Find grants, funding and support programs from across government to help your business grow and succeed. When searching for funding in City Hall Singapore, keep in mind that you’ll generally need to meet certain criteria to be eligible, and that aside from funding assistance, many programs can help your business by building your skills and knowledge.
In addition, the job search process can be mentally and emotionally challenging, not to mention the financial opportunity costs of not working in City Hall is usually high.
Common scenarios include fresh graduates looking for their first full-time job; mature workers hoping to start a new phase of their career; or those who got retrenched and wish to find employment.
Unlike in the past, where people work for the same employer for the entire duration of their working lives, the working adults of today will find themselves in the market for a job much more often.
Companies of all sizes can benefit from a variety of local, state and federal funding assistance programs to improve their quality management systems and upgrade employee skills. This broad definition covers ISO, Six Sigma, Lean, change management, leadership and basic skills training. Some of these programs offer matching funds while others provide tax credits. A few even bestow outright grants. However, gaining access to - and understanding - these funding programs can be a daunting task. That is why it pays to select a management consulting firm that knows how to navigate these often bewildering waters.
A Multitude of Funding Programs are Available to U.S. Companies
Funding assistance programs are designed to cover everything from maintaining high employment in local areas, to helping American companies combat foreign competition. Some state programs are even designed to counter out-of-state challenges by domestic competitors. Most programs offer financial assistance to upgrade employee skills and operating efficiency through training.
Typical Qualifying Criteria for Funding Assistance
Although most funding assistance programs are aimed at domestic manufacturers, financial help is also available for other industries that are facing foreign competition.
It is recognized that ISO, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, change management and leadership training are key elements in continuous improvement, and streamlining key business processes. Since these disciplines yield results that strengthen domestic businesses, they are favored by many funding assistance programs.
Situations that typically qualify for some form of funding assistance include:When a business is being adversely affected by foreign or out-of-state competitors.If a company experiences falling sales due to the onslaught of foreign competition.If upgrading employee skills would demonstrably improve company performance or increase employee retention.When ISO registration is required by customers or international marketsWhen employee training provides enhanced skill sets that are transferable, or lead to an industry-recognized credential or certification.Creation of jobs, or preventing loss of jobs, due to a possible facility closing or changing technology.Creation of jobs as a result of a company relocating, or expanding into a state, or starting a business in a stateIf a company provides critical services or goods to the Department of Defense.
An extensive array of funding programs is available to most types of businesses and manufacturers in particular. Taking advantage of these can significantly reduce--or even cover the complete cost for a company--to provide quality management systems training for its employees.
Examples of Nationwide Programs
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)
MEP is a nationwide network of not-for-profit centers in nearly 350 locations nationwide. Their sole purpose is to provide small and medium sized manufacturers with the services they need to succeed. The centers, serving all 50 States and Puerto Rico, are linked together through the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology. Centers are funded by federal, state, local and private resources to serve manufacturers.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)
Established by Congress in 1974, TAA is managed by business professionals who understand manufacturing. TAA focuses on providing financial assistance to import-impacted manufacturers. TAA offers 50/50 cost sharing of projects aimed at improving a manufacturer's competitive position. Specifically, these matching funds are applied toward the cost of consultants. Funds can be used for on- or off-site employee training. The eleven TAA centers throughout the country work with eligible firms in marketing, production, management and many other areas.
Under certain circumstances, other federal agencies also provide funding for employee training and skills upgrading. The Environmental Protection Agency and Commerce Department are just two examples.
Examples of State Programs
Most states have funding programs for the purpose of improving competitiveness in a global economy and business retention. Here are a few examples:
California Employment Training Panel (ETP)
ETP is a California State agency that is designed to fund training which meets the needs of employers for skilled workers, and the need of workers for good, long-term jobs. The program supports the California economy, primarily by funding the retraining of incumbent, frontline workers in companies challenged by out-of-state competition.
Illinois Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP)
ETIP supports Illinois workers' efforts to upgrade their skills, in order to remain current in new technologies and business practices. This enables companies to remain competitive, expand into new markets and introduce more efficient technologies into their operations. ETIP grants may reimburse Illinois companies for up to 50 percent of the cost of training their employees.
