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How to Find Grant Funding for Technical Training

The 2017 fiscal year was an important one in the field of grant writing.

During that time, the Federal Government awarded over $700 billion in grants and cooperative agreements to small businesses across the country. Additionally, the completion of a Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) pilot program helped to improve the quality and transparency of federal award and spending data.

That positive momentum carried over into 2018, when the Strength Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act became enacted on July 1, 2018. Formerly known as the Carl D. Perkins Act of 2006, this important piece of education legislation made it easier for both high schools and colleges to align programs to the evolving demands of the workforce, access money, and implement programs at the state level.

In a continued attempt to be more transparent than ever, the changes would aid in identifying programs aimed at a specific region of industry. The modifications have also been a welcome addition to grant writers. Now, finding grants specific to a cause – such as technical training courses — is becoming easier, and less time-consuming than ever before.

While we have offered tips on successful grant writing in the past, this article will focus more on finding grant funding, specifically for technical training. Remember that grants are considered forms of charitable solicitation in most states, so if your non-profit relies on grants as part of its fundraising activity, make sure it complies with regulations in the 41 states that require charitable solicitation registration.

Start Nationally and Work Your Way In

Before you get too intimidated by your initial search for industry-specific grants, start your quest with a home base; a place you can turn when all else is lost. The best option is a simple one – www.grants.gov.

As the self-proclaimed “gateway to the federal grants world”, grants.gov gives users access to all endowments offered by the Federal Government. Visitors can search for federal, state or foundation grants based on eligibility, and keywords, while keeping track of closed and forecasted opportunities.

If you’re looking for more personal assistance throughout the process, there are Federal sectors ready to help – namely the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Education.

Both of these agencies back educational plans that prepare students of any age to earn industry-recognized certifications and credentials. Notably, representatives at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Business Relations Group will actually work with you to identify programs you could use in your sector. They will know about current programs in the works, as well as ones in the future, so take advantage of their assistance.

However, while some of the funding from the government comes in the form of federal grants, much of it gets allocated to states or local workforce boards, who then decide what industries and areas to support. If this is the case, it is pertinent to identify programs that are aimed at your region or industry.

This is where WIOA – or the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – comes in.

The Act, which was signed into law on July 22, 2014, offers training and employment services for adults, dislocated workers, and youth that require assistance. They focus much of their attention on adults with disabilities, and other specific vulnerable populations, including Job Corps, YouthBuild, Indian and Native Americans, and Seasonal Farmworkers programs.

So how can WIOA help with grant funding for technical training? Well, it’s a process.

The skinny: Under WIOA, all of the 50 States, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are allotted funds, which in turn, are allocated to local workforce development boards, the group responsible for operating roughly 2,500 American Job Centers nationwide. The funding to each state correlates with its population, as well of as the size of its labor force.

Using that assistance, employers can provide career services, which includes job searches and technical training. As long as the training is provided for occupational specific jobs where hourly rates and salaries are paid, WIOA will cover up to $4,000 annually, per person, for training.

The relationships formed with those at the local workforce development boards will also be beneficial in Industry Sponsorships, which have been very successful in certain areas.

Essentially, Industry Sponsorships are a way to attract local entrepreneurs to your school or business, with hopes to help build brand awareness, and improve strategies for success.

For example, business owners can be asked to join an advisory board, which can help in a variety of ways: not only does it help better understand the needs of both future employees and employers, but it also allows an opportunity to build trust and relationships with those companies around. Consider a company that might go hand-in-hand with your program, and can show support through their foundation.

Occasionally, grants will ask for matching funds from local entities to fulfill an opportunity. By having an established relationship with one, or many, companies already, it could lead to more successful grant proposals in the future. These entrepreneurs would already be familiar with you on a personal level, as well as what you’re trying to accomplish professionally.

About Wes Scott

Wes Scott is a former public high school teacher and journalist. He is currently a Marketing Content Developer for Amatrol, Inc. Learn more about Amatrol and its technical training solutions, including eLearning, here and connect with Wes on  Amatrol’s TwitterFacebookGoogle+, YouTube and LinkedIn pages.

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