Businesses have to overcome many obstacles to find success, but the Pasco-Hernando Workforce Board wants to remind them they are not alone.
The board, which administers local workforce development and welfare reform programs, is connecting businesses in Pasco and Hernando counties with grants that can be used to help employees learn new skills or can provide on-the-job training for new hires. The grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out.
“We put the word out to everybody,” said Ana Segovia, a business services consultant for the workforce board. “It’s set up to help the local employers for what their needs are.”
For example, someone has worked at a company for five years gets promoted and now has to work with different software, Segovia said. The employee may need training to handle their new responsibilities.
Or maybe the company has a new bottling line, and its staff needs to learn how to work it. Training dollars may be available to help meet that need, she said.
Under the Employed Worker Training grant program, companies can seek reimbursement of 50 percent to help employees upgrade their skills. But they must meet specific requirements. These grants seek to help companies perform well, with the increased skills of their workforce leading to greater success, which is good for the overall economy, Segovia said.
To receive reimbursement, the training must meet industry-recognized standards, Segovia said. But the process is simple, especially if companies consider all of their training needs for a year and then put together a single application.
There are some restrictions, however. For instance, a company can be eligible for a grant two years in a row, but it cannot receive reimbursement for training involving the same employee year after year, Segovia said.
People are sometimes intimidated by the paperwork, but they shouldn’t be.
“The paperwork we’re talking about initially for your employer to fill out is six pages,” said Nathan Stevens, who also is a business services consultant for the workforce board. “It’s free money. You would think people would be standing in line. Why wouldn’t you come and try to get it?”
Companies can apply for any amount they’d like, and the application will be considered.
“If there’s money available, and there’s justification for this amount, they may be able to get it,” Stevens said.
On another front, there’s also funding available through an on-the-job grant program. The company can receive up to 50 percent of a new employee’s wages for up to 12 weeks through the program.
The arrangement must be pre-approved, the employer must document the training plan and the employee must be a new hire and cannot be a relative, Segovia said.
Some companies use on-the-job training because they want to mold their employees to complete the work the way they want it to be done, Segovia said.
For more information about either of these programs, go to www.CareerCentral.jobs. Click on the Job Seekers tab to find out more about on-the-job training, and click on the employers tab to find out more about the Employed Worker Training program.
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