Thursday, November 5, 2009


In the business community, business owners are continually looking for well qualified people. Since so many people have recently lost their jobs, it seems like there should be a way that the unemployed can identify which businesses are hiring so that the business owner and the unemployed worker can find one another. In this article, my goal is to provide resources for the unemployed. I realize that this is not the primary reason that a Small Business Development Center exists. I also realize that there are well qualified people working with the unemployed to provide as many resources as possible. However, Small Business Development Centers are in a unique position. As Business Advisors, we may be aware of opportunities that exist that the general public may not understand.

Since Stimulus dollars are being used to support many public projects, one might want to find out who is doing business in the public arena. For example, businesses that want to do business with the federal or state government must be registered in specific databases. Following is a list of those databases:

Federal Level:
Washington State:
County Level: Do a search for the Small Works Roster in the County of interest

Any business that describes itself as an 8(a) certified company, a HUBZone certified company, SDB certified company, or woman-owned company, may get priority on some contacts. Keep in mind that businesses on these databases do not need to be construction-related businesses. Government contracting officers will also use these lists to identify sources for materials and services. Many businesses wrongfully assume that there is no reason to pursue the above-mentioned certifications because they may not be in the construction business. Government databases are not created simply for the construction trades. Business owners who may be reading this article and would like to know more about doing business with the government, can access no-cost advising services through the Small Business Development Center by contacting the SBDC at 360-442-2946. Any business in Cowlitz or Wahkiakum County could, potentially by HUBZone certified!

While there is no guarantee that a business that is listed on the government databases is hiring, they may be hiring in the future if they are successful in marketing to the government. As a job searcher, you may have better success finding businesses that are in the hiring mode by searching for businesses who are attempting to do business with the government.

If you have been active in a trade association, at any point in your career, search the career listings on the trade association website. In addition, check out the state website for Washington State higher education jobs at:

Finally, do not forget that local businesses may have job listings on the Lower Columbia College job listing site at:

Networking has always been one of the best ways to tap into job opportunities. In addition, if you have not been on the job market recently, hone your interviewing skills and develop a strong resume by using the services of your local WorkSource Office (711 Vine Street, Kelso, WA). You may also want to ask your WorkSource Advisor about the Self Employment Assistance Program if you have been considering business ownership.

If you are thinking about starting your own business, plan to attend the free start-up business class that is offered the last Thursday of every month on the Lower Columbia College campus. November’s class will be held one week prior, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. Call the SBDC for more details.

Article written by Susan Hoosier, Certified Business Advisor and Certified Economic Development Professional, with the Washington Small Business Development Center in Longview, WA. Susan has owned and operated three businesses and managed a revolving loan fund for a Midwestern Regional Development Commission.

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