Advisory council gives employers a leg up

Programs address workplace issues
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Every month business representatives gather at a lunch in Auburn for sessions on day-to-day issues in the workplace.
The Foothill Employers Advisory Council is part of a statewide network under the Employment Development Department umbrella.
In Auburn, so far this year’s topics have included “Thrive and Survive” (surviving in day-to-day business during hard economic times) in January, Developments for California Businesses (latest legislation and employment related laws in the works for this year) in February and Smart Hiring in March.
Chairwoman Rachelle Shannon, with California Payroll Concepts in Auburn, has been on the board for three years.
“Our company joined as a member years ago because (the council) offers a lot of good seminars and topics on employer-related issues,” she said. “Then as a member, I decided I wanted to be on the board to be involved in the topics and (deciding) what they are.”
The council meets 10 times a year, including a day-long seminar in October.
“We (schedule speakers) about three months at a time, so we’re always looking for topics and ideas and members are always welcome to share those and if we have an opening, we’ll book it,” she said.
The topics focus on the needs of the group.
“We ask our membership what concerns they are having in their workplace,” Shannon said. “Some are having issues in hiring, firing and keeping up morale. A big thing is ADA compliance. We get a vote from members on what they want to hear about and what their problems are.”
Once topics are selected, the board identifies speakers educated in those areas.
Dues are $25 a year plus $15 for each lunch meeting. Meeting cost for non-members is $20.
It’s a worthwhile expense, Shannon said.
“That gives you access to the Management Hotline — a human resources attorney at no charge,” she said. “That is a huge selling point in the membership.”
April’s presentation will be from the Golden Sierra Job Training Agency.
“They’ll be talking about (the agency’s) programs and assistances for local businesses and job seekers,” she said.
The foothill group joins forces with the South Placer Employer Advisory Council for October’s extended session that includes several speakers.
“It’s a full day and full of lots of information,” she said.
Every presentation provides useful tips and a recent one stands out particularly for Shannon, manager of a payroll service.
“We had a representative of EDD come in and talk about unemployment claims and how to respond to the claims,” she said. “That was very helpful, especially with us working with so many businesses and so many people filing for unemployment.”
Julie Denker, an administrator with Reynolds Maddux LLP law firm in Auburn, has been a member since 2006.
The networking and the education opportunity attracted her to the council. She’s been on the board for four years and this is her second year as vice president.
“The topics vary but they are all employer related and I have made wonderful friends with different business owners since joining,” she said. “There are so many varied topics, from marketing your business to human resource issues, and we have professionals that speak. … Every month I learn something new…. The atmosphere is small and intimate, and it is comfortable to ask questions.”
The Foothill Employer Advisory Council’s membership averages 35 to 40, with 15 and 20 attending the monthly lunch sessions.
Reach Gloria Young at


Upcoming topics
April 11 – Enhance the Workforce for Tomorrow
May 9 – Discipline & Discharge: An Employer’s Guide to Do’s & Don’ts
June 13 – TBA
No meetings in July and August
Sept. 12 – TBA
Oct. 16 – Annual Employer Seminar at The Ridge
Meetings are from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month at Sizzler restaurant.
For more information, see