New York State Industrial Effectiveness Program (IEP)
IEP is a grant available to small and medium-sized manufacturing firms and industry groups within New York state. This grant provides up to $50,000 for companies to obtain a wide variety of management consulting training support. Many organizations have accessed this funding for Lean Manufacturing and ISO quality systems training.
New Jersey Customized Training Grant Program (CTGP)
CTGP enhances the creation and retention of skilled jobs in New Jersey through comprehensive workforce training. The aim of the program is to upgrade skills, and enhance the knowledge and work-related abilities of New Jersey workers. It also focuses on improving the overall productivity, and economic well-being of employers. Today, over thirty-million dollars is available for Customized Training Grants.
Local County and City Programs Abound Too!
Many counties and cities offer incentives in the form of tax credits and other benefits to ensure that local companies remain financially healthy. Local governments support actions that create robust economies, and keep their tax base from moving elsewhere. Upgrading employee skills through ISO training, for example, enhances competitiveness and contributes to company growth--a saleable proposition to tap into many local funding programs.
Acquiring Funding Assistance for ISO and Other Training Requires Expertise
Each funding program has its own qualifying criteria and paperwork. The paperwork and processes involved are sometimes confusing and often intimidating. And packaging successful submissions often requires the assistance of an expert familiar with the targeted program.
The typical steps in pursuing financial assistance are to:Conduct a comprehensive training needs analysis. What problems or issues is the client experiencing?Specify the proposed solution. Create a succinct definition of the proposed training curriculum or consulting assignment, and explain how this will close the identified performance gaps.Identify an appropriate funding assistance program, and demonstrate how the proposed solution satisfies its criteria.Complete and process the required paperwork in a timely fashion. Sometimes, it can take months and several iterations for a request to be approved.Achieve notification of funding approval and the disbursement criteria.Administer the approved funding according to the program's rules and procedures.
Actual levels of funding assistance depend on the program. For example, TAA will share up to fifty percent of the cost for services that improve a manufacturer's competitive position. TAA pays for half of the cost of these services, up to $150,000 in projects, with a maximum TAA share of $75,000. On the other hand, the California ETP program funds companies 100 percent of monies spent for qualified employee training. Also, New Jersey offers a $22,000 ISO grant (regardless of company size), and customized training grants of up to $1,000 per person trained.
The main obstacle for companies seeking funding assistance is a lack of familiarity with funding programs and the qualifying criteria. Finding the right program--and then preparing a funding proposal in the proper format--takes expertise that is outside the mainstream of most companies. Administering approved funding and complying with program regulations are also proficiencies lacking in many businesses.
It Pays to Align your Company with a Knowledgeable Consulting Firm
A management consulting firm that is well-versed in obtaining assistance funding for ISO and other continuous improvement skill-based training can dramatically cut costs for their clients. There is no substitute when it comes to successful experience with these programs--the hand that guides must be steady and sure.
Performing a comprehensive training needs analysis, finding the best funding program, navigating intricate paperwork and helping clients satisfy qualifying criteria requires seasoned expertise. Selecting a consulting firm that has a successful track record also gives clients confidence to proceed with training or other quality management projects, knowing that their funding proposal will likely be approved.
Experienced management consulting firms keep abreast of changing regulations and trends. They know how to expedite proposals, and overcome bureaucracy to successfully secure funding. And they issue status reports along the way, so that their clients are fully informed. Moreover, knowledgeable management consulting firms are proactive in advising their clients of funding opportunities and how these can be leveraged.
If a company is interested in getting financial help, it pays to partner with a consulting firm that has a successful track record in obtaining funding assistance. More established management consulting firms, like Change Management Consulting, have strategic relationships with dedicated resources that perform funding program management for their clients. This relieves them of the administrative burden. These assets closely monitor a client's compliance with the funding program's regulations. They efficiently manage data entry, tracking, reporting and invoicing. Knowing the ropes, they help clients maintain positive cash flows by expediting the release of program funds.
To support Singaporeans based in City Hall in these aspects, here are the government grants and resources that you can utilize. These programs are administered by Workforce Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower.
