Employers that completed training initiatives through the Workforce Training Fund‘s General Program in FY20 collectively added new jobs at a rate of 5.8 percent over their two-year grant periods, compared to job growth rates of -13.3 percent statewide and -7.9 percent nationwide during the same two-year period.
In the face of unprecedented changes in the nature of work and learning caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the WTFP pivots from an important resource for businesses coping with challenges recruiting and retaining workers in a full-employment economy to a lifeline for developing new skills for their workers that are essential to transforming the way they do business.
For many organizations, this crisis exposed pain points, in some cases leading to an opportunity to adapt with the help of training. During FY20 (July 2019 – June 2020), many grant recipients have been forced to suspend training, while others have been able to continue upskilling their workforce by shifting to remote training. Even in the face of these challenges, measurable benefits remain apparent. In FY20:
- Employers who completed training initiatives through the General Program projected that they would add 1,360 workers during their two-year grant periods. By the end, they actually added 1,109 workers — 82 percent of the projected growth.
- In the General Program, Commonwealth Corporation awarded 157 grants totaling $16,813,594 involving 193 businesses. In total, the businesses plan to train 11,186 workers with these funds. The businesses project that by the end of their two-year grant periods they will hire 1,985 additional workers.
- In the Express Program, Commonwealth Corporation approved 495 grant applications from 351 businesses for a total of $3,004,154 in grant funds to train 2,722 employees.
- 203 employers enrolled 2,100 workers in training through the Small Business Direct Access Program with a total value of $773,576.
- In December, Commonwealth Corporation led a Workplace English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Co-design Workshop to reimagine how the WTFP might increase access to and participation in Workplace ESOL. The goal was to understand the challenges businesses and providers face when it comes to incorporating ESOL training into their strategy so that we can make improvements to make ESOL more accessible.