Holcomb allocates $50M in CARES Act funding for workforce programs

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Friday announced plans to spend $50 million in federal funds to boost workforce development programs.

Most of the funding, which comes from the $2.4 billion the state received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, will be used to expand Workforce Ready Grants and Employer Training Grants. The state also plans use some of the funding to scale up career coaching efforts and other workforce development outreach.

Workforce Ready Grants are available to Hoosiers with a high school diploma but without a college degree who enroll in training programs in advanced manufacturing, building and construction, health sciences, IT and business services, and transportation and logistics.

The grants cover the cost of tuition and fees for certificate programs at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University or other approved providers. They are available for up to two years.

According to the governor’s office, the additional federal funding will allow Workforce Ready Grants to support an additional 10,000 individuals and increase the funding cap from $5,500 to $10,000 for eligible programs.

The expanded program will also allow individuals with two- and four-year degrees who have been affected by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to be eligible for the grants.

Employer Training Grants are designed to help businesses train and hire new and existing employees to fill high demand positions. The grants reimburse employers up to $5,000 per employee who is trained, hired and retained for six months. The maximum grant is $50,000 per employer.

Businesses must be in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, IT and business services, building and construction, health and life sciences, or transportation and logistics in order to qualify.

With the extra federal funding, the Employer Training Grants will be able to support an additional 25,000 individuals and double the reimbursement amount to employers. The governor’s office says there will be an emphasis on supporting women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses.

The federal funding is a significant boost to both programs. In the most recent budget, the state allocated $4 million per year for Workforce Ready Grants and $20 million per year for Employer Training Grants.

Also on Friday, the governor’s office announced a new online career hub, YourNextStepIn.org, which will provide information on job openings, skills training and educational opportunities.

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