What is the Workforce Training Fund Express Program?
Eligible Applicants
Application Limits and Types
Employee Eligibility for Training
Training Courses
Types of Training and Training Costs
Matching Funds/Applicant Payment
Getting the Training Program Started
Review Process
How Can I Apply?
Additional Information
 

 

What Is the Workforce Training Fund Express Program?

The Workforce Training Fund Express is a program designed for small employers and labor unions to quickly and simply provide training for employees. The program utilizes existing training courses where a pricing structure already exists.

What is the mission of the Workforce Training Fund Express Program?

The mission of the Workforce Training Fund Express is to provide organizations with the resources to invest in the Massachusetts workforce and improve employee skills, and to maintain the economic strength and viability of the Commonwealth's businesses. Training funded by this program should address the priorities of the fund:
  • Projects that will result in job retention, job growth or increased wages.
  • Projects where training would make a difference in the company's productivity, competitiveness, and ability to do business in Massachusetts.

How is the Express program funded?

The Express program is a part of the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund.  The Workforce Training Fund is funded by the Massachusetts employer community. In 1998, legislation was enacted reducing unemployment insurance contribution rates for Massachusetts employers by $121 million in 1999. In conjunction with these lower rates legislation also established the Workforce Training Fund.  The fund collects between $18 and $22 million annually to pay for Workforce Training Fund grant programs. Since the inception of the Workforce Training Fund, over $200 million in training grants have been awarded to Massachusetts employers.

How much money is available?

Over $1 million is available each year for Express Program training grants.

Who is administering this program?

As of July 1, 2013, all Workforce Training Fund programs are administered by Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public corporation within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Commonwealth Corporation designs and executes workforce programs across the Commonwealth that addresses persistent workforce challenges, such as the skills gap, for targeted industries and populations. We are committed to ensuring that Massachusetts businesses have access to a pipeline of highly skilled workers and that youth and adults have pathways to good jobs in the knowledge economy.

 

Eligible Applicants

Who is eligible to apply?

Massachusetts businesses with 100 or fewer total employees - including all locations - and labor organizations with unlimited membership may apply. All applicants must contribute to the Workforce Training Fund.

Applicants must provide a current (must be less than 6 months old) Massachusetts Department of Revenue Certificate of Good Standing with initial application and return properly executed contract documents. Fax to Express Program: 617-723-5594.

Are non-profit organizations eligible to apply for HITG funds?

To qualify, an employer must contribute to the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund.  Although all Massachusetts, for-profit employers contribute to the Workforce Training Fund via a surcharge on UI payments, some non-profits do not.  This is determined by the method selected for UI coverage.   Find out more about options for Non-Profit or Governmental Employer. Non-profit organizations who select the “contributory method” are paying into the WTFP and are therefore eligible to apply.  Those who select the “reimbursable method” are paying a discounted rate that does not include contribution to the WTFP and therefore are not eligible to apply.

Can units of state, local, or county government apply for Workforce Training funds?

No, governmental entities may not apply for these funds. The purpose of the Fund is to benefit Massachusetts businesses and their employees.

Can a non-Massachusetts-based company apply for Express training funds?

Yes, a non-Massachusetts-based company can apply for training funds provided the employees to be trained are based in Massachusetts.

Will an organization's level of income, sales, earnings, or profits have any bearing on its ability to apply for Express funds?

No, the level of income, sales, earnings, or profits will not preclude an organization from applying for Express funds.

 

Application Limits and Types

How many times can I apply?

Eligible employers and labor organizations are able to apply at any time based on their training needs. However, applicants cannot receive more than $30,000 over a 24 month period. An application must be submitted and be approved for the training and have an executed contract prior to the start of any training. Contracts may be modified to reflect additionally approved applications but training cannot commence on the additional approvals until the contract has been modified. The Commonwealth's liability is limited to the maximum obligation stated on the executed Standard Contract. Grant recipients are responsible for paying for the total cost of the training and are eligible to receive 50% reimbursement upon completion of the training and the submission of required documents with a maximum of $3,000 per employee per course.

As of July 2012, the Workforce Training Fund Program will not award an Express Program grant if the employee participating in the course/training program has previously participated in the same or similar course/training program that was funded by the Express Program.

Express Program applications and Payment Vouchers must specify the employee(s) name(s) along with the name of the course and training dates.

How does the 24-month period work?

An applicant can receive up to $30,000 within a 24-month period starting from the executed contract start date issued on a company's initial Express Program grant.

