Small Business Applauds Governor's Expansion of Workforce Recovery Initiative

Date: July 08, 2020

Next Level Jobs Program Will Speed up Small Business Recovery from COVID

NFIB, or the National Federation of Independent Business, the state’s leading small business organization, thanks the Governor for his commitment to get Indiana small businesses back on their feet by his expansion of Indiana’s Next Level Jobs program. The Governor expanded the Workforce Ready Grant and the Employer Training Grant by increasing eligibility, program offerings, and funding caps through December 30, 2020. The Governor is using federal funding of $50 million from the CARES Act. From that pot of money, $37 million will expand the grant programs. Other funds will support the development of career coaching initiatives, skills training, and recognition of prior learning and experience.


“By expanding the program, thousands of small businesses will soon have more qualified and better trained employees. Finding qualified workers has long been one of the biggest challenges for our small business owners. That problem has been exacerbated thanks to the COVID-19 crisis,” said NFIB State Director in Indiana Barbara Quandt. “Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, our small business owners will be better positioned to recover from the devastating impacts of this health and economic crisis.”


Individuals can receive free job training for jobs in high-demand fields through the Workforce Ready Grant and $22 million of CARES Act funding is going toward the WRG, enabling at least 10,000 additional Hoosiers to utilize the grant. The Workforce Ready Grant, administered by the Commission for Higher Education, will be temporarily expanded in the following ways:

  • Hoosiers with two-and four-year degrees are temporarily eligible to receive full tuition reimbursement for short-term Workforce Ready Grant-eligible programs through December 30. (Costs incurred beyond that point will not be reimbursed.)
  • Nearly 50 new certificates have been approved for addition to the current list of eligible programs. Examples of certificate programs that temporarily qualify for the Workforce Ready Grant include Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), Phlebotomy and CNC Machining. Individuals can enroll in some of the new certificate programs now at with additional programs available for enrollment on the site in the coming weeks.
    • Certificate programs have been selected based on meeting immediate, regional, and emerging workforce needs. Ivy Tech, Vincennes, and the Department of Workforce Development all added programs to the list.
  • The funding cap per individual has been raised from $5,500 to $10,000 to cover high-quality programs that cost more than $5,500 (with program cost frozen at its current level).

The Employer Training Grant, administered by the Department of Workforce Development, supports employers to train new employees, and upskill or reskill incumbent workers. The Employer Training Grant will be temporarily expanded in the following ways, with $15 million of CARES Act funding, enabling 25,000 more Hoosiers to utilize the grant:

  • The maximum amount of funding available to an employer has been raised from $50,000 to $100,000.
  • $5 million will be allocated specifically for minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses.

To get more information and enroll in Next Level Jobs, visit Individuals looking to connect with education, employment, and financial resources available in Indiana are encouraged to visit Indiana’s Rapid Recovery hub, Free one-on-one assistance helping Hoosiers navigate the Workforce Ready Grant is available through INvestEd by calling (317) 715-9007.

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