companies that are losing sales to foreign imports, or have been forced to lay off workers or cut back on hours.
Eligible companies can receive up to $75,000 in grants for a wide range of projects of their choice to increase profitability and save jobs. The program cannot, however, be used for equipment purchases.
"Companies must show a decline in sales or production and employment, and then be able to tie that to an increase in imports," said Gary Kuhar, director of the nonprofit Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (NorthwestTAAC).
The Center administers funds from the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration to assist a wide range of businesses and service industries.
The TAA funds enable companies to develop and complete projects they might not otherwise have considered, and to do so in an effective and structured way. Projects may include developing websites and marketing tools in multi-languages, providing manufacturing design and site layouts, among others.
"We've helped fishing businesses that have lost sales to a foreign source, farmers, oil and gas producers, wood products manufacturers - we've even designed a small hydroelectric dam for a sheep ranching business in Idaho," Kuhar said. "We are the only TAA program that not only helps clients develop a strategic plan; we implement the plan for them by hiring outside experts to complete the project."
Reprinted with permission