A service excellence seminar will give you the competitive advantage you need to survive in a tough business climate. In today’s customer-oriented business environment, people skills are critical for personal and organizational success.
Likewise, a customer service excellence seminar gives you the skills you need to communicate professionalism, gain respect, enhance customer relationships and secure an overall competitive advantage through customer service excellence.
How you handle your customers can directly affect your individual goals as well as your team’s and company’s performance.
The lack of a healthcare specific, compliant, cost-effective approach to Enterprise Information Management (aka EIM) is the #1 reason integration, data quality, reporting and performance management initiatives fail in healthcare organizations. How can you build a house without plumbing? Conversely, the organizations that successfully deploy the same initiatives point to full Healthcare centric EIM as the Top reason they were successful (February, 2009 - AHA). The cost of EIM can be staggering - preventing many healthcare organizations from leveraging enterprise information when strategically planning for the entire system. If this is prohibitive for large and medium organizations, how are smaller organizations going to be able to leverage technology that can access vital information inside of their own company if cost prevents consideration?
The Basics -
What is Enterprise Information Management?
Enterprise Information Management means the organization has access to 100% of its data, the data can be exchanged between groups/applications/databases, information is verified and cleansed, and a master data management method is applied. Outliers to EIM are data warehouses, such as an EHR data warehouse, Business Intelligence and Performance Management. Here is a roadmap, in layman terminology, that healthcare organizations follow to determine their EIM requirements.
Fact #1: Every healthcare entity, agency, campus or non-profit knows what software it utilizes for its business operations. The applications may be in silos, not accessible by other groups or departments, sometimes within the team that is responsible for it. If information were needed from groups across the enterprise, it has to be requested, in business terminology, of the host group, who would then go to the source of information (the aforementioned software and/or database), retrieve what is needed and submit it to the requestor - hopefully, in a format the requestor can work with (i.e., excel for further analysis as opposed to a document or PDF).
Fact #2: Because business terminology can be different WITHIN an organization, there will be further "translating" required when incorporating information that is gathered from the different software packages. This can be a nightmare. The gathering of information, converting it into a different format, translating it into common business terminology and then preparing it for consumption is a lengthy, expensive process - which takes us to Fact #3.
Fact #3: Consumers of the gathered information (management, analysts, etc) have to change the type of information required - one-off report requests that are continuously revised so they can change their dimensional view (like rotating the rows of a Rubik's cube to only get one color grouped, then deciding instead of lining up red, they would really like green to be grouped first). In many cases, this will start the gathering process all over again because the original set of information is missing needed data. It also requires the attention of those that understand this information - typically a highly valued Subject Matter Expert from each silo - time-consuming and costly distractions that impact the requestor as well as the information owner's group.
Fact#4: While large organizations can cope with this costly method in order to gather enough information to make effective and strategic business decisions, the amount of time and money is a barrier for smaller or cash strapped institutions, freezing needed data in its silo.
Fact #5: If information were accessible (with security and access controls, preventing unauthorized and inappropriate access), time frames for analysis improve, results are timely, strategic planning is effective and costs in time and money are significantly reduced.
Integration (with cleansing the data, aka Data Quality) should not be a foreign concept to the mid and smaller organizations. Price has been the overriding factor that prevents these tiers from leveraging enterprise information. A "glass ceiling", solely based on being limited from technology because of price tag, bars the consideration of EIM. This is the fault of technology vendors. Business Intelligence, Performance Management and Data Integration providers have unknowingly created class warfare between the Large and SMB healthcare organizations. Data Integration is the biggest culprit in this situation. The cost of integration in the typical BI deployment is usually four times the cost of the BI portion. It is easy for the BI providers to tantalize their prospects with functionality and reasonable cost. But, when integration comes into play, reluctance on price introduces itself into the scenario. No action has become the norm at this point.
What are the Financial Implications for a Healthcare Organization by maintaining the status quo?
