The Indiana Commission for Higher Education says the state has received another $25 million in CARES Act funding to continue efforts to upskill more Hoosiers through expanded Next Level Jobs programs.
The money is used to help provide training to people who lost their jobs during the pandemic. It can also be used to steer Hoosiers towards better-paying jobs.
“We were able to use that money to expand the number of tuition-free, high-quality certificates, as well as the number of Hoosiers who were eligible to access those short-term education and training opportunities,” said ICHE Commissioner Teresa Lubbers.
The commission says the second round of funding follows an initial $50 million the state received in June as part of the Rapid Recovery for a Better Future Initiative.
Lubbers, who is a member of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, says the state’s Workforce Ready Grant and Employer Training Grant programs are showing success in helping unemployed or underemployed people.
“Since June alone, over 5,500 Hoosiers have used the Workforce Ready Grant to enroll in classes or training. More than 2,800 Hoosiers have completed the program, getting them a certificate during this three-month period,” said Lubbers.
Lubbers said 7,000 employees have received additional training through the Employer Training Grant, which reimburses employers who train, hire, and retain new or incumbent workers to fill in-demand positions within six priority job fields.
“This includes over 3,000 new hires as well as hiring people to do new skills. At the same time, the individuals are being trained to fill high demand jobs with an average wage of over $20 an hour,” said Lubbers.
Lubbers says the additional federal funding is set to expire on December 30 and warns there may not be a new round of grants. She is encouraging Hoosiers to take advantage of free training opportunities.
“We’re seeing positive results from these workforce and economic efforts,” said Lubbers. “But there are still thousands of more Hoosiers who need access to affordable education and training to get them the jobs that they need.
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Lubbers says the job preparedness grants are also helping Hoosiers in underserved communities.