Indiana is currently offering businesses financial reimbursement for training and upskilling their employees to new roles. The program, called Rapid Recovery for a Better Future, is funded through the CARES Act and designed to kick start the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just because of the nature of everything that’s happened over the past months, some jobs are going to change significantly,” said Becky Fry, Business Services Manager for WorkOne Northwest Indiana. “This gives employers the opportunity to train their staff for better positions.”
The grant is very broad, and as long as employers are training for “high-demand jobs,” which includes most careers in advanced manufacturing, building & construction, agriculture, health & life sciences, IT & business services, or transportation & logistics, they are eligible if they can complete their training program prior to November 30.
“We’ve never seen a program of this scale in Indiana,” Fry said. “I’ve been excited about it, and we’ve seen smaller corporations that wouldn’t normally be able to afford the cost of training take advantage of this. Really, the most difficult part of this for employers is just being able to pay the upfront training cost before the reimbursement comes in after it’s complete.”
Each eligible employer can receive thousands of dollars in reimbursement per employee, with no cap on how many employees they can train up to a $100,000 overall cap. After the training is complete, the employer submits an invoice and should receive their reimbursement in 30 to 35 days.
“Right now, they are granting up to $100,000 to each employer at $5,000 per employee,” Fry said. “Let’s say an employer finds a training program they like that’s less than $5,000 per person. They can train as many employees get up to $100,000 total reimbursement. So far, over $1 million has been allocated to employers across Northwest Indiana.”
When Indiana typically offers this kind of reimbursement, there are rigid guidelines on what kind of training programs are eligible. Under the Rapid Recovery effort, those guidelines are greatly relaxed.
“That’s the best part of this,” Fry said. “They’re even reimbursing for internal training. So if an employer does all their training in-house, and it meets the requirements as a high-demand job, their training is now be covered when it would typically not be covered. It’s been fabulous for some of these companies.”
Fry noted that companies reliant on commercial drivers are particularly thrilled.
“Some employers do their own training for CDL (commercial driver license) drivers,” she said. “Since CDL jobs are included as transportation or logistics, their internal training is being reimbursed. They don’t have to go to an external provider to train their employees.”
Due to the November 30 deadline, Fry recommends completing the application as soon as possible. 26 employers around the Region have already been approved.
“I’d encourage employers to apply first and ask questions later because of those time constraints,” she said. “It does take a couple of days to get through the application process, and we really want employers to be able to take advantage of this.”
To apply for reimbursement, visit nextleveljobs.org. Fry is available for questions about the Rapid Recovery program at the phone number (219) 462-2940 ext. 1043. For more information about WorkOne Northwest Indiana, visit gotoworkonenw.com.