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  • JEDE COVID-19 Weekly Update - May 25 edition

    Today’s JEDE update includes information on major federal and state actions and free webinars available to help the small business and economic development community meet the COVID-19 challenges.   The next update will be on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, due to legislative deadlines.     
     
    These updates are in addition to the JEDE COVID-19 webpage, which includes links to key public and private (nonprofit) webpages:  https://ajed.assembly.ca.gov/content/covid-19-resources.  Information from previous JEDE COVID-19 Updates is available at:  https://ajed.assembly.ca.gov/content/covid-19-updates.

    MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS

    • California COVID-19 Update:   Below is the most current CalOES status update.  www.covid19.ca.gov
     

     
    • Call for Federal Grants:  More than 1,500 small business owners and business organizations are calling on Congress to consider additional grant relief for vulnerable businesses that have been left behind by PPP and other federal aid programs.  https://smallbusinessmajority.org/sites/default/files/policy-docs/SmallBusinessMajority-MainStreetAlliance-Organizational-Grant-Support-Letter.pdf  “With the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) now closed and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) nearly out of funds, small business groups and business owners around the country are calling for the creation of more direct grants that would offer additional assistance to hard-hit small businesses,” according to press release from Small Business Majority and the Main Street Alliance.  California signatories to the letter include, but are not limited to:  California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce,  California Network of Women's Business Centers, CAMEO (California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity), Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce, Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce,  Humboldt Chamber of Commerce, Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, Invest in Women Entrepreneurs Initiative, Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce, Lendistry,  Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, Marin County Small Business Development Center, Oakland Latino Chamber of Commerce, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, Pacific Community Ventures, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce. Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce, Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce.
    • H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Guest Worker Visas:  The US Departments of Labor and Homeland Security have published a joint temporary final rule making available an additional 22,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural guest worker visas for fiscal year 2021 to employers who are likely to suffer irreparable harm without these additional workers. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210521 According tot he announcment, 6,000 of the supplemental visas are reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.  DHS first announced the planned supplemental increase of 22,000 visas for the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker program on April 20, 2021.
    • Expanded Small Business Trade Advice:  SelectUSA's Investor Guide was launched in 2020 and is being expanded in 2021.  The chapters, prepared by trade professions, are designed to give investors an overview of key topics essential to successful investing in the US. The first edition of the guide covered topics such as an Overall Investment Checklist, Immigration, Business Structure, Taxes, Workforce and FDI Restrictions. This year the following topic areas have been added:  The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States; Intellectual Property; Checklist for Foreign Companies Opening a Bank Account in the US, Site Selection in the US; and Economic Development Incentives.  These new topics will be the subject of panels at the 2021 Select USA virtual investment summit.
    • CommunityNavigator Pilot Program:  The US Small Business Administration launched its $100 million Community Navigator Pilot Program, which will “provide counseling, networking and the assistance needed during this time of economic recovery to the nation’s smallest businesses.  https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/may/25/sba-launches-community-navigator-pilot-program-application?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery  The program will target small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as women and veterans.”  See “UPDATES AND STATUS REPORTS ON SMALL BUSINESS ACCESS TO CAPITAL” for more information.
    • US Trade Preferences: US Senator Ron Wyden, who chairs the US Senate Committee on Finance, introduced S CCC, the Trade Preferences and American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act.  https://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ROS21834%20-%20GSP%20MTB%20AMCA.pdf?source=email  According to the announcements, the bill will “extend duty-free access to the U.S. market for certain developing countries under GSP until 2027, with important updates to eligibility rules that ensure trade policy rewards advances in human rights, women’s economic empowerment, labor, environment, rule of law and digital trade, among others.”
    • Employer Vaccination Toolkit:  Governor Newsom announced the availability of a new Employer Vaccination Toolkit, which is intended to assist employers make a request to have a workplace clinic or local provider partner for an onsite COVID-19 vaccination event.  www.saferatwork.ca.gov
    • Information from the CA Labor Agency:
     
