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Last year, the State of Nebraska awarded training grants to Nebraska organizations in the amount of $1,397,973. Did your business receive one of those grants? If not, and you need to train your employees, take a moment to learn about the Nebraska Department of Labor’s Worker Training Program. (If you don’t care, skip this, and let your competitors benefit from the grant money.)
Created in 1996, the Worker Training Program (WTP) was designed to support public and private job training to retrain and upgrade the skills of existing employees using interest income from the Nebraska Training and Support Trust.
Unlike some training programs which restrict participation, any organization with an Unemployment Insurance account number is eligible. For-profits, non-profits, not-for-profits or apprenticeship programs registered with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training have all benefited from the program.
Grants are awarded quarterly, with deadline dates for submission being the last days of March, June, September and December. Upon completion, the program reimburses the cost of instructor fees, instructional materials, tuition, lab fees and space.
One of the strengths of the program is its flexibility. The organization chooses the trainer, the method of training, the time of the training, and the type of training. The WTP has funded training for soft skills (leadership, customer service, teamwork), hard skills (welding, forklift operations, blueprint reading), computer-related skills (industry software, programming, web applications); or company-wide initiatives (lean manufacturing, safety).
While the process is competitive, to ensure fairness, funding is distributed statewide, with initial equitable allocation between businesses with less than 100 employees, mid-sized businesses with between 100 and 499 employees, and large businesses with more than 500 employees. There is also an initial distribution between regions so that organizations in one part of the state are not competing with those in other areas. As a result, 67 percent of all applications were funded and almost $150,000 went to central Nebraska organizations in 2013.
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