ERDC involved in helping bring more technology-based jobs to the area

Published 7:28 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Today, area business owners are meeting at U.S. Army Research and Development Center Headquarters to learn how to get contracts with the federal government.

The three-hour workshop hosted by ERDC and conducted by the Mississippi Procurement Technical Assistance Program, a division of the Mississippi Development Authority, is aimed at helping local businesses register with the System for Award Management, or SAM.

SAM is the official website of the U.S. Government that serves as the primary database for vendors doing business with the federal government. Registering in SAM is the first step to pursuing government contracts. The database allows the government to search for companies that will fit an agency’s needs.

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“If you want to do business or contracts with the federal government, even through a credit card, you have to register with SAM. It would be for any federal agency,” said Kimberly Dulaney, ERDC deputy of small business programs.

Dulaney said registering in SAM is free, and the workshop is a hands-on program where representatives from the Mississippi Procurement Technical Assistance Program walk the participants through the actual process of getting registered in SAM.

The program, she said, is part of ERDC’s outreach to local businesses to help them be able to do business with the center. It’s something we need more of.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Warren County Economic Development Foundation are working to bring more industry to the county, and ERDC is an important part in the move to bring technology-based businesses to the area. Getting companies in position to get government contracts is an important part of that move.

A company doesn’t have to have a multi-million dollar budget to qualify.

Tim Black, ERDC’s chief of contracting, said in 2018 more than 50 percent of ERDC’s contracts were for $150,000 or less, “So we do a lot of small contract purchases.”

ERDC needs to be congratulated for its efforts to get local businesses in a position to bid on federal contracts, and we need more of these seminars that can prepare local businesses to compete for state and city contracts and for industries like Continental Tire.

The key word for our area is jobs, and the best way to get them is through training, not just our work force, but the local businesses to compete for contracts that will bring high paying jobs for their employees.