    DATA, SURVEYS, AND ANALYSES
    • April US Employment Data (most current):  US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released national-level employment data for April 2021.  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm  According to the report, total US nonfarm payroll employment increased by 266,000 jobs in April, reflecting a 6.1% unemployment rate.  In releasing the data, the BLS stated: “notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, other services, and local government education were partially offset by employment declines in temporary help services and in couriers and messengers.”  Unemployment among selected worker groups:  13.9% for Teenagers, 5.6% Adult Women, 6.1% Adult Men, 9.7% for Blacks, 7.9% for Hispanics, 5.7% for Asians, 5.3% for Whites.  
    • April California Employment Data (most recent):  The Employment Development Department released state-level data for April 2021.  https://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/Publications/Labor-Market-Analysis/calmr.pdf     California’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.3% in April.  Nonfarm payrolls increased by 37,000 jobs from the prior month.  The civilian labor force was up 33,000 workers from the prior month and 383,000 (2%) from the prior year.  Unemployment among Blacks and Latinx remained significantly higher than the statewide average, reported as 13.9% and 11.8% respectively.
    • Analysis of CA Monthly Employment Report:  Beacon Economic has released its monthly employment report, which links econometric predictions to data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the California Employment Development Department.  https://ucreconomicforecast.org/index.php/services-for-business/publications/hiring-expansion-to-continue/  According to the report, 40% of US employment growth occurred in California with 101,800 of the 266,000 new jobs being reported.  The Beacon Employment Report, released in partnership with the UC Riverside Business School Center for Forecasting, uses seasonally adjusted numbers to identify trends and insights within data. 
    • New Small Business Survey:  Small Business Majority’s network released a new survey of small business owners.  According to the poll, small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color continue to be disproportionately lagging behind white-owned businesses.  https://smallbusinessmajority.org/our-research/survey-1-in-4-small-businesses-facing-closure   Nationally, the poll found that 15% of Latino and 13% of Black entrepreneur respondents said their business is temporarily closed, compared to 6% of white business owners. Overall, 11% of businesses say they are closed temporarily.  In addition, the survey found that 36% of small businesses say conditions are somewhat improving for their businesses compared to one month ago, and 5% say they are greatly improving.  Key findings from California small businesses:
    • Create program rules that broaden access, not constrain it:  Our research found that state incentive and financing program rules are often extremely restrictive. When we looked at eligibility guidelines and applications across states, we often found rules so complex they seemed designed to deter participation.  
    • Devote resources for outreach and promotion to reach intended beneficiaries:  Too many state incentive and financing programs have no budget for outreach.  
    • Design programs to leverage other resources and initiatives:  Incentives are most effective when implemented as part of a broader economic development strategy.  
    Great Plates Delivered
    Meals served as of 05/25* 34,277,311
    Individuals Served This Week 32,439
    Food Providers Contracted 599
    Data received from Great Plates Data Portal updated on Sundays.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    GRANTS
    • Funding for Waste Recycling Research:  The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $14.5 million for research and development to cut waste and reduce the energy used to recycle single-use plastics like plastic bags, wraps, and films. https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/Default.aspx#FoaIde3d7e574-49db-441e-8091-3f6c253edb28 According to the announcement, this “funding directed toward plastics recycling technologies advances the DOE’s work to address the challenges of plastic waste recycling and support the Biden Administration’s efforts to build a clean energy economy and ensure the U.S. reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”  Additional information:
    • FOA Issue Date:  5/25/2021
    • Submission Deadline for Concept Papers:  6/28/2021 5:00pm ET
    • Submission Deadline for Full Applications:  8/16/2021 5:00pm ET
    • Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments:  9/28/2021 5:00pm ET
    • Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications:  Winter 2021
    • Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations:  November 2021 – February 2022
    • Purifying Non-traditional Water Sources:  The US Department of Energy, in partnership with the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI), announced a $6.5 million request for proposals to develop new technologies for purifying non-traditional water sources. According to the announcement, the “advancements in desalination technologies will help propel the modernization of America’s water infrastructure, increase access to clean, potable water and move the country towards net-zero emissions by 2050.”  Additional information:
    • Request for Proposals Released:  May 24, 2021
    • Concept Papers Due:  June 15, 2021*
    • Encourage/Discourage Decision:  Notification Week of July 19, 2021
    • Full Proposals Due:  September 2, 2021*
    • Pre-Selection Clarifications, if needed:  Week of October 25, 2021
    • Expected Date for Selection:  Notification Mid-November, 2021
    • Anticipated Project Start Date:   February 2022
    UNEMPLOYMENT INSUANANCE, PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE, AND WORKER SAFETY
    • 119,401 initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PAU) claims were filed during the report period.
    • Over 42,087 (27.5%) of initial claims filed during the report week were filed by individuals aged 25-35.  (not all claims included information on age)
    • Over 47,588 (41.1%) of initial claims were filed by individuals with a high school diploma or GED. (not all claims included information on education)
    • Over 51,957 (37.9%) of initial claims were filed by individuals who self-identified as Hispanic.  (not all claims included information on race)
    • Over 22.4 million initial unemployment benefit claims, including extensions, have been filed with EDD between March 20, 2020 and the close of the report period.
    • $145 billion has been paid to out-of-work Californians since the start of the pandemic. 
    • Tracking UI Benefits:  The California Employment Development Department (EDD) launched identity verification technology to help address the backlog of unprocessed unemployment benefit applications, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.  On May 14, 2021, EDD released its bi-weekly report to the Legislature addressing the backlog (https://www.edd.ca.gov/About_EDD/pdf/CUIC-337-legislative-report-051421.pdf)  covering time period of March 1, 2020 through May 8, 2021.
     
