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Local

Waubonsee strives to maintain small business programs without state funds

The Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees recently approved adjustments to the way services are offered to small business owners.

Due to the ongoing state budget standoff, the Small Business Development Center will close on June 30. One full-time employee will become part of Waubonsee’s Workforce Development Division and will continue to offer workshops on a fee-for-services basis to small business owners. One part-time grant-funded position will not be renewed due to the loss of grant funds, stated a news release.

“The board of trustees is committed to continuing to provide the SBDC’s award-winning services to the small business owners throughout our district,” Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek said in the release. “However, with a lack of funding in 2016 and no funding anticipated for fiscal year 2017, we needed to restructure how services are provided.”

These changes come as part of the Waubonsee board of trustees’ commitment to continue to provide high quality, state-of-the-art learning experiences and keep a balanced budget – in spite of the ongoing lack of state funding, which amounts to approximately $7 million, the release stated. Due to the budget impasse in Illinois, Waubonsee has not received any state funding since the fiscal year started on July 1, 2015.

The college previously committed funds to keep the SBDC program up and running through June 2016. In other cost-saving measures, Waubonsee reduced spending on travel, delayed filling vacant positions, and the purchase of equipment, while also passing a tuition increase for next fiscal year.

The SBDC was established through a partnership between the college, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, to provide management, marketing and financial coaching to small business owners and prospective small business owners. Last year, approximately 400 small business owners received services through the program, stated the release.

“While we are disappointed to have not received the grant to keep the SBDC running in its current form, we look forward to continuing these important services for our vibrant small business community as an integral part of our Workforce Development offerings,” Sobek said.

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