Fraud detection is the focal point for CMS in their EHR requirements of healthcare organizations, Let's take a deeper, more meaningful look at the impact of EHR. Integration, a prominent component of Enterprise Information Management in the New Approach, brings data from all silos of the organization, allowing a Data Quality component to verify and cleanse it. The next step would be to either send it back to its originating source in an accurate state and/or put it into a repository where it will be accessible to auditing (think CMS Sanctions Auditors), Business Intelligence solutions, and Electronic Health Records applications. With instantly accessible EHRs, hospitals and their outlying practices can verify patients with payors, retrieve medical histories for diagnosis and treatment decisions, and update/add patient related information. What impact to treatment does a review of a new patient's history have for both patient and practice? Here are some elements to consider:
1. Diagnosis and treatments that are based on previous patient dispositions - reducing recovery time, eliminating Medicare/Medicaid/Payor denials (based on their interpretation as to fault of the practitioner in original treatment or error incurring additional treatment).
2. Instant fraud detection of patients seeking treatment for the same malady across the practices within the organization. Prescription abuse and Medicare fraud saves money not only for the payors, but the healthcare organization as well.
3. The Association of Fraud Examiners states that 9% of a Hospital's revenue each year is actually lost to fraud.
One overlooked but common impact is in the cost of managing patient records. Thousands of file folders in storage with new instances being added each time a new patient enters into the system. Millions of pieces of paper capturing patient information, payer data, charts, billing statements, and various items such as photo copies of patient IDs, are all stored in those folders. The folders are then stored in vast filing cabinets - constantly being accessed by filing clerks, nurses, practitioners and assorted staff. Contents of the files being misplaced or filed incorrectly. Hundreds, if not thousands, of square feet being consumed for storage. The AHA projects that an enterprise leveraging Electronic Health Records will recover no less than 15,000 square feet of usable space. That space can be used for additional services, opening up new channels of revenue. The justification is easy: how much would it cost the hospital to build out 15,000 square feet for a new service? The average cost to build space utilized for Health Services is $65 per square foot, or $975,000 total. An EIM solution through the New Approach would be less than 20% of that. Not only has the EIM solution reduced dollars lost to fraud, lowered the days for payor encounters to be paid, increased cash on hand, but it will also open up new services for the patient community and revenue back to the healthcare organization.
Electronic data is costly in its own way. Bad aka "Dirty" data has enormous impact. Data can be corrupted by error in data entry, systems maintenance, database platform changes or upgrades, feeds or exchanges of data in an incompatible format, changes in front end applications and fraud, such as identity theft. The impact of bad data has a cause and effect relationship that is pervasive in the financial landscape:
1. Bad data can result in payor denials. Mismatched member identification, missing DRG codes, empty fields where data is expected are examples of immediate denials of claims. The delay lowers the amount of Cash on Hand as well as extends the cycle of submitted claim to remittance by at least 30 days.
2. Bad data masks fraud. A reversal of digits in a social security number, a claim filed as one person for the treatment of another family member, medical histories that do not reflect all diagnosis and treatments because the patient could not be identified. Fraud has the greatest impact on cost of delivering healthcare in the United States. Ultimately, the health system has to absorb this cost - reducing profitability and limiting growth.
3. Bad data results in non-compliance. CMS has already begun the architecture and deployment of Sanctions Data Exchanges. These exchanges are a network of data repositories that are used to connect to health healthcare system, retrieve CMS related data, and store it for auditing. The retrieval will only be limited to the patient encounters that show a potential for denial or fraud, so the repository will not be a store of all Medicare and Medicaid patient encounters. But, the exchange has to be able to read the data in its provider data source in order for CMS to apply certain conditions against the information it is reading. What happens when the information is incomplete or wrong? The healthcare system is held accountable for the encounters it cannot read. That means automatic and unrecoverable denials of claims PRIOR to an audit, regardless of claim legitimacy.
