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

Posted by: Courtney Heiden  | Tuesday, July 28, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July  28, 2020) – Indiana is temporarily expanding its successful Next Level Jobs program through Dec. 30 to include more job seekers and employers, according to State Reps. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) and Sharon Negele (R-Attica).

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.

Negele, 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.

"Some industries are actually experiencing a boon in demand, and this expansion helps more working-age Hoosiers enter those fields and have job security," Negele said. "This program is also designed with adults in mind who are likely juggling other commitments. It is a great opportunity to invest in your future, but the expansion will expire by the end of the year, so it's important to start the process now."  

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. 

According to Brown, the Employer Training Grant, which is 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.

"This is a state initiative with proven results, and the additional funding comes when many employers are evolving their business models and will likely need to act swiftly to train or hire staff," Brown said. "These grants and opening up the program so others can benefit comes at a key time for employers that need to invest in their labor force, and for Hoosiers who need to take steps to ensure they have the skills needed to work in high-demand industries."

Brown 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. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) represents House District 41,
which includes portions of Boone, Montgomery and Tippecanoe counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica) represents House District 13,
which includes all of Benton County, and portions of Fountain, Jasper,  
Montgomery, Newton, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties. 
Click 
here for a high-resolution photo.