Small Business Tax Tips

Hiring Workers under the W.I.N. Program

Thanks to the Workforce Investment Act, there are Workforce Investment Network (WIN) job centers that make it easier to find and hire disadvantaged employees. Plus, you get a business tax break in the process.

Did you know that you can get a tax break for hiring disadvantaged workers?

Hiring Workers Under the WIN Program

Tax credits are offered to employers who hire and retain disadvantaged workers. Indeed, the incentives for helping those most in need into the workforce have never been greater.

As a bonus, a bill passed in 1998 makes it easy to hire disadvantaged workers and can cut your recruiting expenses in the process.

The 1998 Workforce Investment Act was designed to create a streamlined system of federal career development services. In theory, the resulting Workforce Investment Network (WIN) made small business owners' jobs a little easier by consolidating potentially qualified employees in a single place.

But what hiring services do WIN career centers really offer and how can they help you find the right employees for your company?

In passing the Workforce Investment Act, lawmakers were aiming to create a career services delivery system that provided employment and training services for low-income workers, the unemployed, and other individuals seeking gainful employment. Lawmakers also recognized the need for employers to be involved in the career development process and so they introduced one-stop centers, local centers that bring workers together with employers who have vacancies that need to be filled.

According to a recent study, however, only half of all employers were aware of the services provided by their local one-stop WIN center. Although the workers that utilize one-stop WIN centers tend to be low-skilled, the one-stop center in your area could be a goldmine of resources for your next applicant search.

Services sometimes vary from center to center, but most offer the following services for the workers and employers they serve.

  • Job Postings. Looking to place a job opening in a place where it is guaranteed to be seen by people looking for work? Unless the job requires applicants who are highly-skilled or specialized, a one-stop center can be a great starting point to get the word out about your job opening.
  • Screening. One-stop centers also give you the ability to pre-screen applicants for the skills, education, and experience needed to get the job done. Center staff should be able to assist you in narrowing down the field to a smaller group of applicants than you would get through an ad in the newspaper.
  • One-stop Facilities. Your local center might be capable of offering facilities for interviews and other things that occur in the process of finding a new employee. For a small business owner working out of a personal residence this can be a godsend.
  • Labor Market Information. Since one-stop centers specialize in employment services, they are capable of helping you find detailed information about the labor market. If you're not sure where to focus your applicant search or how much to offer the right candidate, your one-stop center may be able to help.
  • Financial Incentives/Employee Support. From time to time, you may be able to access financial incentives or employee support programs to make the hiring of an additional employee a little more palatable.
  • Assistance Averting Layoffs. From a career services standpoint, saving a job is just as good as helping someone find a new job. If you are considering downsizing your labor force, it might be worthwhile to stop by the one-stop for some ideas about how layoffs can be avoided.
  • Training Services. Many one-stops also offer training services for employees on a wide variety of topics. Call your local one-stop center to find out which training services are available in your area.

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We greatly appreciate any advice you can provide on this topic. Please contribute your insights on this topic so others can benefit.

  • Beth Shaw posted on 11/3/2009
    Beth Shaw
    I started the WIN program yesterday along with the GED. I feel like I've really brushed up on a lot of things I had forgotten. I've been a stay at home mom for the past 7 years and I feel like the WIN program is really helping me to prepare to go back to work. It's amazing how my confidence is already going up just from seeing how good I do in the online course with WIN.

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