The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) today announced four policy changes that will streamline the grant process and make thousands of additional employers eligible for the Express Grant program.
WTFP officials said the fund’s advisory board voted recently to cut in half the two-year waiting period for companies that receive a grant and wish to apply for a subsequent award. The board also made companies with between 50-100 employees eligible for Express Grants; eliminated the waiting period between General Program grants and Express Program grants; and increased the allowable grant period for Technical Assistance grants from six months to 12 months.
Express Grants allow small employers to quickly and simply provide training for employees by using existing training courses where a pricing structure already exists.
“The changes acknowledge the fact that training is an ongoing process that employers maintain over many years in an effort to become efficient and competitive,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM and Chair of the WTFP Advisory Board.
“Our hope is that more employers will now come forward to seek training money, even if they have received grants in the past.
WTFP, the commonwealth’s flagship workforce training initiative, has provided $202 million to train approximately 290,000 Massachusetts workers at more than 3,700 companies since 2007. The program allows employers to apply for grants of up to $25,000 for technical assistance programs, or up to $250,000 for full training programs. Training programs may last up to two years.
The reduced waiting period between applications for general workforce training grants is effective for all companies that have previously won grants. The waiting period commences when grant final paperwork has been completed and approved by staff.
Grant awards will take into account:
- The role of Workforce Training Funds as money intended to supplement, not supplant, private investment in training;
- Performance on previous WTFP grants, including, but not limited to, training program completion, achievement of expected results, and grantee compliance;
- Duplication of training efforts previously funded through the Workforce Training Fund.
Employers fund the WTFP through a surcharge on their Unemployment Insurance tax payments. Companies are permitted to use grants from the fund to train workers in areas such as basic skills, English as a second language, supervisory/management skills, customer service and lean manufacturing.
Lord said expansion of the Express Grant program will allow thousands of employers to access training money for the first time through an expedited process. Applications for Express Grants are accepted on a rolling basis.
“The changes simplify the grant application process for a wide swath of companies that make up the core of the Massachusetts economy. The objective is to get money into the hands of employers to improve the skills of workers and make their enterprises globally competitive,” Lord said.
AIM has helped scores for companies develop successful Workforce Training Fund grant applications. Please contact Bill Baldino (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.