USCIS Will Issue Redesigned Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Special Release   |  2017-04-20
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a redesign to the Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. USCIS will begin issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017.

These redesigns use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the ones currently in use.

The new card designs demonstrate USCIS’ commitment to continue taking a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud. They are also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

The new Green Cards and EADs will: Display the individual’s photos on both sides; Show a unique graphic image and color palette: (Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette; EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette); Have embedded holographic images; and no longer display the individual’s signature. Also, Green Cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.

Some Green Cards and EADs issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the existing design format as USCIS will continue using existing card stock until current supplies are depleted. Both the existing and the new Green Cards and EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Certain EADs held by individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and other designated categories have been automatically extended beyond the validity date on the card. For additional information on which EADs are covered, please visit the Temporary Protected Status and American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act web pages on uscis.gov.

Both versions are acceptable for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, E-Verify, and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE). Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date. These older Green Cards without an expiration date remain valid. Individuals who have Green Cards without an expiration date may want to consider applying for a replacement card bearing an expiration date. Obtaining the replacement card will reduce the likelihood of fraud or tampering if the card is ever lost or stolen.

For more information about the Green Card application process, please visit www.USCIS.gov/greencard.

To request an EAD, you must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Visit www.uscis.gov for more information about EADs.


Sacramento Employment Trends

Source: Rick Reed PR  |  2017-04-04

Hard to Find, Hard to Keep as Job Market Soars

High anxiety, finding qualified applicants and retaining current workers are on the minds of Sacramento regional employers as hiring soars. In the next three months over three-quarters of top regional employers polled are in the hiring market. Among the highest number recorded since the Trends Survey began in 1992, seventy-seven percent (77%) of companies polled directly by phone say they are motivated to hire in Q2.

However, growing strength of the economy brings issues that concern regional employers including hiring qualified workers. Seven percent (7%) of those polled between February 22 and March 23, report shortages of qualified skills while others are challenged to find anyone for entry level and general labor positions.

While Sacramento regional employers tell Pacific Staffing twenty-one percent (21%) of hiring is motivated by the need for replacements within existing workforce, twenty-six percent (26%) say hiring is necessary for growth of the business. Employers are also hiring more for seasonal demands in Q2 than in past years as twenty-three percent (23%) say hiring is seasonal. Not one employer reported any plans for reductions or layoffs.

While hiring issues like retention and applicants are market challenges, in anecdotal comment HR company contacts also report a high level of frustration and anxiety in developments over potential political changes to alter or eliminate the Affordable Care Act. Complaints include recent completion of changes to the new healthcare requirements, development of compliance within the framework and education of workforce in ACA. With countless hours over several years invested in meeting ACA demands employers are not happy at not knowing what the future may bring or interested in investing more time and money in making changes.

Drivers remain a challenge to bottling, product distribution, route delivery, manufacturers and construction firms. Other shortages for skilled trades, equipment operators and estimators remain an issue in Construction. Employers are also seeking IT, especially software development and digital networking while others seek accounting/bookkeeping, general office/clerical, customer service, sales and manufacturing, warehouse and shipping workers.

For more information, employment blogs & market surveys go to www.pacificstaffing.com.


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NFIB Data Shows That Small Business Owners Are Trying to Hire, But Cannot Find Qualified Workers

A large portion of small business owners reported that they were hiring or trying to hire, yet job creation turned slightly negative in April, according to the Jobs Report released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

“For the first four months of 2016 job creation has been stagnant,” said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg.  “Month after month we see no strong direction in our jobs report. This month hiring activities increased, but apparently applicants are not qualified for the open positions.”

NFIB/CA State Executive Director Tom Scott added, “This is troubling news for small businesses especially here in California. Facing a shortage of qualified workers, small businesses will see labor costs increase, further adding to the cost of doing business in this state.”

