Many Indiana companies are surprised to learn that there several tax sponsors incentive programs that subsidize regular company activities such as workforce training. One such program, known as the Indiana Skills Enhancement Fund (SEF) workforce training grant provides subsidies for qualifying training and skills development. The SEF offers financial assistance in the form of a grant to existing, new, and expanding businesses that are committed to training and upgrading the skills of their employees. To help our clients, prospects and others understand the program; Barnes Dennig has provided a summary outline of details below.
Grant Funding Amount
The SEF grant may be provided to reimburse a portion (typically 50%) of eligible training costs for new and existing employees over a period of two full calendar years from the commencement of the project. Companies may reapply for additional SEF funds after their initial two-year term. The actual amount of grant funds available to a company is dependent on the total cost of their training budget and the company’s projected investment, number, and types of jobs being trained, and the trainees’ average wages – not to exceed $200,000 for re-training existing workers. Separate supplemental grant awards may be available to train employees for new jobs.
Eligible Applicants and Activities
Eligible applicants include Indiana manufacturing companies, distribution centers, and regional corporate headquarters. Trainees must be Indiana residents. Financial assistance is available for reimbursement of qualifying training costs to improve new or existing employees’ basic skills, transferable skills, company-specific skills, and quality-assurance needed to support existing and future capital investment. Eligible uses include:
- Trainer’s wages
- Trainees’ wages (up to a maximum of 50% of the award)
- Training materials
- Software licenses for training programs
- Reasonable travel expenses for employees to attend training, including conference registration, lodging, airfare, cabs, airport parking, mileage, or rental car expenses (up to a maximum of 30% of the award)Training expenses are only eligible when incurred between the commencement and expiration date specified in the grant agreement. OSHA or other federally mandated training and onboard orientation training for new hires are not considered qualifying instructional expenses.
Application Steps and Evaluation Criteria
- Each project will be evaluated on its individual merits and with a cost-benefit analysis after it has met the basic requirements below. Training costs must be:
- The application process includes a meeting with an Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) regional program manager to discuss the project. After this, the company can submit a formal application.
- Used to support new capital investment in Indiana
- Used to support the retention or creation of full-time, permanent jobs for Indiana residents at the project location
- Eligible, support the purpose of the fund, and meet all other program requirements
The IEDC will determine eligibility and the appropriate award amount if the application is approved.
Businesses that receive SEF training assistance must commit to continue their operations at the location where the SEF training assistance is provided for at least five years after the training grant is completed and closed. If a business fails to meet the five-year commitment, they must repay the full amount of the SEF training assistance received. Indiana companies receiving SEF funds must also be in good standing with state regulatory agencies.
The Skills Enhancement Fund is a valuable opportunity for Indiana companies to expand employee skills in production, manufacturing or other areas. For additional information about the SEF workforce training grant, along with other state programs that can be used in conjunction with it, please call the Barnes Dennig team at 317-572-1130 or click here to contact us. We look forward to assisting you!