With so many still out of work due to the sluggish economy, fewer people are walking through the doors of the area's small businesses.
Helping people find work will help small businesses get more customers, Lori Libhart, president of the Greater Seffner Chamber of Commerce, told her membership during a recent luncheon.
"The economy has had a tough few years and there is nothing more powerful than a job," she said. "It can be very life-changing, even healing."
And even those who are employed may need to gain new skills to climb the ladder of success, she said.
There are several organizations in the area that can help. One of them is Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance, whose staff was invited to speak to chamber members.
The alliance, which falls under the auspices of the governor and receives federal grant money for its programs, offers a number of services to local businesses including helping them find new employees, said David Robinson, business services recruiter for the program.
The alliance helps with résumé writing, job training and can also offer training to those who are employed so they can climb a rung on the career ladder, leaving a space for someone who needs a job, Robinson said.
The Rev. Tom Atcheson, pastor at the Main Street Pentecostal Church of God in Tampa, talked about a program his church runs called New Beginnings, which helps the unemployed and homeless find their way.
Atcheson recently got the city of Tampa to agree to remove the box on employment applications that asks if the applicant is a felon. That might be the one blemish on a résumé that would keep someone from finding work, he said.
"We have to get people decent jobs … or there is a good chance they will get discouraged and be right back on the streets," Atcheson said.
Dovoni Williams of Aparicio-Levy Technical Center, run by Hillsborough County Public Schools, said her center offers a number of programs that can help people get back into the workforce.
Programs at Aparicio-Levi include PC repair, electronics installation, phlebotomy and a new landscape management program that will start in August.
Libhart urged chamber members to make referrals to the programs to help their own businesses.