While small business owners have continued to struggle with finding well-trained workers, the state of Indiana has put an initiative in place to help with the workforce dilemma.
That assistance comes in the form of Next Level Jobs; a part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Indiana agenda that focuses on education and training initiatives to develop a skilled workforce. Next Level Jobs is made up of two grants and has been implemented since the 2017 legislative session.
“Whether you’re a Hoosier looking for a better-paying job or an employer looking for a better-skilled workforce, Indiana’s Next Level Jobs initiative can help. These grant programs cover education and training offerings that may have otherwise been the responsibility of the individual or the business,” says Nicholas Goodwin, chief strategy officer at Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
The workforce ready grant provides free training for those 18 years and older in specific high in-demand jobs. The in-demand job certification programs include careers in advanced manufacturing, building and construction, IT and business services, health and life sciences, and transportation and logistics.
The employer training grant program is specifically for employers who want to train employees in those in-demand fields. The program will reimburse employers up to $5,000 per newly trained employee that is trained, hired, and maintains employment for six months with a limit of $50,000 per employer.
The six months of training must directly correlate with one of the approved in-demand jobs and must be greater than 40 hours. There is a list of pre-approved training providers. If the employer uses a third party for training, they will have to submit training information that includes the occupational skills training, and proof of alignment to the approved jobs.
Although there are no wage requirements for new hires in the program, the employee will have to receive a wage gain from the start of training to its completion.
Although the program accepts applications on a rolling basis, there is $10 million allocated to the initiative. As of June 1, there have been over 700 applicants from employers for the employer training grant, and over 20,000 have expressed interest in the workforce ready grant and are going through the admissions process.
“Indiana’s unemployment rate now has been below the U.S. rate for more than four years. These historically low unemployment numbers indicate an economy that is at nearly full employment levels, which results in businesses having a more difficult time in finding new, qualified workers to grow their business,” Goodwin said. “The Next Level Jobs programs help support businesses in priority sectors by increasing the supply of qualified talent just as it better prepares individuals to enter the high-demand, high-wage careers that these businesses are offering.”
To learn more about Next Level Jobs, click here.