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Santa Rosa Junior College’s Small Business Development Center hosted the North Bay stop for the state-wide Next Steps for Small Business tour last Tuesday.

The free event, held at the Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club, drew a crowd of 180, said Lorraine Duvernay, director of the Santa Rosa SBDC.

Organized through the California Small Business Development Center, the event featured breakout sessions that focused on accessing capital, social media, international sales and selling to the government. The event has already visited six cities across the state, with the next stop — Santa Barbara — scheduled for Nov. 2.

Speakers included representatives from Yelp, AT&T, Vertical Response, the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. General Services Administration.

“I think a lot of small businesses thought that procurement-selling to the government was only for big companies," said Ms. Duvernay. "It gave a lot of the business owners an appreciation that this was another source of revenue.”

Among the attendees, who represented small businesses in the North Bay, there was great interest in the prospect of working internationally as a small business. Attendees, most of whom stayed through the entire six-hour event, were also surprised to learn of the help they could receive from the Center for International Trade Development, U.S. Department of Commerce and other agencies.

Many of those in attendance were also learning about the SBDC for the first time, Ms. Duvernay said.

“It made attendees aware of the resources that are out there," she said.***

The College of Marin will host its annual fall job fair on Oct. 26, exposing students and community members to employment opportunities at companies of several sizes.

The college’s Job Placement Center holds three job fairs throughout the year, and each is free of cost. Attendees are encouraged to bring their resumes for on-the-spot advice and interviews.

Held at the Student Services building on the college’s Kentfield campus, organizers expect presence from companies including Bridge the Gap College Prep, the Marin YMCA, Citibank, Natural Nannies and the County of Marin. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A full list of recruiting companies is available at http://marin.edu/StudentServices/JobPlacement/.

The center also allows companies to sign up to post openings and review applications through their staff-managed job search manager. Information is available on their Web site.***

The 2012 salary guide released this month from the international staffing and advising firm, Robert Half International, forecasts starting salaries in the fields it studies to increase by an average of 3.4 percent next year.

The largest increase is expected in technology fields, an anticipated 4.5 percent increase in basic pay.

Accounting and finance, as well as creative marketing, are expected to each experience a 3.5 percent increase. In the legal field, starting salaries are expected to increase 1.9 percent. Administrative and office support salaries are expected to rise 3.4 percent.

The firm collects the data during job searches and placements throughout the year.

The projection mentions specific skills that are in demand as well: in accounting and finance, those with knowledge of complex tax laws are in demand. Cloud computing experts are hot in technology, and those with experience designing interactive user experiences are sought after for creative marketing. Lawyers with four to nine years of experience in high-growth areas like labor law and corporate law are in demand. Office support and administrative professionals with skills in increasing company efficiency are expected to have greater hiring success.

A full list of projections is available at www.rhi.com/SalaryGuides....Submit items for this column to Eric Gneckow, 707-521-4259 or eric.gneckow@busjrnl.com.