Ohio to roll out training vouchers
Posted December 31, 2012 in Press Releases
Vouchers to train current employees might go quickly as businesses seek to snap up the long-awaited and elusive earmark.
Applications for the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, which comprises $20 million for fiscal year 2012 and $30 million for fiscal year 2013, will be available starting Monday, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.
Business owners have waited for the payout from casino dollars since the voucher program was announced in June 2011 along with the rest of the budget, said Bridget McDaniel, executive director of the Richland County Development Group.
Even though news and excitement surrounding the program have been spreading for months, Ohio Development Services Agency spokeswoman Stephanie Gostomski said there was no delay in rolling out the program because no official launch date was set.
Funds for training current employees are much less available than funds for prospective employees, McDaniel said. The money should help Ohioans retain manufacturing jobs, which have become highly specialized, she added.
“It’s not your grandfather’s factory anymore,” McDaniel said. “There’s a constant learning curve to stay ahead of.”
Funds will go quickly because there is little reimbursement available for companies seeking to train current employees; most dollars are earmarked for getting people into the industry, McDaniel said. There is no deadline for applications, which will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“This is going to be a very popular program. Speculation is that this money is going to go very fast,” said Mike Jacoby, executive director of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority.
The voucher reimburses employers up to $500,000 for training of employees who work at least 25 hours per week and earn at least 150 percent of minimum wage. The targeted industries are advanced manufacturing, aerospace and aviation, automobile, biohealth, corporate headquarters, energy, financial services, food processing, information technology and services and polymers and chemicals