Fort Bend County offering hiring incentives to help small businesses

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 9/16/21

Fort Bend County launched a new program dubbed “Get Hired” to help small businesses throughout the county with their recruiting efforts. The new incentive program offers tiered incentive …

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Fort Bend County offering hiring incentives to help small businesses

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Fort Bend County launched a new program dubbed “Get Hired” to help small businesses throughout the county with their recruiting efforts. The new incentive program offers tiered incentive payments to workers through their employers, according to Fort Bend County Judge KP George.

“From day one, I said our number one priority in Fort Bend County is empowering our citizens and supporting our small businesses in our community,” George said. “And this is a common sense thing for us to do; that’s why this program is going to be an exciting program.”

According to the program’s website, businesses will be able to enroll in the county’s program, dubbed “Get Hired.” Once enrolled, businesses with one to 50 staff and revenues between $25,000 and $5 million will be able to provide cash bonuses to new hires based on their base pay. Employees who have completed 90 days of employment and making $15 per hour or $30,000 per year will earn a $500 incentive. Those earning between $15.01 and $20 per hour or $40,000 per year will receive a $750 bonus; staff making $20.01 to $25 or $50,000 per year will obtain a $1,000 incentive payment.

“Also, we’re providing a 10% administrative fee allocation, so businesses aren’t out anything. That covers the taxes, any incidental benefits that are part of their payroll. The goal is to put the business in a much better situation as well as helping folks get back to work,” said Fort Bend County Auditor Ed Sturdivant.

The Get Hired program is a joint effort on behalf of the county, Richmond Economic Development, the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, MPACT Strategic Consulting, LLC, and local businesses.

Sturdivant said the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court has allocated $50 million for CARES Act funds and additional funding from the American Rescue Plan toward helping the county’s economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some of those funds weren’t being used, so in cooperation with various economic development groups in the county and MPACT Strategic Consulting, the county developed the incentivization plan to help encourage people to return to work.

Sturdivant also noted that the $300 incentive program for those on unemployment and extended unemployment benefits offered to the unemployed were expiring at the beginning of September, prompting more unemployed people to return to work.

Brittnee Compton, project lead for MPACT Strategic Consulting, the county’s consultant for the program, said one of the goals of the program was to keep the process simple and help register businesses for the program quickly and efficiently. She also said 501(C)3 nonprofits are eligible for the program.

Local nonprofit leaders have said demands for services they offer have skyrocketed during the pandemic, prompting the need for more staff and volunteers.

Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce President Don McCoy said that the more than 600 members of his chamber regularly mention that they are looking for staff. He lauded the new program and said the cooperative nature of the program was vital to its success.

“What I was really impressed with is the collaboration that we had with the (Economic Development Council, the county – everybody that helped us here. The collaboration was unparalleled,” McCoy said.

McCoy added that the chambers throughout the county were available to help small businesses navigate the new program and would help their members in any other way they could.

“It is a partnership from day one,” George said. “We continue to emphasize the fact that small businesses are the backbone of our community. We want to do everything possible (that) we can do to help them get back to normal and Fort Bend is doing a lot of things to accomplish that goal.”

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