When is the best time to apply?

Express applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Apply online.

How long can my training program last?

Training programs must commence within the contract timeframe which cannot exceed 12 months.

 

Employee Eligibility for Training

Who is eligible for training?

Massachusetts-based employees. This means that workers whose training is funded by this program must be working at a location in the Commonwealth.

If my worksite is in Massachusetts, but some employees live outside of Massachusetts, can they be trained with these funds?

Yes, as long as your employees work in Massachusetts, they are eligible for training regardless of where they live.

Can contract workers be trained with these funds?

No, contract employees are not eligible to be trained with these funds.

Can part-time employees be trained with Workforce Training Fund funds?

Yes, both full-time and part-time employees are eligible for training.

 

Training Courses

Can I choose any training provider I want?

No, only courses that are listed on the Express program website can be selected. Please note, the Workforce Training Fund Program makes no judgment regarding the availability or quality of a training course listed on the Workforce Training Fund Express Web site. The placement of a training course on the Express Web site does not constitute an endorsement of that training course or provider. Applicants are encouraged to research the applicable training provider/course prior to submitting an application. Training must be provided by an independent third party with no financial interest in the company receiving training.

Where can I find the pre-approved list of training courses?

A complete database of courses is available on this Website.

Does the Workforce Training Fund Program guarantee the quality of the training providers?

No, the Workforce Training Fund Program makes no judgment regarding the availability or quality of a training course listed on the Workforce Training Fund Express Website. The placement of a training course on the Express website does not constitute an endorsement of the training course or provider. Applicants are encouraged to research the applicable training provider/course prior to submitting an application.

Each course is required to meet the following standards:

  • The training provider must have been in business for at minimum two years;
  • Training providers must be in full compliance with all obligations to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;
  • All grant funded expenses must be the direct cost of the delivery of training, must be consistent with the course as registered, and must be reasonable;
  • The course must be consistent with the purpose and policy of the Workforce Training Fund;
  • Training providers are required to submit course syllabi or detailed description of the curricula;
  • The courses may be not legally mandated, such as those required by OSHA; and
  • Other restrictions may be applied.

 

Types of Training and Training Costs

What kind of training is allowable?

The Workforce Training Fund Express Program is designed to meet the training needs of smaller companies whose employees need fairly simple training rather than customized training.

As of July 2012, the Workforce Training Fund Program will not award an Express Program grant if the employee participating in the course/training program has previously participated in the same or similar course/training program that was funded by the Express Program.

Is it necessary to train all of my employees in order to receive a grant?

No.

What are allowable training costs under a Workforce Training Fund Express grant?

All of the courses listed on the database have a description of what is included in the cost. The Express Fund will pay up to half of the cost of courses selected, but the cost cannot exceed $30,000 in total grant funds and $3,000 per trainee, per course.

Will the fund pay for apprenticeship training or training leading to state licensing?

The Workforce Training Fund seeks to supplement, rather than replace or duplicate existing investment training.  The Workforce Training Fund does not fund union-sponsored apprenticeship training because it is mandated training and the cost of training is paid by union members as part of their dues. Nor does the program fund mandatory certification training which is considered to be a continuing cost of business. The Workforce Training Fund will consider funding training if it is above and beyond the training required or mandated for state or union certification.

What if I am able to negotiate a lower cost for the training than is listed on the Express website?

In this case, the Express program will reimburse an applicant for half of the actual cost of training, up to $30,000. For example, if the total training cost would have been $20,000, the Express would reimburse $10,000. If the training were given at the reduced total cost of $16,000 the Express program would reimburse $8,000. WTF will reimburse ½ the cost of the training not to exceed the approved amount.

How many courses can I apply for in one application?

Express applications are limited to a maximum of ten (10) courses.

 

Matching Funds/Applicant Payment

What is the "applicant payment"?

The Express Fund will reimburse the applying employer (the applicant) or labor organization half the cost of training courses selected when the training is completed. The applicant pays the total cost of the training once the training is completed the applicant will be reimbursed ½ of the cost of the training, maximum $3,000 per employee per course for total grant of $30,000 over a 24-month period. The applicant will pay the other half; this is the "applicant payment" or "match."

Can I match the grant with employee salaries?

No, the match must be met with cash. The applicant will pay the total cost of training and will be reimbursed 50 percent of that cost by the Express program.

 

Getting the Training Started

What are my financial obligations?