The Price Fix by Big Box Healthcare Technology Firms
Are the major healthcare software and technology vendors (Big Box) price gouging? Probably not. They are a victim of their own solution strategies. Through acquired and some organic growth (McKesson, Eclipsys, Cerner, etc), they find their EIM solutions lose their agnostic approach. This is bad...very bad for health systems of all sizes. With very few exceptions, the vast majority of healthcare organizations DO NOT BUY all applications and modules from a single stack player. How could they? Healthcare systems grow similarly - some organic, some through acquisition. When a hospital organization finds over the course of time, an application that is reliable, such as a billing system, there is tremendous reluctance to remove a proven solution that everyone knows how to use. Because the major technology providers in the healthcare space act as a "One Stop Shop", they spend most of their time working on integrating in their own product suite with little to no regard to other applications. Subsequently, they find themselves trapped: they have to position all products/modules to maintain the accessibility and integrity of their data. This is problematic for the hospital that is trying to solve one problem but then must purchase additional solutions to apply to areas that are not broken, just to be able to integrate information. That is like going to the hardware store for a screwdriver and coming back with a 112 piece tool set with a rolling, 4 foot cart built for NASCAR. You will probably never use 90+% of those tools and will no longer be able to park in your own garage because the new tool box takes up too much space!
IT resources - including people - must be utilized. In today's economy, leveraging internal IT staff to administer a solution post-deployment is a given. If those IT resources do not feel comfortable in supporting the integration plan, then status quo will be justified. This is the "anti" approach to providing solutions in the healthcare industry: the sales leaders from Big Box technology firms want their sales people in front of the business side of the organization and to stop selling to IT. While this is a common sense approach, the economy in 2010 mandates that IT has to at least validate their ability to administer new technology solutions. The prospect of long-term professional consulting engagements to follow post installation has been shrinking at the same rate as healthcare organizations profit margins.
Empowering the healthcare organization to utilize its existing IT staff to administer and develop with the new products is not part of the business plan when Big Box players market to the industry. It is the exact opposite - recurring revenue from lengthy, and sometimes permanent, professional services consulting engagements is part of the overall target. The initial price quote for a Big Box solution is scary enough, but the fact remains that it is still not representative of what the ongoing cost to maintain through consulting arrangements. This is a variable cost, which is difficult to predict, and drives finance managers and executives crazy.
Solving the Dilemma - A Better Solution through a New Approach at a Fraction of the Cost
When Healthcare Business Experts combine talents with Technology Architects, EIM Solutions cost drop dramatically. This is the New Approach to Healthcare EIM, providing the way health organizations will be able to provide successful solutions at significantly reduced costs - opening the door for health systems of all sizes.
The EIM Firm (using the New Approach) versus Big Box Healthcare Technology Providers:
Smaller, more agile firms bring many benefits to Healthcare Organizations of any size. The benefits:
1. They are focused on specific verticals - just like the Big Box Health Technology providers. Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the smaller firms typically are industry veterans with years of experience and success in their approach who see their resume as a service offering better utilized when they are able to apply their methods for successful strategy planning as opposed to learning the methods of a Big Box player. Their income is better since their revenue is applied into a smaller operating cost, extending lower pricing for solutions that are MORE EFFECTIVE and offering stronger client/vendor relationships as the SME limits themselves to a certain number of clients.
2. Solutions built on proven approaches and strategies. Again, the firm's SMEs are able to define a methodology that can be re-used or re-configured in each client instance. This saves time and money for the client as delivery is accelerated and the cost of architecting is eliminated.
3. The firms themselves develop solutions and methodologies agnostically. Their understanding of the diversity of systems that exist in the technology of a healthcare organization allows them to not only develop adaptable solutions but also add a Business Process Management Plan (BPM). The BPM will define for the organization EXACTLY how information is received, processed, cleansed, stored, shared and accessed. It also will define an action plan for training IT for administration and support as well as end users at all levels on how they will leverage it going forward. BPM planning in a healthcare organization is a low six figure investment with an outside consulting group. The EIM firms will include it in the cost of the solution. Basically, it is the difference in being told what is wrong and here are the recommendations to fix it versus here is what is wrong and this is how it will be fixed with the new solution.
What is a typical EIM Firm solution?
1. Solution Assessment, noting the current systems, data sources and methods of sharing information as well as business processes, key personnel identification that are gate keepers if information, timeliness of providing information and overall effectiveness in leveraging enterprise information for strategic business planning. See figures 1 for an example of the information process flow visual component of an actual assessment.