    UPDATES AND STATUS REPORTS ON SMALL BUSINESS ACCESS TO CAPITAL
    • US Treasury issued a Request for Information on (closes June 4):  https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-21/pdf/2021-10697.pdf  “Treasury invites the public to comment on the SSBCI program design and implementation in order to support new and existing small businesses. Responses may be used by Treasury to assist in developing program design and guidance. Responses may also be used to inform Treasury’s allocation of technical assistance funding to states, territories, and Tribal governments, the Minority Business Development Agency, and programs implemented directly by Treasury.”
    • California Small Business Grants:  The Office of the Small Business Advocate launched a Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant program, which provided nearly $500 million in grants to small businesses and small nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Legislature approved and the Governor signed SB 87 (Caballero and Min) on February 23, 2021, which provide as additional $2.1 billion in grant funds through a minimum of three additional funding rounds.  The Governor is proposing an additional $1.5 billion be approved, bring the grant program total to $4 billion.
    • Preliminary data shows that as of May 13, 2021, approximately 198,000 small businesses and nonprofits either have been or will be awarded grants, which includes finalized awards for 43,874 small businesses and nonprofits representing all 58 California counties for a total of $475,001,244.
    • Free one-on-one technical assistance is available through a wide range of nonprofit resource providers, including SBDCs, Women’s Business Centers, and ethnic chambers of commerce:  www.CAReliefGrant.com.     
    • Community Navigator Program:  The US Small Business Administration has released initial information on the $100 million Community Navigator Program, authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act.  https://www.sba.gov/partners/counselors/community-navigator-pilot-program   “Under the community navigator approach, traditional business assistance organizations enlist trusted, culturally knowledgeable partners to conduct targeted outreach to specific sectors of the entrepreneurial community. This can take on several forms, from hiring dedicated staff to focus on these communities or partnering with specialized community organizations and chambers of commerce via a “hub and spoke” model.”   
    • Eligible Applicants:    County governments; Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education; State governments; Others (see text field entitled "Additional Information on Eligibility" for clarification); City or township governments; Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments); Economic Development Organization or Similar Organization; and SBA Resource Partners including Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers, SCORE, Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs), Community Development Financial Institutions, and Nonprofit Colleges and Universities
    • Award Amount and Duration:  Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period.
    • Program Begins:  Performance periods are projected to commence in September 2021.
    • Restaurant Revitalization Fund:  The American Rescue Plan Act authorized the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to provide funding to restaurants and other eligible businesses overcome the economic impacts of COVID-19.  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/restaurant-revitalization-fund#   The program provides restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.  Eligible entities who have experienced pandemic-related revenue loss include restaurants; food stands, food trucks, food carts; caterers; bars, saloons, lounges, taverns; bakeries with onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts; and more.
    • Shuttered Venue Operators:  The US Small Business Administration is launching the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program, as authorized by The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act.  Under the new program, $15 billion is dedicated to the making of grants to shuttered venues who may receive up to 45% of their gross earned revenue, up to a $10 million.  $2 billion of the grants are reserved for businesses with 50 or less employees. 
    • COVID-19 EIDL Updates:  Applications are OPEN for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans.  New funding was provided in the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2021. 
    • State-by-state data on number of EIDL Loans and Targeted EIDL Advance in 2021:  As of May 20, 2021, California businesses had 575,392 EIDL loans approved for a total of $36.6 billion.   Relative to the Targeted EIDL Advance, 16,397 advances were approved for California businesses for a total of $134.6 million.  For the Supplemental Targeted Advance, 7.709 California small businesses received $38.5 million.  https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2021-05/COVID-19%20EIDL%20TA%20STA_5.20.2021_FINAL-508.pdf   
    • Small Business Disaster Loan Guarantee Program:  The Small Business Finance Center at the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank administers a credit enhancement (loan guarantee) as a way to encourage traditional and mission-driven lenders to loan money to small businesses who have been impacted by a disaster. https://ibank.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/JLBC-4.30.2021-Website.pdf    Below is the most recent program activity.
    State Small Business Disaster Loan Guarantee Program (April 30, 2021)
      Conditionally Approved Loan Amount Guarantee Amount Amount Encumbered Employees
    Total 1621 $69.4 million $65.6 million $ 32.8 million 8136
    The IBank provides the Joint Legislative Budget Committee an update monthly.
     