The average employment change during the month of April decreased to an average loss of 0.08 workers per firm.  Twelve percent reported increasing employment an average 2.2 workers per firm while 13 percent reported reducing employment an average of 3.5 workers per firm.  Up 5 points, 53 percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire.  Of those trying to hire, 87 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions that they were trying to fill.  Twelve percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Problem, a high reading for this recovery.  Twenty-nine percent of all owners reported job openings that they could not fill in the current period, which is up 4 points.  A seasonally adjusted net 11 percent plan to create new jobs, up 2 points from March.

“For several months, owners have been reporting that finding qualified workers is the third ‘Single Most Important Business Problem’ behind taxes and government regulations and red tape,” Dunkelberg continued. “Small business owners want to hire and that is clear from our data, but they’re scrambling to find applicants to fill open positions.”

He also predicts that the April jobs number will remain weak, close to the 200,000 mark with little change in the unemployment rate. 

NFIB’s April Jobs Report is based on the NFIB monthly Small Business Economic Trends survey. The survey was conducted in April and reflects the response of 1644 small businesses. The full Small Business Economic Trends report was to be released on Tuesday, May 10th.

For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB has 350,000 dues-paying members nationally, with over 22,000 in California. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America's economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. To learn more visit www.NFIB.com/california.


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Nationwide Need for Volunteer Firefighters Grows: Are You Up to the Challenge?

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-14

(BPT) - Did you know that 87 percent of America's 30,000 fire departments are either fully or partially staffed by volunteers? The peace of mind that these firefighters provide their communities is irreplaceable, however, the number of volunteers is declining rapidly. This shortage is threatening the effectiveness of fire departments nationwide, ultimately putting many communities at risk.

Volunteer firefighters act as the first line of defense in an emergency, provide medical services and protect more than 50 percent of Americans, particularly in rural communities. These men and women dedicate significant training hours to ensure they are prepared, often at their own expense.

"Firefighters respond to more than 31 million emergency calls each year - three times the number of emergency responses in 1980," said Volunteer Fire Chief Timothy S. Wall, chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Volunteer and Combination Officers Section. "To protect people and property in our communities is an enormous responsibility, but our fire departments are facing many challenges, especially with recruitment and retention of volunteers.”

The decline is the result of fewer people stepping up to volunteer, and the average age of volunteers is increasing every year.

Want to help? Considering supporting your local fire department in the following ways:

Become a volunteer firefighter

As the need for volunteer firefighters grows, the leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, Kidde, has teamed up with several fire safety organizations to launch the Step Up and Stand Out campaign. This nationwide campaign aims to raise awareness that local fire departments need volunteers in order to keep communities safe and recruit new volunteers.

Recognize a volunteer in your community

Nominate a volunteer firefighter to help your local department earn national recognition and valuable prizes. The Step Up and Stand Out campaign includes a contest hosted on Firehouse.com/vf, which invites the public to submit a brief video nominating a current volunteer firefighter or support volunteer to receive recognition for their community service. Submissions will be accepted until May 21, and online public voting will begin in June. Five finalists will be announced in August and a final public vote will then determine the grand prize winner, who will be revealed at Firehouse Expo in October. The five finalists will receive Kidde smoke alarm donations, industry memberships, NFPA Fire Prevention Week Kits and more. The grand prize winner will also receive a $1,000 department training grant.

Be proactive about fire safety in your home

Help protect your family and your community’s firefighters by ensuring your home has working smoke alarms. NFPA reports that a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a fire in half. Ten-year sealed battery smoke alarms, like Kidde Worry-Free alarms, use one battery for the life of the alarm to provide 24/7 fire safety protection and eliminate the hassles of low battery chirps.

On average, families have less than three minutes from the time the first smoke alarm sounds to escape a fire, so it’s important to get everyone out efficiently. One of the best ways to be prepared is to create a home escape plan with your family. Practice regularly - both day and night - and know two ways out of each room. Always remember three rules: get out, stay out and then call for help.


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Spring Cleaning Tricks for Small Businesses and Home Offices

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-14

(BPT) - Being a small-business owner or home-based professional is hard work. Long hours may come with big rewards, but maintaining a clean and well-organized office might just be one of the many sacrifices. Do you think the mess doesn't matter when it comes to the bottom line? The reality might surprise you.

