INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana jobs retraining program designed to help people without a post-secondary degree has been temporarily expanded, allowing Hoosiers with college degrees to also receive free training in high-growth jobs.
Eligibility for the program, called Next Level Jobs, has been expanded through December for degree-holders by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration using $40 million from the state's federal coronavirus relief fund.
Indiana has also expanded the money that companies can receive to train workers after months of high unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.
The number of people who remain unemployed is still high compared with the number before the pandemic. Data for the week ending Aug. 8 showed that more than 10,500 people filed initial unemployment claims. Before the pandemic, the state saw fewer than 3,000 claims per week.
Next Level Jobs has two parts that serve employees and employers.
The Workforce Ready Grant pays for people to earn a high-value certificate in one of five Indiana’s high-growth job fields: advanced manufacturing, building and construction, health sciences, information technology and business technology, and transportation and logistics.
The funding per person has increased from $5,500 to $10,000, to cover high-quality programs that cost more than $5,500.
The second part, the Employer Training Grant, reimburses employers for training and retaining workers. It has expanded to increase the maximum amount for an employer to $100,000 from $50,000. In addition, $5 million will be allocated specifically for businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans.
“I think we wanted to make the biggest impact that we could,” said P.J. McGrew, executive director of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet. “And so we looked at programs that we knew … were getting people placed into employment at pretty significant wage gains from where they were previously."