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

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky  | Tuesday, July 21, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July  20, 2020) – Indiana is temporarily expanding its successful Next Level Jobs program through Dec. 30 to include more job seekers and employers, according to Elkhart 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. Doug Miller (R-Elkhart), 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.

"Indiana is wisely investing in Hoosier opportunities during a time when many are understandably anxious about the future," Miller said. "Whether you are looking for your first job, re-entering the workforce or wanting to switch careers, now is a great time to get started and make the change."

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. 

 "Even more high-value certificates are available tuition free for Hoosiers who take advantage of this program through the end of the year," said State Rep. Christy Stutzman (R-Middlebury). "Ensuring job seekers have the skills necessary to get and stay employed is paramount to our state's recovery."

 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.

 State Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Milford) said Hoosiers can find out more by visiting NextLevelJobs.org.

 "This website is a one-stop shop for job seekers and employers to learn more about the program and take the next step to getting connected," Nisly said. "With thousands of well-paying jobs in high-demand fields available throughout the state, Hoosiers can better connect with the right employers."

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. Doug Miller (R-Elkhart) represents House District 48, which includes portions of Elkhart County.

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State Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Milford) represents House District 22, which includes portions of Kosciusko and Elkhart counties.

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State Rep. Christy Stutzman (R-Middlebury) represents House District 49, which includes the eastern portion of Elkhart County.

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