Businesses or labor organizations applying for funds must pay the total cost of the training to be eligible to receive at least half of the total cost of training. For example, 10 employees may be trained at a cost of $1,000 per employee for a total of $10,000. The organization would pay the training provider $10,000 and the Express program would reimburse the organization $5,000.

What additional paperwork is required?

Following the completion of the training grantees will submit copy of the invoice, proof of payment and a brief evaluation, in a format provided by the Workforce Training Fund, with the request for grant funds. Grantees will agree to participate in any program-wide evaluation of the Workforce Training Fund that may be undertaken in the future.

How and when will I be reimbursed?

Funds will be reimbursed upon verification by the employer and the training provider of successful completion of training, and upon receipt of a copy of the vendor's invoice payment verification and the evaluation report from the grantee. Reimbursement will be made within 30 days.

When can I actually start my training program?

Training cannot start until the applicant has been notified of an official start date from the program. WTF is under no obligation to pay for training costs incurred prior to the contract start date.

You will be notified of a training start date once all contracts are signed. A complete contract package is required prior to the start of training. Training cannot start without a signed and executed agreement. The expected amount of time it takes to process a contract is 6 weeks; this should be taken into consideration in implementing a training program. The Workforce Training Fund is under no obligation to pay for any training that takes place prior to an executed contract.

 

Review Process

How will applications be reviewed?

All applications undergo an internal screening by Workforce Training Fund staff. The Workforce Training Fund Advisory Panel, consisting of nine members representing business and labor organizations, sets broad policies and oversees all funding decisions.

What are the criteria for approval?

Grants will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Business that have 100 or fewer employees, or is a labor organization
  • Training consists of a course (or courses) listed on the Training Provider database
  • Total grant request does not exceed $30,000
  • Applicant has received no more than $30,000 in a 24-month period
  • Cost per trainee paid with grant funds is no more than $3,000 per course
  • All training is job-related
  • Training cannot start without an executed contract and approved start date
  • Training components will last no longer than 24 months
  • Business will pay at least half of the total cost of training
  • Trainees are non-government workers
  • All trainees are employed in Massachusetts. (They are not required to live in Massachusetts)
  • The employees participating in the training program have not previously participated in the same or similar training that was funded by the Express Program
  • Submission of a current Department of Revenue Certificate of Good Standing (issued within the past 6 months) with the initial application
  • Business pays into the Workforce Training Fund
  • Business is in compliance with all obligations to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including, but not limited to tax obligations and Unemployment Insurance payments,
  • Business possesses a valid and current Workers’ Compensation Policy
  • Business has not been debarred from doing business with the state or federal government

How long will the grant approval process take?

Decisions will be made in approximately 10 business days, provided all application information is complete and all required materials have been submitted. However, training cannot start without an executed signed contract and approved start date.

Can I check the status of my application?

Yes, completing a simple registration form will give you immediate access to the WTFP Employer Access Page where you can view the status of any of your submitted Workforce Training Fund applications.

What if my application is not approved?

Applicants will be informed in writing of the reasons their application is not approved. Applicants that have not been approved for the Express Program may be eligible to re-apply.

 

How Can I Apply?

To Apply, follow the Express Grant Instructions.

How can my company request a Certificate of Good Standing from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue?

Apply online and fax a copy of your Department of Revenue Certificate of Good Standing to 617-723-5594 with the first application within 24 hours of submitting an online application.

 

Additional Information

Is my information secure if I apply on-line?

Yes. See our privacy policy.

Who is administering this program?

Commonwealth Corporation, an agency of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, administers the program.

If I receive a grant will there be tax implications?

There may be tax implications for receipt of a Workforce Training Fund Express grant. Grantees are encouraged to discuss these implications with their tax advisors. Please note: For the seven (7) years following the closing of the grant, it may be subject to audit.

Who is administering this program?

As of July 1, 2013, all Workforce Training Fund programs are administered by Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public corporation within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Commonwealth Corporation designs and executes workforce programs across the Commonwealth that addresses persistent workforce challenges, such as the skills gap, for targeted industries and populations. We are committed to ensuring that Massachusetts businesses have access to a pipeline of highly skilled workers and that youth and adults have pathways to good jobs in the knowledge economy.

How do I get assistance and additional information?

For more information about Express Program grants & course registration, please contact:
 
Kara O’Donnell-Galvin
Program Manager
Workforce Training Fund
Commonwealth Corporation
2 Oliver Street, 5th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02109
(617) 717-6919 direct line
kogalvin@commcorp.org
(617)242-7660 fax