Is It Time for Your Manufacturing Business to Offer an Apprenticeship Program?

Is It Time for Your Manufacturing Business to Offer an Apprenticeship Program?

Within the last few years, registered apprenticeship programs have become a growing part of national, state, and regional workforce planning strategies, making them a strong option for building a talent pipeline with advanced skills to operate new and emerging technologies.

As industries like agriculture, health care, cybersecurity, manufacturing and more evolve thanks to technology, employers are experiencing a skills gap. These industries need employees with higher skillsets, but not necessarily a four-year college degree. Registered apprenticeship programs are helping to fill the gap.

In December of 2022, the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s Workforce Development Strategy identified Advanced Manufacturing as one of three priority sectors for workforce strategies. The report explains, “Advanced Manufacturing differs from traditional manufacturing in that it incorporates innovative technologies, such as computation, sensing, and networking, into the production process. Types of Advanced Manufacturing include additive manufacturing/3D printing, advanced/composite materials, robotics/automation, laser machining/ welding, and certain types of nanotechnology.”

It adds, “Many traditional manufacturers in the Region have also adopted value added manufacturing processes that require similar skill sets and training as those in Advanced Manufacturing.” As a result, there’s a big demand for machinists, welders, electrical and mechanical technicians, and semiconductor technicians, along with computer science skills.

While apprenticeships to develop these skills were once reserved for large employers due to the time, expenses and resources required, registered apprenticeships are now accessible to small and medium manufacturing employers as well, thanks to associations like the Council of Industry (COI) and its Manufacturing Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP).

COI Vice President of Operations & Workforce Development Johnnieanne Hansen spoke with us about how it works.  “Let’s say you run a small manufacturing business and you have one or two employees who you would like to upskill so they can successfully operate new and emerging technology, now or somewhere down the line. You would give us a call. We evaluate whether an apprenticeship is a good fit for your needs and, if so, we take care of the compliance end of things – helping you identify schools that meet classroom requirements for registered apprenticeships; completing and submitting the necessary paperwork to register with the NYS DOL; onboarding the new apprentice; and then tracking and documenting progress.”

Without the COI’s support, an employer may find it takes six to nine months to meet all the NYS DOL compliance-related responsibilities to build and register an apprentice program. Because the COI is a DOL-approved sponsor for manufacturing related trades, the timeframe to register an apprentice can take less than a week.

Best of all, the COI provides these services to any manufacturer in the Hudson Valley at no cost. While a COI membership does offer numerous advantages and access to additional resources and information about workforce development and funding opportunities, it is not required. Johnnieanne explains, “We want to remove as many barriers as possible to help employers. Their only investment is their time and their commitment to seeing the apprenticeship program through.”

When it comes to paying related schooling costs as part of an apprenticeship program, all SUNY schools in the Hudson Valley offer up to $5,000 in tuition credits. In addition, New York’s Apprenticeship Expansion Grant program provides awards of up to $15,000/apprentice to help cover program costs. (Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis until August 23, 2024.)

There are also tax benefits. Through 2026, apprenticeship program sponsors and participating employers in New York may be eligible for the Empire State Apprenticeship Tax Credit for each apprentice. In general, the tax credit starts at $2,000/year one and increases by $1,000/year until it reaches $6,000/year five. For disadvantaged youth, the credit starts at $5,000/year one and increases to $7,000/year five. If a mentor counsels an apprentice for an entire year, the credit increases by $500.

For more information about an apprenticeship program, refer to the Registered Apprenticeship in New York State booklet or contact the COI. To help you find time to focus on this, please know RBT CPAs is here to support all of your tax, audit, and advisory needs. Give us a call to learn how we can work together to promote your business success.


RBT CPAs is proud to say all our work is prepared in the U.S.A. – we never offshore. As a result, you get peace of mind that your operation’s financial and confidential information is handled by full-time, local staff who have met our high standards for quality, ethics, and professionalism.

