PPWFC offers grants for businesses to train workers

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The Pikes Peak Workforce Center is ready to help local businesses take a step forward by awarding $73,000 in grants to train current employees.

“This is a great opportunity for employers,” said Jennifer Pierceall-Herman, PPWFC industry relations manager. “The purpose is to help employers fund training to make them more competitive. We want to help upscale their employees or allow them to move into different positions. A business can expand if more employees are trained in management and leadership, which could allow them to hire more entry-level employees.”

The deadline for employers to apply is March 1. Applications will be reviewed and grantees chosen by March 15. All grant money must be used by June 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

“We will help employers apply,” said PPWFC Public Information Officer Becca Tonn. “It’s not an overwhelming process, but we want to make it as easy as possible for them. We want this money to be used.”

The federal Workforce Investment Opportunity Act funds the program. WIOA accounts for about $5 million of PPWFC’s $7.46 million in funding.

“The great thing about the program is that businesses can determine what the training is,” Pierceall-Herman said. “It can range from a small business training one employee in the newest version of QuickBooks to a large manufacturer teaching employees how to run CNC (computer numerical control) machines on highly technical software. If you want an expert to come in and train your employees, this can help with that.”

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Employers are responsible for a share of the cost, although it’s only 10 percent if the business has less than 51 employees. Businesses with 51 to 100 employees must share in 25 percent of the training cost, while those with more than 100 workers must pay half.

“We hope to fund as many as possible,” Pierceall-Herman said. “It depends on what the employer wants and what the cost of each training program will be.”

Training could be work-based or classroom, and is designed to make the employee and the business more valuable. Preference will be given to in-demand industries like information technology, advanced manufacturing, health care and cybersecurity — and to employers whose training leads to pay increases and/or expansion of duties for employees.

PPWFC secured a special grant in 2013 worth $390,000 for a similar program, and 19 companies participated as several hundred employees received training, some in multiple programs.

Some examples of training in 2013 included:

  • Lean manufacturing
  • Six Sigma
  • Multi-industry systems technician (MIST) programming
  • Total productive maintenance (TPM)
  • Advanced programmable logic controllers (PLCs)
  • Value stream mapping
  • Customized ISO
  • Rapid cycle product innovation
  • AC/DC electricity
  • Electrical schematics
  • Motors and controls
  • Advanced hydraulic
  • Soft skills training, including focus on communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, strategic planning, critical thinking and problem solving.

View the application at ppwfc.org/grants-for-worker-training/384.

For assistance, call the business relations team at 719-667-3814.