Bringing the Economy Home


Understanding Workforce Development Training Grants


Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

In Meridian, a worker trains to become a mechanical technician.

This page is no longer being updated. For ongoing coverage of this topic, go to Boise State Public Radio’s website.

The Workforce Development Training Fund started in 1996 as a way to encourage business expansion or relocation from another state.

The training dollars are used to help employees who would otherwise lose their job if they didn’t advance their skills or gain specialized skills for a new job.

The Idaho Department of Labor reports the active grants range from about $10,000 up to nearly $6 million.  Businesses typically have two years to use the grant money, but Labor Department spokesman Bob Fick says contracts are often extended.

The fund is paid for by businesses.  Three percent of the unemployment insurance tax paid by employers is set aside for the pool of grant money.

“The set-aside brings in about $3 million a year in normal economic times. Since the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund went broke and tax rates rose to the maximum to restore fund solvency, the training fund has been getting about $8 million a year.” — Bob Fick

In order to qualify for the training grants, businesses must pay their employees at least $12 an hour and provide health benefits.  Companies in urban areas must create a minimum of five new jobs, rural businesses need one in order to qualify.

Eligible companies must generate at least half of its revenue from products or services sold outside of Idaho, or be in the health care sector.

Urban companies typically receive $2,000 per employee for training. Rural businesses can receive $3,000 per employee.  The Department of Labor reports that’s just a guideline and higher training reimbursements have been granted depending on the type of training needed. As of April 2012, the Workforce Development Training Fund had a $16.8 million balance.


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