You may know your training needs, but can you afford to meet them?
Thankfully, grants exist that can help companies do just that. Whether you're seeking basic writing skills for your staff, safety orientation for new hires, or training existing staff on a new technology that will make you more competitive - the money that you need may be available.
Small business grants may be awarded to companies that meet the size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for most industries. Those standards are typically:
- 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries
- 100 employees for all wholesale trade industries
- $6 million for most retail and service industries
- $28.5 million for most general and heavy construction industries
- $12 million for all special trade contractors
- $0.75 million for most agricultural industries
Training grants are generally available to companies that are creating a specific number of jobs, investing in certain skills training and/or creating job growth or retaining jobs in certain geographic areas. Federal, state and local government agencies also offer a variety of training grants and tax credits related to training or re-training.
Although this particular federal website is a bit overwhelming, it's a good place to start looking around. Take it one step at a time:
- Visit www.grants.gov
- Navigate to "Find Grant Opportunities"
- Use the Advanced Search and narrow your results by selecting "award recipient" (i.e. small business)
- Sort your search result in descending order by closing date
- Filter the results even further by selecting more search criteria
Community-Based Job Training Grants (CBJTGs) are offered through the federal Office of Workforce Investment. The primary purpose of these grants is to build the capacity of community colleges to train workers to develop the skills required to succeed in high growth/high demand industries. Targeted industries include:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Financial services
- Information technology
Instead of doing all of this yourself, try partnering with a local college, university or industry association. These organizations are often familiar with and can help you through what may seem like a daunting grant application process. They could also facilitate your training.
Check with state or local work-force boards, such as your local career center. These centers often receive federal funding and are responsible for deciding how to disperse the funds. Searching online can familiarize you with what's offered. Next, contact the center itself to meet with a staff member for further direction. They can refer you to the appropriate training for your needs and even help you create a training plan.
Training your staff means achieving better retention and a competitive edge. If you can offset your training costs with an assistance grant, it's definitely worth looking into.