The DOE & DOL Spent the Summer Boosting Teacher Talent Pipeline Efforts

The DOE & DOL Spent the Summer Boosting Teacher Talent Pipeline Efforts

While students and families across the U.S. enjoyed time off during the summer months, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Labor (DOL) were busy! In late July, they introduced new guidelines for teacher apprenticeships; new investments and funding opportunities; and more.

Like most industries, school districts have been facing a multi-year labor crunch marked by challenges hiring teachers, aides, medical personnel, bus drivers, and other staff. The situation worsened during the COVID crisis, which saw public education lose 9% of or 730,000 jobs. At the same time, future pipelines of teacher talent looked to be coming up short. Combined, these make the July announcements even more valuable. Here’s what they included…

The National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards (NGS), developed by The Pathways Alliance, are designed to “guide states, school districts, and other apprenticeship sponsors to align their programs to quality standards for K-12 teachers. It also provides a framework that partners can use to develop state specific program standards and provide for expedited development and approval of new apprenticeship programs.” This is part of a long-term plan to strengthen and diversify the teacher workforce, while addressing the teacher shortage, by expanding the number of states with quality apprenticeship programs that reduce costs associated with getting licensed.

A new policy brief from the DOE, entitled Raise the Bar: Eliminating Educator Shortages through Increased Compensation, High-Quality and Affordable Preparation and Teacher Leadership, calls “on state and local leaders to utilize five key policy levers to Raise the Bar and eliminate educator shortages.” Levers include increasing compensation, expanding educator preparation programs, promoting career advancement and leadership opportunities, providing ongoing learning opportunities, and increasing diversity of educators.

Over $27 million in new awards were announced by the DOE. Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants totaling $14.5 million focus on strengthening preparation programs and supports for new teachers. Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) funds of $12.7 million will “support the implementation of evidence-based practices that prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of educators” while also enabling the creation, expansion, and evaluation of practices that can be replicated and scaled.

In addition, the DOL awarded over $65 million in grants to 45 states and territories for apprenticeship programs in education and other sectors (indications are that 35 states are using the funds to address education sector needs). At the same time, the DOL introduced RTI International as a new Registered Apprenticeship intermediary focused on launching, promoting, and expanding programs for k-12 education.

While you and your team become familiar with these new tools, resources, and opportunities, you can depend on RBT CPAs to address all of your accounting, tax, audit, and advisory needs. To learn more, give us a call today.


RBT CPAs do not outsource work to any other country. All of our work is prepared in the U.S.A. 

Are You Maximizing Commercial Real Estate Tax Advantages?

Are You Maximizing Commercial Real Estate Tax Advantages?

Whether you currently own commercial real estate or are considering whether to jump into the market, of the many pros and cons you evaluate, don’t forget to take a look at related tax and investment benefits. Here are a couple that stand out:

Depreciation deductions on income taxes.

As a physical asset that will wear down over time, CRE investors can deduct a defined amount from income taxes each year for depreciation. Residential buildings can be depreciated over 27.5 years, while commercial buildings can be depreciated over 39 years. So, if you buy a commercial building for let’s say $5 million, your income taxes can be reduced by $128,000 each year for depreciation.

If you want larger depreciation deductions over a shorter period of time, you can do that, too, by engaging an engineering firm to conduct a cost depreciation study to identify parts of the property that can be depreciated in less time.

Again, going back to the commercial building you buy for $5 million, let’s say the cost depreciation study identifies $1 million in parts that can be depreciated in 10 years rather than 39. You’ll be able to pay a $100,000 depreciation deduction each of the first 10 years you own the property. Between this portion of the deduction plus depreciation deductions for the rest of the property, for the first 10 years your depreciation deductions will equal about $202,000. That amount goes down to $102,000 for each of the remaining 29 years.

Bonus depreciation.

With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, there is bonus depreciation to qualified improvement property put in service before year-end. Up through 2022, the bonus depreciation was up to 100% of a property’s value the year the property was placed in service. The bonus depreciation is phasing out, dropping to 80% in 2023; 60% in 2024; 40% in 2025; 20% in 2026; and 0% in 2027.

