RENO -The Nevada Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), a free service designed to help small businesses contract with local, state and federal government agencies, has expanded efforts to create jobs in the state.

The now fully-staffed program recently added a specialist dedicated to helping business owners in Nevada's rural communities connect to government contract opportunities and has increased its community engagement efforts with all small-business advocacy groups through a series of free workshops across the state.

"The PTAC strives to increase the number of Nevada companies capable of doing business with the government and connect those companies with lucrative opportunities to expand their business into the government sector," said PTAC director Lyndee Cichon.

A new staff roster isn't the only thing new at the PTAC. The Nevada program dubbed the Procurement Outreach Program or POP, recently added Procurement Technical Assistance Center to the name in an effort to reflect a connection with national similarly federally-funded programs of the same name.

The PTAC, founded in 1986, is part of a nationwide network of business counselors committed to helping Nevada businesses improve marketing skills for both prime and sub-contract opportunities across federal, state and local government agencies. The program is part of the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Services include one-on-one counseling, bid-matching, workshops, and buyer matchmaking events. Currently, more than 1,100 Nevada businesses are actively participating in the program.

Since August 2012, the PTAC has held 25 government contracting workshops, 232 initial one-on-one counseling sessions with new or potential small business clients and 2,083 follow-up counseling sessions with existing active clients.