Gutwein: Indiana expands Next Level Jobs to include more job seekers, employers

Posted by: Josh DeFonce  | Friday, July 10, 2020 11:53 am

STATEHOUSE (July 10, 2020) – Indiana is temporarily expanding its successful Next Level Jobs program through Dec. 30 to include more job seekers and employers, according to State Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville).

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.

Gutwein, 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.

"This program is one of Indiana's best tools to strengthen our workforce, and with it being expanded, there are more opportunities for Hoosiers looking for jobs," Gutwein said. "Free training will help job seekers gain skills that set them apart from others looking at the same positions."

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. 

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.

Gutwein said Hoosiers can find out more by visiting NextLevelJobs.org.

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.

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State Rep. Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville) represents House District 16, which
includes all of Pulaski County and portions of Fulton, Jasper, Newton and Starke counties.
Click 
here for a high-resolution photo of Gutwein.