1031 exchange.

This allows you to defer capital gains taxes if you exchange one property for a “like-kind” commercial property in a defined period of time. The new property must be worth the same or more than the first property. After the new property is sold, capital gains taxes are due in full (unless you want to do yet another 1031 exchange, which will defer those taxes even longer).


Diversification is a strategy investors take to manage risk and minimize losses. By diversifying or spreading investments across several different options (i.e., CDs, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, etc.), you hope that if one tanks the others will make up for it. Unlike traditional investment options which typically have a similar reaction during recessionary times, there is another one that may help stabilize a portfolio: CRE. While there are no guarantees against losses, diversifying into CRE may help minimize risk.

Inflation hedge.

One way to protect your investment against a decrease in the purchasing power of your money is to “hedge” against “inflation.” Typically, when inflation rises, so do property values and rents; in turn, real estate returns go up.

There are other deductions associated with CRE investments, including transportation costs, employee wages, professional fees, contractor costs, and more. If you take a business loan to buy a CRE, you may also be able to take a 30% deduction on taxable income for equipment, technology, building repairs and materials, and renovations.

To ensure you take advantage of all the deductions that may be available to you as a CRE owner, make sure to work with a tax professional, like the ones you’ll find at RBT CPAs. We believe we succeed when we help our clients succeed. Want to learn more? Give us a call.


NOTE: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed to be advice or direction. If you are interested in learning more about purchasing CRE as an investment, be sure to speak with a CRE realtor and attorney.

RBT CPAs is proud to say all of our work is prepared in the U.S.A. – we never offshore. As a result, you get peace of mind that your operation’s financial and confidential information is handled by full-time, local staff who have met our high standards for quality, ethics, and professionalism.

Is It Time to Check Your Cybersecurity Strategy for Employee Benefit Plans?

Is It Time to Check Your Cybersecurity Strategy for Employee Benefit Plans?

Not a day goes by when the war on cybercrime isn’t headline news. World powers, including the U.S., are stepping up their defenses and strategies daily. What does this mean to employee benefit plan sponsors, fiduciaries, record-keepers, and even plan participants?

On July 26, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued rules requiring public companies to “disclose material cybersecurity incidents they experience and to disclose on an annual basis material information regarding their cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance.”  While intended to provide investors with timely, consistent information, this action serves as a strong reminder to review and strengthen cyber security strategies.

Benefit plan sponsors, fiduciaries, record-keepers, and others may want to revisit the Department of Labor (DOL) and Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) enforcement focus areas and guidelines launched in April of 2021 to address cybersecurity risks associated with employee benefit plans.

With a likelihood of an uptick in DOL enforcement activities following the end of the COVID National Emergency and Public Health Emergency earlier this year, now may be a good time to review the DOL/EBSA resources, including:

  • Tips for Hiring a Service Provider: These can help plan sponsors and fiduciaries select service providers with strong cybersecurity practices and monitor their activities.
  • Cybersecurity Program Best Practices: These are designed to help plan fiduciaries and record-keepers manage cybersecurity risks.
  • Online Security Tips: These provide tips to plan participants and beneficiaries who check their retirement accounts online to reduce the risk of fraud and loss.

As noted in the original DOL press release accompanying the launch of these resources, “The guidance announced today complements EBSA’s regulations on electronic records and disclosures to plan participants and beneficiaries. These include provisions on ensuring that electronic recordkeeping systems have reasonable controls, adequate records management practices are in place, and that electronic disclosure systems include measures calculated to protect Personally Identifiable Information.”

Considering December 2022 reports issued by the ERISA Advisory Council included Cybersecurity Issues Affecting Health Benefit Plans and Cybersecurity Insurance and Employee Benefit Plans, this is likely an evolving story.

For more information and resources about our country’s efforts to protect and enhance cyber infrastructure, visit the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency website (which includes resources for small and midsized businesses).

