Guaranteed Free Training Program

Grant funding provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for essential skills and advanced technology training. Max amounts are up to $450 per trainee and $75,000 per company for essential skills training and up to $850 per trainee and $50,000 per company for advanced technology training. To be eligible, employees must be full-time and earn at least $10.88 per hour.

The Guaranteed Free Training Program (GFT-WED-netPA) provides grant funding for Essential Skills and Advanced Technology training.

The program’s Essential Skills training is limited to manufacturers and technology businesses, including biotech and environmental-technology companies, and provides up to $450 per trainee and $75,000 per company. Eligible training activities are those that directly improve the essential job skills required for the employee’s current position. These job skills are central to the employee’s position and would likely be found in the employee’s job description.

The Advanced Technology training is available to most companies and provides up to $850 per trainee and $50,000 per company. Eligible training activities will be those that directly improve the advanced technology job skills required for the employee’s current position.

To be eligible for reimbursement, at the time of training an employee must be a resident of and employed in Pennsylvania, earn at least 150% of the current federal minimum wage, excluding benefits, be permanently employed full-time and eligible for full-time benefits, and be an employee of the specific company location awarded grant funds.

Training costs must be “reasonable” as defined by market rates and/or other criteria. Regardless of how it is conducted (classroom, online, etc.), each training session must be a minimum of 30 minutes in length.

Training can be provided by a WEDnetPA partner institution, the company’s in-house staff or any third-party provider.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

This federal program, which is administered by local Workforce Development Boards (WDBs), provides grants to train individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements such as those who recently lost their job or are underemployed. The program typically covers 50% of wages during training but WDBs have the authority to increase the funding to 75% in certain circumstances.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program is federally funded and designed to assist dislocated workers or financially eligible individuals with intensive job search and/or training services. To participate in WIOA services you must meet eligibility and program requirements. Local Workforce Development Boards administer the program.

This federal program reimburses employers for part of the cost of training. Through the PA CareerLink® one-stop system, WIOA works to address employer needs by matching them to the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

Career services include unemployment and job search assistance, information on the job market, job readiness, career planning and counseling, programs for non-English speakers, financial aid, supportive services, and financial literacy.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You have been recently laid-off or terminated from employment
  • You are unemployed
  • You are collecting Food Stamps or TANF
  • You are employed and your income is below the self-sufficiency guideline
  • You are a displaced homemaker
  • You are homeless

The funds can be used for job search and placement, skills assessment and evaluation, counseling, training services, for individuals and companies, supportive services, and labor marketing information.

On-the-Job Training continues to be a key method of delivering training services to adults and dislocated workers. WIOA provides for states and local areas to provide up to 50% of the wage rate of the participant to employers for the costs of training while the participant is in the program. Additionally, state and local areas have the flexibility under WIOA to increase the reimbursement level to up to 75% taking into account the following factors:

  • The characteristics of the participants (e.g. length of unemployment, current skill level, and barriers to employment)
  • The size of the employer (e.g. small and medium-sized business often have more barriers to participation at lower reimbursement rates)
  • The quality of employer-provided training and advancement opportunities
  • Other factors the State or local boards may determine appropriate (e.g. the number of employees participating in the training, wage and benefit levels of the employees (both pre and post participation earnings)), and relation of the training to the competitiveness of the participant).