Tapping into grants for employee training

As the recipient of federal workforce training funds, Nevadaworks is in the fortunate position of again beginning its fiscal/program year with higher-than-average dollar amounts to distribute throughout northern Nevada. With this high-level funding now on our books, it is imperative that appropriate workforce training be identified and implemented.

To that end, Nevadaworks is announcing some exciting information that will enable local businesses to possibly receive some grant money to offset employee training costs.

A request for proposals (www.nevadaworks.com) has been issued seeking innovative training programs in four defined workforce sectors. The purpose of this request for proposals is to fund programs in northern Nevada that are aligned with Nevada's workforce and economic development initiatives. The Nevada workforce development system has identified four sectors that will have the greatest impact on the future economic development of our state:

Manufacturing and mining sector, which includes the industries of transportation and warehousing, in addition to traditional factory-type activities. Manufacturing industries include those establishments engaged in the transformation of materials into new products, both finished and intermediate. These industries have been grouped into the manufacturing and mining sector due to the considerable commonalities in occupational skill requirements.

Health care sector, which includes social assistance, as well as professional, scientific, and technical services industries. Health care and social assistance establishments provide appropriate services to individuals designed to improve the overall quality of life and living conditions.

Leisure, hospitality, and retail trade sector, which includes the accommodation and food services industry, the retail and trade industry, as well as the arts, entertainment and recreation industries. As a group, these industries comprise Nevada's largest employment base.

Energy sector, which includes the utilities, construction, and waste management industries. Sector activities include energy efficiency, weatherization, renewable energy production, pollution abatement, natural resource conservation and related support activities.

These sectors have been determined by the Governor's Workforce Investment Board to include several demand occupations which are anticipated to recover and/or grow faster than average as our economy recovers from its recent negative past. Putting funds towards on-the-job trainings in these sectors will encourage businesses to secure training at a time and cost appropriate to our recovery thus positioning those businesses for success.

As helpful as on-the-job training may be for a business, the requirements for participation may not be to the satisfaction of every business. As with any grant, there must be a commitment by the employer to fully participate in the following:

On-the-job training is provided under a contract with an employer in the public, private non-profit, or private sector. Through the contract, occupational training is provided in exchange for the reimbursement of a percentage of the wage rate to compensate for the employer's extraordinary costs; percentage of reimbursement can vary depending upon employer size and the participant skills gap. Employers with less than 50 employees may receive up to 90 percent of employee wage rate. Employers with between 51 and 250 employees may receive up to 75 percent of employee wage rate, and employers with more than 250 employees may receive up to 50 percent of employee wage rate. Contracts must be limited to the period of time required for a participant to be proficient in the trained occupation and will also be limited to available fund total.

In addition to on-the-job trainings, Nevadaworks has funding available for possible layoff-aversion training with similar followup requirements.

Individuals in the business community often have a concern about interacting with government entities that promise help with little or no strings attached. Sometimes this concern is based on previous experience and sometimes it is based on general perceptions. Nevadaworks has specific parameters which must be met in order to help interested businesses. As the expert northern Nevada organization in workforce training funding, it is Nevadaworks' goal to use northern Nevada's returning federal tax dollars in a manner that not only meets the law but also helps individuals and businesses in a very positive manner.

To date this year, many organizations are feeling a slow, consistent improvement in their business, and some are even hopeful that the worst is over. For them, getting current or new employees trained in a manner that will help solidify this improvement might possibly be the start of their next growth era. Certainly, getting financial help to offset training costs is a bottom line consideration.

With the Silver State Works initiative at the state level and on-the-job trainings at the regional level, there probably is not a better time for businesses to receive training financial help. But, as with all grant opportunities, time is of the essence. The opportunity is here now. Tomorrow will be too late.

Nevadaworks anticipates all on-the-job contracts to begin during September so that the trainings are complete sooner rather than later. The request for proposals process is very specific and must be completely followed. That is where Nevadaworks' expertise shines. By contacting Nevadaworks today, you will be put in touch with the appropriate service provider who will meet with your organization to develop and coordinate any training proposal that will meet the criteria mentioned. This provider will insure that any agreed upon training is completed to the satisfaction of all.

So if you are interested in pursuing this type of training for your organization, do not delay. Contact John Thurman (284-1332) at Nevadaworks today. This funding is designed to help meet business training needs. Why not have your company benefit from this opportunity?

We are from the government and we are here to help!

Tom Fitzgerald is chief executive officer of Nevadaworks. Contact him through www.Nevadaworks.com


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