As you work with legal counsel, IT experts, Human Resources staff, and other resources to fulfill responsibilities for employee benefit plan cybersecurity, you can count on RBT CPAs for all of your accounting, tax, audit, and advisory needs. To learn more, give us a call today.


RBT CPAs does not outsource work to any other country. All of our work is prepared in the U.S.A. 

NOTE: This article is informational only and not intended as legal advice or direction.

14 Marketing Ideas Breweries Can Tap Into

14 Marketing Ideas Breweries Can Tap Into

According to a recent article in Beverage Daily, “In a maturing market, US craft brewers are up against rising costs and supply chain disruptions. But the Brewers Association says its midyear survey indicates optimism for the second half of the year.” (Arthur, Rachel. “Optimism and challenges for US craft beer market.” August 14, 2023.)

To help craft beer businesses and restaurants make the most of what’s left of the year, we researched and identified 14 ideas to strengthen your marketing efforts or incorporate into your 2024 marketing plans:

  1. Email newsletter/text messages Stay in touch with customers by creating a regular, ongoing email with updates, specials, and more. (com has information on how to build a customer email list.)
  2. Loyalty program Show customers their patronage is valued by offering discounts on drinks or free swag.
  3. Community engagement Is there a big local annual event taking place? Show your business is part of the community by becoming an event sponsor. Check in with your local Chamber of Commerce to learn about upcoming events.
  4. Give back Support local charities by donating a portion of proceeds during a defined period of time; hosting a pet adoption event; collecting food around the holidays for food banks; setting up a collection box for toys to donate to children, etc.
  5. Swag Consider selling hats, shirts, and other items featuring your mascot, brewery name, tagline, and more. With the holidays coming, branded ornaments may be a big hit among your regulars.
  6. Social media and online presence Engage with your customers even when they’re not at your brewery by establishing a presence via the more popular social media channels, a website, and more. Use it for announcements and promotions, but also to invite customers to name a new brew, recommend the best day of the week to visit, etc.
  7. Be a good neighbor Promote other local shops and their wares via a shop local campaign. Sell local stores’ products onsite or host a “holiday shopping pop up” event right at your brewery. Invite other small businesses to join you in creating and distributing a holiday shop local map with special coupons and discounts.
  8. Create a brand experience From décor and furniture to lighting, background music, the personality and dress of servers and more, everything comes together to create a unique experience for your customers. Make it one they want to be part of time and time again.
  9. Design & print a calendar Make it available to your regulars. Highlight brew release dates, special events, and dates that may be meaningful to your customers (for example, if you cater to a lot of people from the local firehouse, include International Firefighters’ Day – May 4, 2024).
  10. Host events Game night, trivia, watching sports, having a themed party (i.e., empty nesters), holding a blind tasting competition, hosting dart leagues, and more – there are numerous ways to add to the experience you create and help build your returning customer numbers.
  11. Celebrate Celebrate holidays, special events (i.e., Mardi Gras), your business’ anniversary, local heroes (i.e., teachers, veterans, police, etc.), and more to build good will and entice people to visit.
  12. Plan for Dry January Let customers know you have their backs whether they want alcohol or not.
  13. Go back to school Certain university’s offer degree and certificate programs on the craft beer business (i.e., SUNY Schenectady or the University of Vermont) – including marketing. Either take a course or talk to the school about offering internships to students who can put their marketing skills to work for you.
  14. Create a marketing plan Don’t let your marketing ideas get lost. Instead, make them part of a plan that you can update and execute throughout the year. You can find a free downloadable marketing template at com and a free small business marketing guide at

While pulling your marketing plans together, you can count on RBT CPAs for all of your accounting, tax, audit, and advisory needs. To learn more, give us a call today.


RBT CPAs do not outsource work to any other country. All of our work is prepared in the U.S.A.

