Maryland Business Works Requirements
Responding to repeated requests of Maryland’s businesses, the Maryland Department of Labor is excited to announce the return of Maryland Business Works, a highly successful incumbent worker training program. With a substantial initial investment of $500,000 in business engagement funds, the Maryland Department of Labor is eager to partner with Maryland’s businesses to support employer strategies for retention, growth, and expansion.
We’re providing training funds that can be used to upgrade the skills of current employees while creating opportunities for new hires in in-demand occupations and skills. Participants completing the program will gain transferable skills or industry-recognized certifications or credentials that could lead to career growth and better wages. Projects will be industry-focused and employer-based, targeting small business, particularly at the local level.
What’s the catch? Just investing in your own business! This project requires a dollar-for-dollar match by the employer, which allows for an overall investment of $2 million in incumbent worker training.
What are the benefits of up-skilling your workers? Here are a few:
- Making your business more productive, profitable and competitive,
- Creating job stability for workers with upgraded skills,
- Career growth and increased wages for workers through training in transferable skills or industry-wide recognized certification or credential programs, and
- Creating promotional tracks and workforce growth for Maryland businesses and industries.
ELIGIBILITY AND TARGET CRITERIA
For-profit and non-profit private sector businesses headquartered in (or with at least one permanent physical location in) the State are eligible to participate in the Maryland Business Works program. Funds will be primarily targeted to the following:
- Small businesses with 500 employees or fewer, and
- Providing in-demand products or services.
Staff are eligible to participate in training provided through Maryland Business Works only if they are full-time employees who are eligible to receive benefits and have worked for the employer for a minimum of six months.
If needed prior to submitting an application for funds, the Departments of Labor and Commerce will work with businesses, state and local economic development officials to discuss the applicant’s business plan, training needs and other business services available to support/assist the business. Training providers are not eligible to apply for Maryland Business Works funding on behalf of a business.
There is a $4,500 training cap funding level that may be awarded to a specific trainee for a project or series of projects during a program year running from July 1 through June 30 each year with a $40,000 funding cap for awards to a specific employer for a project or series of projects during the program year. Training proposals that exceed the $4,500 cap will be considered if extenuating circumstances warrant. Consideration will require strong documentation be submitted by the applicant, evidencing substantial wage growth and job creation as an outcome of participation in the program.
Businesses awarded funds through the program must take the necessary steps to provide incumbent worker training in specific, job-related skills that result in workers gaining transferable skills or an industry-recognized certification or credential. Businesses awarded funds through the program are also strongly encouraged to work with the American Job Center nearest them to fill recruitment and retention needs. View a complete list of the State’s American Job Centers.
TRAINING REQUIREMENTS AND ALLOWABLE USE OF FUNDS
The training needs and costs must be reasonable, necessary and clearly related to the purpose and activities of the project-as described in the business’s submitted training plan. The business is required to match the funds provided by the Maryland Business Works program for the actual training costs on a dollar-to-dollar basis.
Training activities must be specific to the occupation, increase the occupational skill levels of existing workers, and relate to the strategic goals of the company. Participating businesses must take the necessary steps to provide incumbent worker training in specific, job-related skills from which workers will gain transferable skills and an industry-recognized credential or certificate. The Department of Labor encourages businesses with training programs that offer apprenticeships and other work-based learning and/or address workplace literacy and/or English Language Acquisition courses to apply.
Training must result in an industry-recognized credential, certificate of completion for a Registered Apprenticeship, or a certificate that results in a wage increase.
The following types of activities and items are examples of allowable training costs:
- Classroom-based training, including training that is designed to meet the specific requirements of a business,
- In-house staff training,
- Registered Apprenticeships,
- Instruction provided by consultants,
- Books and training materials,
- Initial proficiency testing (for approved curriculum),
- GED® preparation, and
- English Language Acquisition.
As Maryland Business Works is a true partnership, business participants are responsible for 50 percent of the training costs. Funds cannot be used for capital costs, the purchase of equipment, the payment of employee wages and/or benefits while in training, wage subsidies, or support services such as child care, transportation costs, lodging costs, and meals for trainees. Training costs that are part of a system or software purchase are not allowable. Other prohibited uses include introductory classes, safety and first aid courses, leadership skills training, and other training that does not directly result in enhancement of job-related, occupational skills.
