Training, Grants May Await Tampa Bay Businesses

Many businesses in Tampa Bay may not be aware of state and regional funds available for training grants and tax incentives. Harak Associates, a Tampa-based consulting team, helps companies not only navigate the often complicated application process for these grants but also steps in to assist with the ongoing paperwork needed to receive reimbursement.

The company is the brainchild of Donna Harak, a Tampa native and graduate of the University of South Florida. Harak saw a need for such services based on her past work with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Companies expressed a desire to take advantage of training grants, but they didn't have the resources to complete the extensive paperwork required to apply for the grants, she says.
"We look at what's out there that companies ought to be taking advantage of that will help them find good talent and bring money to their bottom line,'' says Harak, president of Harak Associates.

Opportunities for tax incentives include the State of Florida Sales Tax Exemption Program and Enterprise Zone Programs -- for companies moving into a designated zone. Companies expanding their workforce by at least 10 percent or meeting other qualifying criteria involving new high-wage jobs may be eligible for a minimum tax refund of $30,000 from the Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund. Available training grants include the Incumbent Worker Training Grant and Employed Worker Training Grant, for which companies maybe be reimbursed for 50 percent of associated costs.
Harak Associates helped bring in close to $1 million in training dollars to companies in the Tampa Bay area in 2011-12. Clients span across multiple industries such as maritime, healthcare, technology and manufacturing.

"It's all about job creation, job growth and retaining good talent,'' says Harak. "At the end of the day, if you're really trying to grow your company you've got to keep the skills of your employees.''

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source, Donna Harak, Harak Associates
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