While our team at Lakeview Consulting has vast experience finding and writing proposals for both federal and state grant programs, we are particularly specialized in helping companies obtain training grants for their own and their customers’ operations. For example, we regularly help a large industrial distributor find and access grant funding for their own internal training and for training they provide to their customers in all fifty states.
I also speak on training grants to trade associations and other groups, so this is a frequent topic of discussion both with potential clients and audiences at my presentations. In these discussions, I hear some of the same questions repeatedly, so I wanted to create my own FAQ article to answer the most common questions I hear regarding training grant opportunities.
Who funds training grants?
Most training grant funding for the for-profit community comes from either state economic development programs or from federally funded programs that pass funding through regional offices within each state. An example of the latter is the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) centers, which have regional locations in each of the states.
What types of training grants are out there?
State economic development grants can cover training costs for any type of training, but many of them also have specialty programs such as apprenticeship or technical skills training programs. WIOA Centers have two primary programs:
- On the Job Training (OJT) grants, which fund training during the first six months of work, and cover a portion of the worker’s wages during this time.
- Incumbent Worker grants, which fund typically 50% of the cost of training and training materials to employees who have been employed for longer than six months. Regional offices can also set a cap on the level of funding.
What types of training activities will grants fund?
Most grant programs fund a portion of the training materials and the training delivery. In addition, some training grants will fund a portion of the trainer’s travel, and a portion of a trainer’s time for internally delivered training. Some WIOA programs have special apprenticeship grants that utilize both of their programs to fund apprenticeships in a seamless fashion.
Do all states offer training grants?
All states offer WIOA funding, state economic development grants, or both.
Our company has locations in several states. How would applying for training grants work if training is done at several locations?
Training grant applications are submitted in the state in which the training is conducted. So, if your company trains company employees or customers in Alabama, for example, the location in Alabama would apply for funding through the state of Alabama or the local WIOA office. This can get very complex and time consuming if you either train your internal people in several states or deliver training to customers in several states. This is why our training grant consulting service is so popular!
Can we apply for funding if the training has already occurred?
Funders will generally not cover the cost of training that occurs before a grant is awarded. However, if a training grant program offered by a state is released a few months into the state’s fiscal year, they may cover training from the beginning of the fiscal year to the date that the funding is released in addition to training that will occur through the end of the state’s fiscal year.
Do we get the grant money up front or after the training occurs?
Most training grants are reimbursement grants. This means that once the grant is awarded, the money will be reimbursed after the training is complete and required documentation is submitted. If you apply for several training programs (which I recommend for companies that plan their training in advance), many states allow reimbursement by course.
What kind of documentation is required to get reimbursement?
Typically, the funder wants sign-in sheets from training with the training provider’s signature to prove the people took the training; invoices from external training providers; proof of hourly wage for internal training providers; and copies of checks to training providers. They can request a copy of the training presentation, copies of certificates or credentials trainees receive, and any other documents pertinent to the training delivery or invoicing. The funder will spell out the documentation needed for reimbursement in their grant guidelines or the Request for Proposal.
What information is required for a training grant application?
This varies by program and state, but in general, the funding agency wants the following information for a grant application:
- A description of the training course(s)
- Resumes of external or internal training providers
- The number of hours for each course
- The expected date of course delivery
- The hourly wage for each trainee (or an average wage for all trainees)
- A description of the credential or certificate the trainee will receive at the completion of the training
- Social security numbers (which are kept confidential) or verification that the company employs the trainees.
- Job classifications or titles for all trainees
- The outcomes of the training such as greater productivity, chance for increased wages, avoiding layoff, etc.
In addition, many states require applicants to register on an online portal for grant submittal, and may require a site visit prior to grant submission.
How long does it take to get a training grant approved?
This again varies by state and program. In most cases, training grants are either approved within a week or two, but in some cases, they are approved at monthly meetings. I tell clients to expect a 2-6 week timeframe to be notified of approval. As grants will not fund training that occurs before the grant is approved, this time means that training really can’t start for 3-8 weeks from time of grant application submission.
Do training grants have a deadline?
Most training grants are rolling (which means they are available all year). However, there is generally a pot of grant money available for all year, so when the funding runs out, no additional training can be approved until the next fiscal year. This is why I encourage clients to submit as many training courses as they can in one application and early in the fiscal year.
I hope I have answered your burning questions about training grants in this article. If you have additional questions or want to discuss Lakeview Consulting’s training grant consulting services, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.