Training projects will not be considered if the business is not ready to begin training activities. Business applicants must be prepared to enter into contract negotiations, and immediately begin training upon execution of a contractual agreement with the Maryland Department of Labor. To ensure that funds are expended in a timely manner, training contracts awarded for training programs cannot last longer than six months.
Exceptions with proper justification may be approved based on the need to exceed six-month training period. The State review team will approve such requests if the justification is reasonable and if the training will be completed and funds expended in a timely manner.
The successful business applicant is responsible for taking the necessary steps to make provisions for the training of its employees in specific skills that result in the workers’ acquisition of transferable skills or an industry-recognized certification or credential program. The business is also responsible for providing acceptable documentation to verify successful completion of training and actual payment for training as well as any performance/outcome information required as part of the training plan.
Distribution of Funds
Funds will be administered by the Maryland Department of Labor. Staff will evaluate requests for additional funds and make additional dollars available based on documentation regarding training needs.
Business Application Review and Approval Process
Labor and Commerce business services representatives will work with businesses and local economic development officials to discuss the business plan, training needs and other services available to support the applicant. Eligible businesses must develop training plans, select the most appropriate training vendor, and submit applications for Maryland Business Works funding.
State staff will review the application to ensure the proposal meets all of the minimum program requirements established by the State. Submitted applications must be reviewed in a timely manner by a State Review Team comprised of:
- The DWDAL Director of the Office of Workforce Development (or designee), and
- The DWDAL Special Grants Administrator (or designee).
Recommendations by the review team will go through a fiscal review prior to receiving final approval by the Department of Labor’s Assistant Secretary of the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (or designee).
A business that has previously been awarded funds under the Maryland Business Works program may apply for additional funding with verification of total participant levels, outcome goals, and the completion of an employer satisfaction survey. Proposals seeking retroactive funding will not be approved.
To apply for Maryland Business Works funding, a business must first complete the application (Excel) and submit other required documentation including the WIOA Adult Application with Verification Listed (Word), a Certificate of Good Standing, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services I-9 form “Employment Eligibility Verification,” and Internal Treasury Service W-9 form “Identification Number and Certification.” Applications will only be accepted in the Excel format. Applications must contain only one program of study per certification.
Request for Reimbursement (Payments to Businesses)
The Department of Labor will provide funds to the business applicant on a cost reimbursement basis after a contract has been formally executed. Prior to receiving reimbursement for fifty percent of the training costs, the business must provide the following items:
- Proof of successful completion of the approved training,
- Proof of full payment by the employer for the approved training costs, and
- Return invoice on company letterhead that depicts the agreed-upon costs between the Maryland Department of Labor and the participating business.
Management Information Requirements/Performance Outcome Information
Track and report the following information regarding trainees and training activities:
- Names and social security numbers of trainees and other data;
- Type(s) of training programs/courses taken by each individual, and
- The acquisition of a recognized certification, credential and /or other positive outcomes such as promotion/wage increase information).
The business training plan must include:
- Number of trainees receiving job promotions,
- Number of jobs created or retained as a result of training program,
- Pre-wage and post-wage information by individual,
- Other jobs created as a result of training program, and
- Other economic benefits of the training program.
Employer Satisfaction Survey
The Department of Labor requires that each project includes an Employer Satisfaction Survey for each funded project. The survey must be completed and returned to the State review team at the Maryland Department of Labor within 30 days of completion of training. The survey may be completed by one of four methods: by mail, e-mail, electronically, or through a telephone interview (with the authorized representative of the business). No subsequent training proposal will be approved for an existing Maryland Business Works employer if there is an earlier completed project with a delinquent “Employer Survey.”
Requests, documentation and communication may be by e-mail, phone or mail to:
Division of Workforce Development & Adult Learning
Maryland Department of Labor
1100 N. Eutaw Street, Room 209
Baltimore, MD 21201
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