LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Gov. Steve Sisolak made it clear during his State of Nevada address that small businesses need to be able to keep their doors open, and employees need to be paid.
WATCH FULL: Gov. Sisolak's 2021 State of Nevada address
“Our small businesses have suffered, and they account for almost half of all the jobs in our state,” said Gov. Sisolak. “I’m announcing an additional $50 million in my budget for this program, which is vital for small businesses.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Sisolak alongside State Treasurer Zach Conine launched a small business assistance program that’s helping thousands of small businesses through grant funding.
Now that more funding is on the way, Gov. Sisolak says keeping folks employed will also reduce strain on the state’s unemployment system, which was hit by an unprecedented amount of claims.
“Going from handling 20,000 claims a week to 370,000 claims a week, is a 20 fold increase,” said Gov. Sisolak of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation's spike in claims.
He also urged that many of the jobs lost during the pandemic will simply not come back as businesses move towards automation.
“Our own Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall will be working to create a small business advocacy center to be a one-stop location to help small businesses take advantage of the resources that exist and cut through the red tape,” Gov. Sisolak said.
Part of the Nevada Economic Action Plan includes creating 30,000 jobs in the short term, and over 160,000 permanent jobs.
The Vegas Chamber, which advocates for small businesses, says these solutions for business owners and employers is key.
“One of the governor’s themes was workforce training, rescaling and upscaling," said President and CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber Mary Beth Sewald. "And that is absolutely essential in getting people back to work.”