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Bear Continues to Improve Local Economy

Sun Advocate reporter

The Castle Country Business Expansion and Retention project conducted its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Feb. 6.

The BEAR program is a community-wide effort to support and enhance the economic impact of existing businesses.

Over 80 percent of community investments and job creation comes from local existing businesses, BEAR is designed to focus community efforts for the improvement of the local business climate and to provide coordinated assistance to address existing local business needs.

The project continues to see large growth. Outreach specialists Brandee Fausett, Dondra Nance, Dianna Mussleman and Tina Carter have been pounding the pavement showing a visit total of 388.

Those visitations have produced 169 referrals to local economic development personnel giving more than $221,485 worth of service and savings to Castle County businesses. The program has also created 29 jobs and increased local revenue by $140,000 in the past few months.

National studies indicate that businesses who have actively participated in a BEAR program are more likely to improve profitability and longevity.

The goals of the program include:

Identify business climate trends and make necessary and appropriate public policy adjustment recommendations.

Efficiently allocated limited public and private sector staff and financial resources for improvement of overall business climate in the area.

Provide targeted assistance to individual businesses where and when identified and needed.

According to project administrators Nick Tatton and Karl Kraync, once the program hits 500 businesses it will have the amount of information that is necessary to demonstrate meaningful trends in the local business economy. Once those trends are compiled and interpreted by the systems database Kraync and Tatton along with Carbon County Economic Development Director Delynn Fielding plan to present the data to local government officials within the county.

Brandee Fausett who has focused her attention on the city of Helper identified several trends that have led to the College of Eastern Utah, Small Business Development Center and other BEAR related staff promoting and planning a series of marketing classes for the businesses there.

Also new to the program this month project member Dorothy Carter and the Department of Workforce Services made public their Utah Incumbent Worker Training program. The purposes of the program are to provide grants to employers to assist with certain expenses associated with skills upgrade training for their full time employees and to help those workers gain the skills that keep them employed and increase their wages.

Those interested in this program should contact DWS in either Carbon or Emery County. The closing date for an application is Feb. 28.

Each business in the community can expect and/or request a visit from an outreach specialist to talk about the business climate and the position of the business in the marketplace. Based upon the visit data will be tabulated into an anonymous database to identify positive and negative aspects of doing business in the Castle Country area. Additionally individual businesses that have identified a need, such as hiring employees, workforce training, business planning and business financing, etc. will be referred to local providers. All business support services are available in the local community. Those interested in contacting Castle Country BEAR may visit or contact Karl Kraync at 435-650-1729.

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