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

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Thursday, July 16, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July 16, 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. Ann Vermilion (R-Marion).

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.

The Next Level Jobs program, established through a law in 2017, opens doors for more Hoosiers, especially those out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Next Level Jobs benefits those who want to change their career, connect with better-paying jobs or advance in their current field," Vermilion said. "For those affected financially by the pandemic, this is a great opportunity as you can earn these certificates tuition free."

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.

Vermilion 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. Ann Vermilion (R-Marion) represents House District 31,

which includes all of Blackford County and portions of Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.

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