Productivity and workplace cleanliness are directly related, meaning dust and grime is more than just an eyesore. A clean office produced a 5 percent productivity gain, according to a study conducted by HLW International LLP. What's more, employee morale and engagement improve when an office is organized and clean, which in turn means higher productivity.

Piles of paper here, folders scattered there and lots of clutter everywhere - the effects of a messy workplace go even further. When office spaces are dirty, germs and viruses spread easily. In particular, touchpoints such as doors, handles, phones, etc. can be a transfer point. When you or one of your team members becomes sick, it can halt productivity for the entire business.

To keep your office clean and productivity pumping, consider these five smart tips and tricks:

1. Stock your cleaning arsenal.

When you have the right cleaning supplies and tools on hand, it's easier to adopt and stick with a cleaning routine. Some essentials include paper towels, all-purpose spray cleaners, dusters and air deodorizers. Fortunately, you can get everything you need to maintain a clean and tidy office at Staples. Visit www.staples.com to place an order - you can even pick up breakroom essentials like coffee, along with clever office organizational supplies.

2. Wipe once weekly.

Place a bottle of disinfectant wipes at each person's desk and encourage everyone to wipe weekly. Not only will this prevent dust and food grime from building up, it will also help eliminate germs to keep everyone healthy. Make sure to focus on the phone, keyboard, desk surface and door handle to your office. If your space has a breakroom, wiping it down regularly is equally important.

3. Plan a purge day.

Particularly appropriate during spring cleaning season, planning a purge day is a great way to eliminate clutter and inspire organization. Whether you're a one-man-shop or have a small team of dedicated employees, set aside a few hours on a particular day to recycle old paperwork, donate dated office supplies and toss broken desk gadgets.

4. Rearrange the workspace.

After the clutter is gone, it's time to organize. Rethink your file system and use color coding to your advantage. Use storage options to streamline desk space. Invest in ergonomic office supplies to help keep your workforce healthy. Digitize what you can to eliminate excess paperwork.

5. Organize the digital workspace.

Technology is another big consideration when it comes time to clean. Dated files, legacy software and hidden computer viruses can cause digital chaos that cuts productivity quickly. Clean up your technology systems by deleting unnecessary files and software. Buy a backup drive and cloud storage as necessary.

Want more tips for keeping a clean office from the experts at Staples? Visit www.staples.com and prepare for productivity progress.


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Nursing Shortage Creates Career Opportunities at Senior Living Communities

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-14

(BPT) - With nearly 8 million Americans still unemployed, it may be difficult to imagine a labor shortage is on the horizon. Yet many labor experts predict the health care industry is headed in that direction - and older adults may be one of the groups that will suffer the most if a shortage does occur as forecasted.

“The potential lack of nurses in assisted living communities is particularly concerning,” says Kim Estes, senior vice president of clinical services for Brookdale Senior Living.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2022, American health care facilities will need 1 million more nurses than there will be nurses practicing. At the same time, people 65 and older will account for 16 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureaus. With 85 percent of seniors having at least one chronic medical condition, and more than two-thirds having at least two, seniors are the age group most in need of care.

Any labor shortage, however, can have a silver lining for those who are willing to train for the understaffed market and pursue available jobs where the need is greatest.

“The nursing shortage, aging population and rising incidence of chronic conditions are creating a perfect storm of opportunity for nurses who want to go into caring for those in assisted living,” Estes says. “Many nurses don’t think about going into senior living as a career path because it’s not a typical hospital or doctor’s office position, but it can be very rewarding. Rather than treating a patient and moving onto another patient, assisted living gives nurses the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships and enrich the lives of residents and their families.”

Brookdale’s assisted living communities hire nurses as health and wellness directors. They oversee all clinical services within a community including managing care associates, setting standards, and leading health and wellness programming. Rather than providing daily hands-on care, these nurses shape the overall quality and content of care their community’s seniors receive on a daily basis. The work offers opportunity to advance to higher-level leadership positions at the district, regional and corporate level which pay significantly more than a typical hospital or physician’s office job.

