MARY SCHUERMANN KUHLMAN
INDIANAPOLIS (INS) – Indiana is bolstering programs that can help workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic expand their skills.
The state’s Workforce Ready Grant and Employer Training Grant now have greater eligibility, program offerings and funding caps through the end of this year.
Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers says the additional investments will give thousands more Hoosiers a chance to gain the skills they’ll need to get high-quality jobs and help the state recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
“For thousands of Hoosiers, their place of employment is no longer operating, or they’re going back to an employer who may have changed the nature of the work, so they need them to be ‘skilled up,'” says Lubbers. “And another group of people want to make sure that they’re not as vulnerable to downturns in the economy in the future.”
The two grant programs will use $37 million of the $50 million allocated through the federal CARES Act. The remaining money will be used to support creating more career coaching and skills training.
The two grants are part of the Next Level Jobs program, which was launched in 2017 to help workers gain the skills and training needed for high-wage jobs in fields that are in demand. Lubbers says the results have been very strong.
“Over 25,000 people have enrolled in a Workforce Ready Grant program,” says Lubbers. “Close to 13,000 have completed one of those programs. Over 9,000 individuals have been trained under the Employer Training Grant.”
She adds that the funding is allowing Indiana to increase the number of tuition-free certificates it can offer, and also increase the amount of grant money that employers can receive to train their current or new employees.
Support for this reporting was made possible by Lumina Foundation.