STATEHOUSE (July 29, 2020) – Indiana is temporarily expanding its successful Next Level Jobs program through Dec. 30 to include more job seekers and employers, according to local lawmakers.
State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) said Indiana is directing nearly $40 million from the federal CARES Act to expand the program’s eligibility, offerings and funding caps for Workforce Ready Grants and Employer Training Grants.
“These grants cover the cost of tuition for those who want to skill-up or make a career change, while also benefiting local employers that invest in hiring and training Hoosiers,” Steuerwald said. “This is a great opportunity to obtain an open position and gain more secure employment.”
According to State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), sponsor of the 2017 law establishing the Next Level Jobs program, the new funding opens doors for more Hoosiers, especially those out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Too many of our neighbors have lost jobs and income because of this public health crisis,” Thompson said. “Next Level Jobs has helped train thousands of Hoosiers for many of today’s essential careers, and this additional funding will benefit thousands more at a critical time.”
More than $20 million of the CARES Act funding will allow a minimum of 10,000 additional Hoosiers to utilize the Workforce Ready Grant as the program temporarily expands:
- Hoosiers with two- and four-year degrees are temporarily eligible to receive full tuition reimbursement for short-term Workforce Ready Grant-eligible programs through Dec. 30;
- Nearly 50 new certificates are temporarily added to the list of eligible programs, including Certified Nursing Assistant, Commercial Driver’s License, Phlebotomy and CNC Machining certifications; and
- The individual funding cap is raised from $5,500 to $10,000 to cover high-quality programs.
In addition, the Employer Training Grant, administered by the Department of Workforce Development, will be temporarily expanded to support more businesses that train new employees, and upskill or reskill workers. The maximum amount of funding available to an employer increased from $50,000 to $100,000, and $5 million will specifically support minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses.
“For many, now is the best time to evaluate their current career and look to grow their skills or shift to a new one entirely,” said State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis). “More Hoosiers are eligible for this program than ever before, and this is not an opportunity you want to miss.”
Behning said Hoosiers can find out more by visiting NextLevelJobs.org.
Since its inception, the Workforce Ready Grant has enrolled over 25,000 people in high-demand, tuition-free certificate programs, with over 13,300 Hoosiers completing a Workforce Ready-eligible certificate program. Individuals who have completed a certificate program have seen an average wage increase of $6,400 a year. The Employer Training Grant has served more than 530 employers and trained nearly 9,000 employees.