Five Ideas to Strengthen Recruiting and Retention Results

Five Ideas to Strengthen Recruiting and Retention Results

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing I don’t need to tell you about the many challenges municipalities face when it comes to attracting and retaining employees. So, let’s get right to it – what can you do to enhance efforts to compete for and win talent today?

While there are no silver bullets, following are ideas you may want to consider incorporating into your recruiting and retention strategies (if you haven’t already done so).

  1. Conduct focus groups and exit interviews. There’s no better way to understand what attracts and keeps people working for your organization than to ask. Focus groups show existing employees their input matters and can make a difference, while allowing you to identify key value propositions to market to prospective employees. At the same time, exit interviews can garner important insights into what you can do or change to create a work environment that people want to be part of.
  2. Build an employment brand. While you may be hard-pressed to justify hiring a branding agency, there’s a good likelihood you already have content to build on – namely, your municipality’s mission, values, and strategic plans. These were created to reveal why your municipality exists, what it strives to achieve and how, and where it’s going next. When you bring these to life with compelling examples and stories you can easily share on social media and your website, you not only educate community members about what you’re accomplishing, but also establish a sense of pride among existing employees while giving prospective employees insights into what it’s like to be part of the municipality’s team.
  3. Update and streamline recruiting processes. Your recruiting process gives prospects insights into what they can expect on the job. Nothing screams “bureaucracy” and “outdated” like convoluted job descriptions; paper intensive processes; and a lengthy timeline for hiring decisions. Maybe now is a good time to process map all the steps in your recruiting and hiring processes to identify what’s no longer needed and what can be updated with technology. Even better, invite existing employees to partake in a special learning/professional development opportunity by creating a taskforce where they can have input on shaping the future of recruiting and retention.
  4. Market your total rewards. Maybe your municipality doesn’t offer the highest pay, but perhaps it does provide health care and wellness benefits, along with valuable opportunities to build retirement income; paid time off; longevity pay; flexibility to work from home or work part-time hours; job security; being part of a positive team environment; getting hands-on experience; making a difference; and more. Let prospects know about your entire rewards package and take time to remind existing employees how to make the most of their rewards.
  5. Establish and nurture win-win relationships to support recruiting. Many high schools and/or clubs have community service requirements. Are there roles in your municipality that can help meet those requirements while educating students about careers in public service? What about reaching out to your local high school/college alumni looking for jobs upon graduation? College career development offices often look to help pair up graduating students with local employers – make sure they know you’re interested in attending upcoming job fairs. Also, more unions are helping to promote job opportunities that can benefit their members or attract new ones. Finally, employees looking for career development opportunities may step up to serve as mentors to new workforce entrants looking to get ahead.

As you consider how to strengthen your municipality’s recruiting and retention strategies, we want to make sure you know about the two ways RBT CPAs can support your efforts. RBT CPAs can free you up to focus on strategic imperatives like recruiting by supporting your municipality’s accounting, tax, audit, and advisory needs. In addition, our Vision Human Resources Services affiliate provides recruiting and other HR-related services. To learn more, give us a call today.


RBT CPAs is proud to say all of its work is prepared in the U.S.A.  We never outsource outside the U.S.A.  To learn more about the accounting, tax, audit, and business advisory services our local team members can provide for your business, give us a call.

New Resources Available to Build Up Immunity to Cyber Attacks

New Resources Available to Build Up Immunity to Cyber Attacks

Recently, a number of new and updated tools and projects have been launched by a variety of sources to help protect healthcare environments from cybercrime, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. According to one source, the number of security breaches appear to be slowing but the number of records impacted are increasing, indicating cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated. (Vogel, Susanna. Scale of healthcare cyberattacks increase as criminals change tactics, report finds. August 22, 2023.

Sharing learnings from cybersecurity firm Critical Insight’s 2023 Healthcare Data Cyber Breach Report,  HealthCare Dive notes,  “This year, 40 million people have been impacted by healthcare data breaches…Cyber attackers are now targeting vulnerable points in the supply chain, specifically the business associates or third-party companies that offer services to healthcare organizations.”

