Workforce needs change on a regular basis. This requires ongoing training and retraining of employees. To help defray the cost of training, businesses and organizations rely on training grants. In addition, grants are available for individuals to obtain training and develop new skills.
Nonprofit organizations can apply directly to foundations for grants to provide training for employees. These grants are usually available for specific industries such as those related to healthcare, hospice, or disabilities. Training may be needed to enhance employee skills for a changing client population. These will likely be one-time grant opportunities for nonprofits.
Businesses can get grants for training from several sources. The U.S. Department of Labor offers workforce development and training grants. Typically, these are for professions that are in high demand and may be specific to target geographic areas. For instance, grants may target manufacturing industries that need to retrain employees to meet current skill requirements.
States offer grants for training. Many of these grants are funded through the federal Workforce Investment Act and are allocated to local Workforce Investment Boards. These are federally-approved one-stop workforce development centers that serve a predefined geographic area to prevent overlap of services. The idea is that businesses will send their employees to the workforce investment agencies for training. However, large businesses can also get direct grants for training their employees.
Small businesses may be able to get their employees to apply for individual training grants through accredited organizations. For example, if a business needs to have an employee trained in a specific management or quality control area, the employee may be able to get a training grant through the company conducting the training. The business will require the employee to commit to remain in the company’s employ for a specific period of time in exchange for being training. This helps dissuade newly trained employees from taking their new skills that the business paid for, including the time for the employee to attend the training, and going to work for another employer or competitor.
Individuals can apply for training grants outside of their employment. If they want to improve their skill levels, they can receive additional training while they are not on company time. Local foundations may provide grants for training to local residents. They want residents to improve skill levels and remain viable employees in their community.
Training grants are critical in a changing economy. They help keep businesses viable while providing skill development opportunities for employees. This, in turn, creates a highly trained workforce for local markets.