Worker Training Funding for Your Small Business
Improve the Skills for Your Businesses Employees
By Tim Saunders at Central Virginia Workforce Development Board
With Baby Boomers continuing to retire in record numbers, many employers are losing decades of institutional knowledge and expertise from staff who have held positions of leadership in their organization. In some cases, these workers have held the same position for many years. While these vacancies are creating once-in-a-generation opportunities for some individuals to move up in their careers by filling the shoes of their retiring colleagues, many organizations are struggling to find candidates with the right experience and skillset to tackle certain roles. Some are addressing this need by upskilling their existing workforce.
Employers who chose to pay for their employees to complete a training program can qualify for Federal funding to offset their costs. Workforce boards around the United States offer “Incumbent Worker Training” funds, which are designed to cover a portion of an employer’s expenses when they support the upskilling of individuals who are already on their payroll.
In the greater Lynchburg area, the Central Virginia Workforce Development Board offers Incumbent Worker Training funds through its “Existing Worker Training” program. As part of this initiative, employers can receive up to $10,000 per year in funds to offset the cost of upskilling workers who have been on their payroll for at least six months. Funds can be used to cover the training costs of one or more workers, but the maximum amount allowed for one worker is $2,000. All funds are paid directly to the employer as reimbursement for costs incurred, which generally makes the funding a “win-win” proposition. The worker is receiving training that will strengthen their skillset while the employer is receiving money to offset the financial burden of training the employee.
Lynchburg-area employers have used Existing Worker Training funds to cover the cost of bringing in a trainer when a new piece of equipment was purchased. Funds have also been granted to cover the expense of workers attending classes at Central Virginia Community College and Virginia Technical Institute. Several employers have used the money to cover the costs of online training courses.
Upskilling has many benefits for both the employer and its workforce. By training existing staff, employers can improve the alignment of their workers’ skills with new job requirements and provide individuals with access to new career opportunities where they already work. Upskilling can also prevent workers from being laid off due to skills deficiencies and create new opportunities for entry-level workers when existing workers are promoted after their training.
To qualify for funds, employers must demonstrate a linkage between the training activity and occupations that would be considered “in demand” for Central Virginia. The employer must also demonstrate that the training activity will strengthen both the worker and the employer, and that the worker receiving the training will realize a benefit in terms of wages. Details about the projected economic impact of the training must also be provided.
Employers interested in learning whether they qualify for Existing Worker Training funds should fill out an application. To receive an application and learn more about the Central Virginia Workforce Development Board’s Existing Worker Training Program, contact Business Engagement and Outreach Coordinator Tim Saunders at 434-856-2713 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.