Cass County lawmakers: Indiana expands Next Level Jobs to include more job seekers, employers

Posted by: Andi TenBarge  | Friday, July 17, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July  17, 2020) – Indiana is temporarily expanding its successful Next Level Jobs program through Dec. 30 to include more job seekers and employers, according to Cass County lawmakers.

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.

State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston), who supported the 2017 law establishing the Next Level Jobs program, said the new funding opens doors for more Hoosiers, especially those out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Hoosiers seeking employment have more time now to use the Next Level Jobs program to get free training and prepare for open positions in the job market," Lehe said. "This training will give them the skills to earn high-value certificates and connect to better-paying jobs."

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. 

"This expansion demonstrates Indiana's commitment to getting our state back on track as we continue to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic," said State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo). "More Hoosiers can use Next Level Jobs to earn credentials in high-paying fields and turn this trying time into an opportunity to build on their resumes."

In addition, VanNatter said 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.

State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) said Hoosiers can find out more by visiting

"Already, this program has helped thousands of Hoosiers skill-up and secure in-demand jobs as they support their families and work in their communities," Manning said. "Anyone finding themselves unemployed or considering a new career should go online and look into opportunities through Next Level Jobs."

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.



State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) represents House District 25, which
includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties.
here for a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) represents House District 23,

which includes portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) represents House District 38,

which includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Howard and Clinton counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.