    CURRENT GUIDANCE ON STATE COVID-19 AND RECOVERY ACTIONS
    • Blueprint for a Safer Economy:  Businesses can check out the status of the reopening of their county through the Blueprint for a Safer Economy (https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/).  This is the state’s four tier reopening plan.  Tier 1 (purple) has the most restrictions and Tier 4 (yellow) has the fewest.  As of May 25, 2021:
    • 0 counties in the Purple (widespread) Tier
    • 8 counties in the Red (substantial) Tier
    • 35 counties in Orange (moderate) Tier
    • 15 counties in Yellow (minimal) Tier
    • Moving from Red (substantial) to Orange (moderate): Merced and Placer
    • Moving from Orange (moderate) to Yellow (minimal): Inyo and Mariposa.
    • No counties moved to a more restrictive tier.
    • Equity Metric Added to Blueprint for Re-Opening:  The Blueprint for a Safer Economy was expanded on October 6, 2020, to include a health equity metric.  This information will be used in combination with the county’s case rate and test positivity rates to determine a county's tier.  https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/CaliforniaHealthEquityMetric.aspx  The purpose of this new metric reflects the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on certain population groups, including rates of hospitalizations and death.  
    • Shop Safe Shop Local:  GO-Biz is leading a campaign to remind Californians to shop local and help small businesses prepare for the business realities of COVID-19.  The #ShopSafeShopLocal website highlights free / discounted resources to help small businesses get digital, find e-commerce tools, learn more about industry guidance, locate small business centers, and access PPE.  https://business.ca.gov/shopsafeshoplocal/
    • Safely Making Web Platform:  California manufacturers who produce PPE, including face masks and gloves, can advertise their wares on https://www.safelymakingca.org/.  The website is a joint effort by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) and the State of California.  A manufacturer does not have to be a member of CMTA to participate.  To apply, manufacturers should complete this form.  At his September 9, 2020, press conference, Governor Newsom announced that the web platform currently included 450 California manufacturers.  
     
    FREE WEBINARS
    JEDE maintains a list of upcoming and on-demand webinars on our website.  Upcoming webinars are listed here (https://ajed.assembly.ca.gov/content/free-webinars) and on-demand webinars can be found at https://ajed.assembly.ca.gov/content/demand-webinars-available-24-7.  These webinars cover a range of topics, including federal disaster programs, marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and accessing international markets.