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    Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition has been bringing together leaders from education and training institutions, economic and workforce development organizations, business and industry, labor, and human service providers. The Coalition promotes public policies that build the skills of adult workers, meet employer skill needs, and strengthen the workforce system to ensure opportunity and prosperity for Ohio families.

Incumbent Worker Training Voucher Program Info

Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program information from Gongwer 9/21/12

One of Gov. John Kasich’s signature economic development initiatives is finally shaping up and the administration hopes to soon make up to $500,000 available to offset employers’ costs to retrain their workers.

The administration has been circulating a draft outline of the Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program to several industry groups that fleshes out the new initiative that Gov. Kasich first pitched during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

The General Assembly appropriated $50 million of the state’s $200 million in casino licensing fee revenue for the program in the biennial budget (HB 153). However, the $20 million for fiscal year 2012 has gone unspent, leaving $30 million for FY 2013.

The program marks a departure from Ohio’s traditional approach to workforce development – something that has drawn some criticism from Democrats who question why state job training funds should go to people who have jobs when the unemployment rate is still quite high. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, July 8, 2012)

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said the governor believed state workforce training benefits should be available to a broader swath of Ohioans to help them advance in their careers.

“You shouldn’t have to lose your job in order to move up the ladder. That’s the way these programs have been targeted in the past – you had to be unemployed to get any job training,” he said. “We think it’s very important in the greater picture of workforce development.”

Implementing the program has taken more than a year because it entails creation of a whole new initiative, he said. “It’s a big lift. It’s not been done here.”

The administration is close to rolling out the program, Mr. Nichols said. “It’s subject to change but we think we’re in the final stages of it.”

The budget authorized the Department of Development, now the Development Services Agency, to enter into an agreement with the privatized JobsOhio entity to run the program, but Mr. Nichols said the administration decided that DSA would operate it.

Although the program was originally conceived to offer companies a payment voucher, the administration is now planning to offer a reimbursable grant, according to information from the consulting firm GBQ Partners.

The program is expected to provide up to $500,000 per eligible company in one of nine targeted industries: advanced manufacturing; aerospace and aviation; automotive; biohealth; corporate headquarters; energy; financial services; food processing; information technology; and polymers and chemicals.

It will likely offer $4,000 per employee to reimburse up to 50% of training costs for for-profit companies with a facility located in Ohio.

Workers employed in a retail or service position will not be eligible for the voucher program, according to the administration’s draft outline.

Reimbursable activities include: classes at an accredited education institution; training related to the purchase of a new piece of equipment, an industry recognized certificate, or from trade association; and upgrading computer skills.

The voucher program will likely not cover any training that is already being reimbursed by another program or classes that are required for continued professional certification, the draft says. In addition, “soft skills,” like diversity, ethics, management and leadership, and sexual harassment, training will not be eligible.

The administration also plans to make GED classes, profit-oriented courses, like sales, marketing research, Dale Carnegie trainings, conference fees, and travel costs ineligible for the program. Trainees’ wages would also not be reimbursable.

Rep. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) said Democrats had considered a similar idea from businesses when she chaired the House Economic Development Committee last session.

“I thought it was definitely an idea worth looking at. Some of the concerns many businesses had was that they did not have funds to train people on some of the new technologies that companies were using in order to take their business to another level,” she said in an interview.

“But the concern was that while we’re giving a lot of funds to businesses who already have employees and already making money, we are still leaving out those people who might need additional training who are unemployed, people who were let go from jobs and need training just to get a job,” she said.

The administration’s plan to offer companies up to $500,000 for training costs seems overly generous, Rep. Williams said. “If we’re talking about half a million dollars per company – I think that’s a little steep when there are so many people out here who are still unemployed and don’t have training.”

Ohio Incumbent Worker Training Voucher Program

To be eligible for financial assistance, the following requirements must be met by both the employer and employee.

EMPLOYER ELIGIBILITY – an eligible employer must operate as a for-profit entity in a state-designated targeted industry with a facility located in Ohio that has been in continuous operation for the 12 months immediately prior to the application submittal.

Targeted industries

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Aerospace and Aviation
  • Automotive
  • BioHealth
  • Corporate Headquarters
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food Processing
  • Information Technology and Services
  • Polymers and Chemicals

EMPLOYER ELIGIBILITY – an eligible employee is someone who is directly employed by the company at a facility located within Ohio and meets all of the following requirements:

  • Employed in any of the following business functions: production, back office operations, information technology, logistics, or research and development.
  • Earning an hourly wage of at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage ($10.88 as of January 1, 2012) plus benefits;
  • An Ohio resident;
  • At least 18 years of age; and
  • Working at least 25 hours per week.

Note: an employee who is employed in a retail/service function is not eligible for the voucher program.

Eligible training activities include:

  • Classes, either non-credit or credit, at an accredited education institution;
  • Training that leads to an industry recognized certificate;
  • Training provided in conjunction with the purchase of a new piece of equipment;
  • Upgrade of computer skills (e.g. Excel, Access);
  • Training for the ICD-10-CM/PCS diagnostics classification system (regardless of whether the employee works for a for-profit or non-profit employer);
  • Training from a national, regional, or state trade association that offers an independently certified training curriculum and testing; and
  • Training for improved process efficiency (e.g. ISO-9000, Six Sigma or Lean Manufacturing).

Ineligible training activities include (but are not limited to):

  • Training that is already being reimbursed by another State or Federal training program (e.g. Ohio Workforce Guarantee, National Emergency Grant, etc.);
  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) required for continued professional certification;
  • Soft Skills (e.g. diversity, ethics, HR law, management and leadership, sexual harassment, etc.);
  • Training which is reimbursed/required by other public agencies or departments (e.g. OSHA, Worker’s Compensation);
  • General Equivalency Diploma (GED);
  • Profit-oriented courses (e.g. sales, marketing research, and Dale Carnegie trainings);
  • Conference fees;
  • Wages of trainees while being trained; and
  • Travel costs.

Application Requirements:

  • Company Information: Company Legal Name, Address, FTI#, NAICS Code, Industry Type, Description of Business, Date of Establishment in Ohio, Number of Employees in Ohio, and Company Contact Information.
  • Employee/Trainee Information: Employee Name, SSN (will be encrypted via our IT office), Date of Birth, Work Address, Ohio Resident Requirement (Yes/No), Work Function (Back Office, IT, Logistics, Production, Research & Development), and Hourly Wage Rate.
  • Training: Name and Address of Training Provider(s), Course Title, Course Description, Training Start and End Dates, Training Will Result In (Certificate of Completion, College Credit, Industry Recognized Certificate, Other, Systems Certification), Training Outcomes for Company (Secure a New Contract, New Domestic Market, Expansion of an Existing Client Base, New Export Market, New Business Partnership), and Training Costs Per Employee.
  • Training Summary: Training Outcome for the Employee (New Skill for Current Position, Training for Career Advancement, Skill Modernization, Training for a New Position/Promotion) – Please note that if you have assigned an employee to more than one course, you will have to repeat this process for each course they are assigned

Shannon Vanderpool
Business Services Coordinator
(614) 644-8560

One Response

  1. Incumbent Worker Training Voucher Program Info | Ohio Workforce Coalition

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