2. EIM solution that contains an integration engine that accesses all data sources - reading and writing back to the database or application, providing data quality services and maintaining HIPAA as well as HL7 requirements. See Figure 2 for a diagram.
3. EHR Data Warehouse. A repository to build Electronic Health Records through the integrated data flow.
4. EHR Portal for patient entry (when additional information needs to be added) via a browser.
5. Business Intelligence Dashboards for metrics, AD Hoc analysis and Performance Management Scorecards on organizational goals and objectives.
6. Onsite implementation and integration of the EIM solution.
7. Onsite training during installation for IT and end users. Ongoing training provided via webinars, documentation and technical support staff.
8. Relationships maintained by the Subject Matter Experts for the life of the solution.
9. Stimulus "HITECH" Act pays $44,000 per physician for an EHR solution implemented. The SME creates the grant request to be submitted so the healthcare organization receives Stimulus funds to pay for the total EIM solution
Key Element of the Solution
Onsite Delivery and full time support are key. But, the most important element is training. Why? As noted earlier, it is paramount that existing IT investments, namely personnel, be able to not only administer but also conduct development as the need arises. In Healthcare, CMS managed Medicare/Medicaid is already margins that are in the negative. As private payers follow suit, the number of uncollectable encounters will increase, impacting current profitability models and increasing future cost for treatment. By mitigating IT costs, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) qualifier should actually evolve to a Return on Investment (ROI). ROI is immediate for this solution approach, but it is sustained year over year by leveraging internal IT to support and develop. Now, the Healthcare Organization has eliminated costly professional service consulting engagements and re-investments into new feature licensing. This takes a variable cost every year and makes it a fixed, yet smaller amount - a sensible financial approach to accomplish a proven strategy.
Why EIM? Whether it is Omnibus, "Obama"-care or an edit (not overhaul) of the Healthcare industry, Healthcare Organizations know these truths:
1. Electronic Health Records are necessary for the Fraud detection unit of CMS. Each organization must comply with accessibility, HIPAA and format. Fraud reduces overall revenues for a hospital by 9% (ACFE)
2. EHR/EHR have proven to be highly effective in eliminating internal waste, patient fraud, practice fraud and paper overhead. Vast amount of space within the facilities that had been used to store patient records in hard copy can now be utilized to provide additional services and open new revenue streams.
3. Bad or "dirty" data in electronic or hard copy format is costly. According to the AHA (September, 2008), the average cost of a patient record with good or accurate information is $343 annually. The annual cost of a patient record with bad information is $2,054 annually. On average, 18% of patient information within a healthcare organization is bad.
4. Strategies developed by healthcare organizations without 100% of the information they own that is also timely and relevant are ineffective. Objectives cannot be defined, successful processes cannot be identified and improvement plans have little to no metrics in which to determine success.
5. Stimulus/HITECH Act pays $44,000 per physician when EHR is part of the EIM solution. With the smaller EIM firms, Stimulus pays for the entire solution.
Why a New Approach EIM Firm?
1. Subject Matter Expertise from consultants that have proven methodologies.
2. Agility to adapt to the client need instead of the Big Box approach of the client adapting to their product limitations.
3. A Better Solution at a Fraction of the Cost. Their solutions are based on needs and not features.
4. Relationships with the vendor, resulting in improved services, maximum values from vendor solutions and a focused approach to the client needs and goals.
5. A Return on Investment as opposed to a Total Cost of Ownership. Clients need to see solutions that immediately pay for itself and then recover lost revenue while offering channels to new profit centers.
Who Should Attend ?
Thelearningtobefearless advocates that you belong to any of this you should consider attending such skill enhancement programs. Small business owners, customer service representatives, technical and support personnel, field service representatives, account managers, credit and billing specialists, as well as managers who want service excellence training.
How You Will Benefit ?
You would be able to deliver better, faster service, and increase customer satisfaction through a customer service excellence seminar. You will learn how to gain repeat business in City Hall Singapore.
In addition to all this you should often check the Government jobs portal that aims to provide Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) with free job search service that matches them to jobs based on their relevant skills.