Just as criminals are getting smarter, so are the many organizations protecting health care practices, businesses and institutions and their patients. In recent weeks:

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched DIGIHEALS to protect healthcare’s electronic infrastructure. Proposals are being sought for proven technologies that can apply to health systems, care facilities, and health devices.
  • An updated version of the Health Industry Cybersecurity Information Sharing Best Practices Guide (HIC-ISBP) – a compliment to the recently updated Matrix of Information Sharing Organizations – was released to help healthcare organizations create and maintain an information sharing program for cybersecurity threats. (McKeon, Jill. HSCC Releases Updated Guidance on Information Sharing Best Practices. August 24, 2023. com.)
  • Beckers’ Hospital Review provided a list of over 100 healthcare security companies helping to protect from data loss, promote smooth operations, and safeguard patient information. (Falvey, Anna and Talian, Brendan. 121 Healthcare Cybersecurity Companies to Know. August 3, 2023. com.)

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 405(d) Program released new tools to help bolster healthcare cybersecurity, including Knowledge on Demand (free training to improve cybersecurity awareness); Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP) 2023 Edition (a publication outlining risks, best practices, and suggested standards); and Hospital Cyber Resiliency Initiative Landscape Analysis (a report on cybersecurity preparedness and hospital benchmarking).

In addition, the American Medical Association has created a “toolkit” of sorts, providing numerous resources for addressing cybercrime all in one place.

As your organization/practice determines its next steps for cybersecurity, you can count on RBT CPAs to handle your accounting, audit, tax, and advisory needs. We believe we succeed when we help our clients succeed. To learn more, give us a call.


RBT CPAs is proud to say all of our work is prepared in the U.S.A. – we never offshore. As a result, you get peace of mind that your operation’s financial and confidential information is handled by full-time, local staff who have met our high standards for quality, ethics, and professionalism.

2024 Fair Market Rents Are Now Available

2024 Fair Market Rents Are Now Available

To address escalating rents, additional aid will be available for 2024 housing voucher programs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced last week.

Last Thursday, August 31, HUD published fair market rents (FMRs) for fiscal year 2024, which begins October 1. On average, FMRs will increase about 12% nationwide (that follows a 10% increase on average for fiscal year 2023). As a result, housing voucher beneficiaries will likely see a higher maximum payment level and potentially expand their housing choices.

In recent years, the voucher program struggled to keep up with rent increases in the private market, resulting in a decline in use. According to a SmartAsset report issued in July, private rents increased an average of 5.45% year over year, although some areas saw increases of greater than 30% and others actually experienced decreases. New York saw an 8.8% increase statewide.

The 2024 FY FMRs are expected to help expand the number of affordable units for those using the Housing Choice Voucher program, which saw a 40,000 increase in use by families from October through May, according to HUD. (Lebowitz, Megan. HUD releases new aid for low-income families to keep up with rising rents. August 31, 2023.

In addition, this week, HUD will release $113 million in housing choice voucher funds for public housing agencies in 36 states, including New York, which is due to receive about $887,000. (View HUD’s press release to see voucher allocations by state.)

According to a press release, HUD expects the combined impact of the FMR increase and additional housing choice voucher funds “will enable more families to rent a healthy, stable home at an affordable cost.”

To view the FY24 FMRs by state and then county, visit the HUD Office of Policy Development and Research website. Scroll down and click the maroon button that says: “Click here for FY2024 FMRs.” Follow the prompts on the next screen to select a state and county or Metropolitan area. You’ll see how FMRs for efficiency, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments compare from FY2023 to FY2024.

For answers to questions about the FY24 FMRs, visit HUD’s Frequently Asked Questions.

While getting acquainted with the FY FMRs and potential new funds, you and your team can count on RBT CPAs for all of your accounting, tax, audit, and advisory needs. To learn more, give us a call today.


RBT CPAs do not outsource work to any other country. All of our work is prepared in the U.S.A.