Some healthcare providers are taking action to combat the looming nursing shortage, offering support, training and assistance to people interested in entering the profession. For example, Brookdale is launching a student loan reimbursement program hoping to attract more nurses to work in assisted living.

“Whether you’re already working as a nurse, or are considering a career in nursing, working in a senior living community can be professionally, personally and financially rewarding,” Estes says. To learn more about job opportunities at Brookdale Senior Living, visit www.brookdalecareers.com.


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Start Up Your Future: Teaching for Today's Entrepreneurial Business Culture

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-14

(BPT) - Every year Christine Rainwater asks her Washington, D.C.-based undergraduate business students the same question on their first day of class: are any of you interested in starting a business?

“Ten years ago, I would only get two or three students to raise their hands,” said Rainwater, a DeVry University professor and president of the Small Business Advisory Firm. “Now, the majority of my students do - and some share ideas even before class begins. It really represents a new mindset as students take a more entrepreneurial approach to learning. I think they’re surrounded by fast-growing startups like Uber and GrubHub, and they feel inspired to quickly bring their own business ideas to life.”

Business enterprise shows like Shark Tank, Beyond the Tank, and How I Made My Millions are indicative of a bigger business trend: renewed growth in small business and startup ventures. According to the 2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity and National Trends, the Startup Activity Index rose in 2015 - reversing a downward trend that began in 2010 - allowing the largest year-over-year increase in the past twenty years.

“Students see new, successful companies run by young creatives whose passion propelled them to success faster than climbing the traditional corporate ladder,” said Rainwater. “Not only is this inspiring more people to do the same, but it’s encouraging a whole new type of student to head back to school looking for resume-building experience that can jump-start job prospects right out of the program.”

Shaping a New Culture of Entrepreneurs
Today’s college student is different than past generations. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 75 percent of undergraduate students today could be considered “non-traditional.” They are often busy, working adults that have to balance the demands of school, work and family life.

Several non-traditional students need colleges that can fit into their busy schedules of work and family responsibilities. Moreover, many are coming back to school because they want to advance their current career or move to a new field quickly. Non-traditional students want their degree to speak for itself, demonstrating their capabilities and value.

That’s why Rainwater puts hands-on learning at the center of her curriculum.

“In my Senior Projects course, I challenge my students to explore their own neighborhoods, develop business plans for local companies and even kick-start businesses of their own,” she said. “It’s always rewarding to see their eyes light up when they first come up with a viable idea, or see the impact they’ve made in their communities.”

The approach has given students real-life experience and has encouraged collaboration with local organizations. Online grocery store Relay Foods enlisted the help of Rainwater’s students to revamp their salsa canning and distribution plan. As a result, the students were able to help the grocer increase brand awareness and customer appeal for their signature salsa. Another student turned her passion for making premium homemade soap into a business, eventually turning the side job into an online boutique.

The Benefits of Breakthrough for Rising Innovators
Outside the classroom, Rainwater is the president of the Small Business Advisory Firm, a network focused on meeting the educational, networking and program-specific requirements to compete in the federal and private-sector contracting environment.

“In the past, people had to go through an extensive process to start their own businesses,” said Rainwater. “Today, technology has removed many of the barriers that used to stand between big thinkers and entrepreneurship.”

Rainwater considers immersive learning an imperative tool for business students’ professional development. She believes that it not only fosters creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit, but also creates a safe environment for students to build tangible skills that can be immediately implemented in the workplace - across a variety of roles and practices.

To help today’s students learn more about starting a new business, DeVry University offers a small business management and entrepreneurship degree specialization within its College of Business & Management. At the graduate level, its Keller Graduate School of Management offers an entrepreneurship concentration within its MBA program.

“Right now, U.S. startup activity is rising for the first time in five years, showing entrepreneurs are the most hopeful they have been in several years,” said Rainwater. “And the beauty of these entrepreneurship programs is they not only teach students how to grow businesses, but they arm them with skills to succeed when they hit obstacles along the way - setting them up for long-term success.”


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