By: Micki Vandeloo, President, Lakeview Consulting
Training grants have long been offered by state economic development organizations and by Workforce Opportunity Innovation Act (WIOA) Centers (or Job Centers as they are called in some states. They are also the most well-known source of funding in the manufacturing community.
But today’s training grants have evolved and changed as the national conversation regarding workforce development has changed. Here are some of the latest trends I have noticed in our endless attempts to help manufacturers find and access grants to support their growth and training projects:
- Requirement for Certification or Credential to Access Funding: Many state grant programs now require a training program to include a certification or credential in order to be covered by grant funding. In some cases, this can be a simple certificate of completion, but in an increasing number of programs, credentialed programs are required. This can be a high hurdle for both training providers and companies wishing to apply for funds. This requirement aligns with national conversations about the need for transferable skills, and credentials are one of the ways to assure skills attained are transferable.
- “Spinoff” Grant Programs for Apprenticeships: Many state apprenticeship departments and traditional sources for training grant funds are collaborating to offer grants to support the development and delivery of apprenticeship programs. Some states, including Colorado, are also offering scholarship programs for apprentices to help them pay for tuition, materials and tools. See my article on apprenticeship grants to find out more about these programs.
- Incorporation of Training/Workforce Development Into Other Grant Programs: The federal government has led the charge in this area. Grant programs for semi-conductor and battery manufacturing, for example, included a requirement for workforce development as part of the proposed activity.
- Industry Focused Training Grant Programs: As the talent skills gap widens at the state level, some states and the federal government are creating new grant programs for specific trades. One example at the state level is Alabama’s Construction Industry Craft Training Board Program. A very recent example at the federal level is EDA’s recent reintroduction of the STEM Talent Challenge, which promotes regional efforts to develop a STEM workforce.
I hope this is a helpful reference as you find training grants to support your workforce development efforts. For a comprehensive and up to date list of manufacturing grants, including training grants, subscribe today to the Manufacturing Grants Database!