Northwest Indiana lawmakers say Hoosier jobseekers should consider free job training, skilling-up amid COVID-19

Posted by: Josh DeFonce  | Friday, June 5, 2020 1:30 pm

STATEHOUSE (June 5, 2020) – Northwest Indiana lawmakers encourage Hoosiers whose jobs were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to take advantage of tuition-free training grants offered through Indiana's Next Level Jobs program.

Established in 2017 by a law supported by State Reps. Michael Aylesworth (R-Hebron), Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) and Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso), the program provides Workforce Ready Grants to help Indiana residents who have a high school diploma or equivalent but less than a college degree receive training in high-demand job fields. With more than 500,000 Hoosiers filing for unemployment since March, Soliday said these grants could help those who are laid off or furloughed to build on their skills and get a better paying job.

"Indiana has attracted thousands of well-paying jobs that still need filled," Soliday said. "Now could be a good time for many workers to consider Next Level Jobs, and gain skills and the necessary training to pursue work in these growing and demanding industries."

Hoosiers can visit NextLevelJobs.org to apply for training grants, which cover the cost of tuition and fees for working adults to earn a high-value certificate at Ivy Tech Community College or Vincennes University. According to Aylesworth, jobseekers can connect to local training and resources to find jobs in high-demand industries, including advanced manufacturing, building and construction, health and life sciences, IT and business services, and transportation and logistics.

"With more Hoosiers out of work because of the pandemic, some may be looking to make a career change," Aylesworth said. "This grant program puts people on a path to earn industry certifications for higher paying jobs for free. If anyone is looking for new employment opportunities, I recommend applying for a Workforce Ready Grant."

The Ivy Tech campus in Michigan City and Valparaiso offers students the opportunity to earn certificates in numerous careers. For information, visit ivytech.edu/michigancity or IvyTech.edu/Valparaiso.

"These grants are a great opportunity, especially for Hoosiers whose jobs were impacted by the pandemic, to get additional training to move into a high-demand industry," Pressel said. "This will not just save them money, but will also provide them the skills needed for a better-paying job."

Students interested in attending Ivy Tech have until June 8 to enroll in summer courses. The summer session will run through Aug. 1. Anyone interested in opportunities through Vincennes University have until July 2 to register for the next round of summer courses. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all courses will be offered online.

Businesses in high-demand industries can apply for Employer Training Grants, which provide $5,000 for each employee who is trained, hired and retained for six months.

Hoosiers can learn more about eligibility requirements and apply for a Workforce Ready Grant or Employer Training Grant at NextLevelJobs.org. Anyone who needs help with the application process can call 317-715-9007 to speak one-on-one with a financial aid expert for free through INvestEd.

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State Rep. Michael Aylesworth (R-Hebron) represents House District 11,
which includes portions of Lake and Porter counties.
Click here for a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) represents House District 20,
which includes portions of LaPorte and Starke counties.
Click
 here for a high-resolution photo. 

State Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) represents House
District 4, which includes a portion of Porter County. 
Click here for a high-resolution photo.