The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 5, 2013

Program will help train Ohio's workforce

Star Beacon

— A five-month window for a new incumbent workforce development program opens Monday in Ohio.

Brian Anderson, executive director of Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County, said the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program is designed to provide direct financial assistance to train workers and improve the economic competitiveness of Ohio’s employers. It provides up to $4,000 per eligible employee at a reimbursement rate of up to 50 percent.

The program is aimed at upgrading the skills of existing employees in a company. The employer is expected to provide a 50-percent match to the funding. Training must begin Feb. 4 and be completed by June 20.

Anderson said that while the state has offered financial incentives for companies that train new workers, it has not offered much in way of assistance for incumbent, or existing, workers who need to upgrade their skills and knowledge to make their employer more competitive.

Growth Partnership has known about the new program since last summer and began feeding information about it to members so they could plan their training efforts to coincide with the window of opportunity. When the state released the final dates and terms the weekend before Christmas, Growth Partnership sent out another email encouraging members to apply.

“We got quite a few calls from that,” Anderson said. “We expect there to be a pretty good response to it from here.”

Anderson said the state has committed $20 million to the first round of the program. Another $30 million becomes available for a second round of applications that will open in early July.

The awards will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis, so businesses that already have solid plans for training will have an advantage. The application will be available online at 10 a.m. Monday. The website address is

Anderson suggests that companies that plan to apply go to the website to become familiar with the guidelines and application ahead of time, and then refer to the site when completing the application.

Eligible employers must demonstrate that by receiving funding assistance through the program, their businesses will obtain a skilled workforce and improve their company’s processes and competitiveness.

Only one application per employer will be accepted in a program year. If the company has multiple sites, they must work together to submit one application. Ten targeted industries are eligible for the assistance; eligibility is determined by the NAICS code.

For more information, call Shannon Vanderpool at (614) 644-8560 .